Howard William Meeker, C.M. (born November 4, 1923) is a former right winger in the National Hockey League, youth coach and educator in ice hockey and television sports announcer as well as a former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament. He was born in Kitchener, Ontario. Meeker is the last surviving member of the Maple Leafs 1947 Stanley Cup team, the Maple Leaf 1949 Stanley Cup team, the Maple Leaf 1951 Stanley Cup team, and the inaugural NHL All-Star Game.
|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1998|
Howie Meeker with the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1947
November 4, 1923|
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)|
|Played for||Toronto Maple Leafs|
Playing, coaching and general managing careerEdit
Meeker played his junior hockey with the Kitchener Greenshirts in the Ontario Hockey Association. In 1941–42, Meeker joined the Stratford Kist. In only 13 games, he scored 29 goals and had 45 points to lead all players in points. He played one more year of junior hockey before joining the Canadian Army. Meeker was badly injured during the war, but he made a full recovery. In 1945–46, after World War II had ended, Meeker returned to the OHA and played one season with the Stratford Indians.
In 1946–47, Meeker joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League. He scored 27 goals and 45 points during his NHL debut and he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. Meeker also played in the 1947 NHL All-Star Game and he also tied an NHL record for most goals by a rookie in one game with five goals against the Chicago Black Hawks. Meeker also won his first Stanley Cup with the Leafs that season, the first of three consecutive Stanley Cups. The season, however, would prove Meeker's best as a pro, and he would never again approach that level of scoring.
In 1948–49, Meeker scored 34 points in 58 games and played in the 1948 NHL All-Star Game. He also helped the Leafs win their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Next season, Meeker sustained a collarbone injury that limited him to only 30 games and he did not play a single game in the playoffs as the Leafs took their third consecutive Stanley Cup. In 1950–51, Meeker won his fourth Stanley Cup with the Leafs as they beat the Montreal Canadiens in five games. Meeker would play three more seasons with the Leafs before retiring from the NHL. He continued to play hockey sporadically for 15 more years with different senior clubs.
He also coached the Maple Leafs, replacing King Clancy on April 11, 1956, leading the Leafs to a 21–34–15 record. He was promoted to general manager in 1957, but was fired before the start of the 1957–58 season.
|Member of Parliament|
for Waterloo South
June 25, 1951 – August 9, 1953
|Preceded by||Karl Homuth|
|Succeeded by||Arthur White|
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
Meeker spent two years as a Progressive Conservative MP while playing for the Leafs. In June 1951, Meeker won the federal by-election in the Ontario riding of Waterloo South. He did not seek re-election in the 1953 election.
|Waterloo SouthCanadian federal by-election, June 25, 1951: |
Death of Karl Homuth
|Progressive Conservative||Howie Meeker||8,950||42.24||+3.50|
|Liberal||J. Mel Moffatt||6,483||30.60||-6.62|
|Co-operative Commonwealth||Margaret Geens||5,754||27.16||+3.12|
|Total valid votes||21,187||100.0|
|Progressive Conservative hold||Swing||+5.06|
He later ran hockey schools as summer camps in Canada and the United States. His weekly telecasts based on these camps, Howie Meeker's Hockey School, ran from 1973 to 1977 on CBC Television. The series was produced in St. John's, Newfoundland. It featured boys learning the basic skills about the game: skating, puck control and passing. Meeker's encouragement and delivery were all based on his premise that the game was suffering from poor instruction at the junior levels. He felt the game was not being taught properly so his message was directed at coaches across Canada. He also made vocal and detailed complaints about poor quality hockey equipment for child players, especially concerning protective gear. The television series had 107 fifteen-minute episodes. It was produced and directed by Ron Harrison and/or John Spaulding and aired weekly during the hockey season.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Meeker became known to a new generation of hockey fans as the squeaky-voiced analyst on Hockey Night in Canada. He began analyzing plays in greater depth than previous colour commentators, using the telestrator to demonstrate his points. During the telestrator segments, his favorite directive was, "stop it right here", to freeze the screen in order to analyze specifics in the replay. He also worked on Vancouver Canucks telecasts on BCTV. When TSN gained NHL cable rights in 1987, Meeker joined their broadcast team, where he stayed until retiring in 1998. Meeker popularized the phrase, "Keep your stick on the ice", made during his educational segments on Hockey Night in Canada.
Meeker has been involved with Special Olympics for approximately 50 years. He was involved in launching Special Olympics Canada after being invited to participate by former NHL referee Harry "Red" Foster shortly after the Special Olympics movement was created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the United States. In 1988, at the age of 64, Meeker was contacted by Campbell River Special Olympics in Campbell River, B.C. to help with setting up a fundraising golf tournament for the local Special Olympics organization. He was initially serving as a go-between to get a regional sports star involved but eventually, Meeker himself lent his name and support to the Howie Meeker Charity Golf Classic at Storey Creek Golf Club. Each year for the next 30 years, Meeker participated in the successful fundraiser in person. In his 94th year and at the 30th running of the event in August 2018, it was announced that Meeker would be taking a step back and welcome a new co-host to carry on with the event. NHL player Clayton Stoner has signed on to be co-host with Meeker to ensure the fundraiser continues in his name into the future.
In 2004, Meeker was invited to headline a golf tournament fundraiser to benefit BC Guide Dog Services. Originally intended as a one-off event, it was such a success that the Howie Meeker Golf for Guide Dogs tournament ran on Vancouver Island for four years, and is now held annually in the Metro Vancouver area. From this beginning, Meeker and his wife, Leah, became the Patrons for BC Guide Dog Services, and through their involvement have already helped raise over $350,000 as of December 31, 2010.
Awards and achievementsEdit
- Led OHA in scoring in 1942.
- Calder Memorial Trophy winner in 1947.
- Played in 1947, 1948 and 1949 NHL All-Star Games.
- Stanley Cup champion in 1947, 1948 1949, and 1951.
- On January 8, 1947, Meeker became one of 44 players to score 5 goals or more in one game.
- Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner in 1998 for "Excellence in Hockey Broadcasting"
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998 as a broadcaster.
- On December 30, 2010, Meeker was named a Member of the Order of Canada.
- In 2010, Howie Meeker was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
- Was the fastest Maple Leafs player to score 25 goals (surpassed by Auston Matthews).
|1940–41||Kitchener Greenshirts||Big-10 Jr. B||9||13||10||23||2||4||4||2||6||0|
|1941–42||Stratford Kist||Big-10 Jr. B||13||29||16||45||20||4||8||11||19||4|
|1946–47||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||55||27||18||45||76||11||3||3||6||6|
|1947–48||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||58||14||20||34||62||9||2||4||6||15|
|1948–49||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||30||7||7||14||56||—||—||—||—||—|
|1949–50||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||18||22||40||35||7||0||1||1||4|
|1950–51||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||49||6||14||20||24||11||1||1||2||14|
|1951–52||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||54||9||14||23||50||4||0||0||0||11|
|1952–53||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||25||1||7||8||26||—||—||—||—||—|
|1953–54||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||5||1||0||1||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|TOR||1956–57||70||21||34||15||-||57||5th in NHL||Did Not Qualify|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 1, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- BC Guide Dog Services founders Archived March 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Howie Meeker". Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- Biographical information and career statistics from Hockey-Reference.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
- Howie Meeker official website
- Howie Meeker – Parliament of Canada biography
- CBC Digital Archives – Howie Meeker Hockey School
| Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
| Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
| Member of Parliament from Waterloo South