Sunday, May 31, 2015

Alex Levinsky - Stanley Cup Winner in 1932

Although I never had the opportunity to talk with former Leaf defenceman Alex Levinsky, I did have the chance to meet his son, Richard Levinsky, earlier this month. After occasions like this, I can't help but look back and learn more about the player. And this was no different after my chat with Richard.

Richard Levinsky
Born in Syracuse, New York, Alex Levinsky joined the junior Toronto Marlboros in 1928-29.

On March 2, 1931, Levinsky turned pro when he signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also putting pen-to-paper on that day in 1931 was forward Bob Gracie.

"Gracie signed a professional contract early in the morning, but it was not until just before the train pulled out for the Quaker City (Philadelphia) that Levinsky came to terms after several conferences during the day," noted the Toronto Daily Star the following day.

He played his first home game in a Leaf uniform on March 5, 1931, at the Arena Gardens on Mutual Street. The Montreal Maroons provided the opposition and they edged the Leafs by a score of 6-5.

Levinsky's outing was typical of a rookie playing for the first time before a home crowd.

On the Maroons second goal, Levinsky couldn't stop a rush by Jimmy Ward and Dave Trottier, which resulted in Montreal taking a two goal advantage.

Lou Marsh of The Star described how Levinsky rebounded from being the goat on Ward's goal.

"His chance came a minute or two later when he rammed Northcutt (Baldy) over and pulled a couple of determined rushes."

Marsh commented on Levinsky's home debut and the prospects of his improving with time.

"Levinsky of course did not set anything on fire with his performance last night, but when King Clancy and Hap Day get through teaching him how to hurl the hip he will make some of them go into second gear after they meet him."

In the spring-summer-fall of 1931, work commenced and continued on a new home for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the corner of Church and Carlton in downtown Toronto. Built in an remarkable speed of time - 5 months - Maple Leaf Gardens was open for business on November 12, 1931, when Toronto hosted the Chicago Black Hawks.

Alex Levinsky and his teammates capped off their first season in the Gardens by capturing the Stanley Cup on April 9, 1932. The Leafs swept the New York Rangers in the best-of-five final.

His time with the Maple Leafs ended in May of 1934, when Levinsky was sold to the New York Rangers. After a half-term in the Big Apple, he was sold to Chicago. His final NHL campaign was in 1938-39 as a member of the Hawks.

Alex Levinsky passed away on September 1, 1990.

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