Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gaye Stewart : 1923-2010

One of the joys of attending hockey games at the Air Canada Centre is seeing various members of the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni.

Unfortunately, we lost one of the players from the Original Six era last week
- Gaye Stewart. The former Leaf passed away in Burlington, Ontario at the age of 87.

Gaye Stewart was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 6, 1942. The 1941-42 season was a unique experience for Stewart. Having started the year with the Toronto Marlboros, he was quickly promoted to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League when his Junior club was eliminated from playoff competition. His career took another leap up the ladder when Hershey's post-season came to a conclusion. The Leafs, who lost the first three games of the Cup final to Detroit, recognized that desperate times called for desperate measures.

With nothing to lose, Hap Day inserted Stewart into his line-up. Toronto went on to win the next four games and Gaye Stewart captured his first Stanley Cup. Also, he won a Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1947.

March 1942

In 1942-43, Stewart played on a line with Bud Poile and Jack McLean. The rookie scored 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in 48 games. Stewart was rewarded for his outstanding season by being named the recipient of the Calder Trophy for the '42-43 campaign.

Like many players, Stewart's hockey career was interrupted by World War 11. Upon completing his military service, the big left winger returned to the Leafs - with a bang. He lead all goal scorers in 1945-46 netting a total of 37.

In addition to Toronto, Stewart played for Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Montreal. In 502 NHL regular season games, he scored 185 goals and 159 assists for 344 points. In the playoffs, he participated in 25 games, scoring 2 goals and 9 assists.

He was named to the first all-star team in 1946, and the second all-star team in 1948. Stewart played in the 1947, 1948,1950, and 1951 all-star games.

Following his playing career, Stewart became an NHL referee. Also, he worked with a Brewery as a District Manager.

James "Gaye" Stewart was born on June 28, 1923 in Fort William, Ontario.

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