Thursday, March 16, 2017

BANNERS FOR THE "CHINA WALL"



On March 10, 2017, Johnny Bower's old banner from the Air Canada Centre found its new home at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The "China Wall" was born in Prince Albert on November 8, 1924. The above photo shows the banner prior to the contest between the Prince Albert Raiders and the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Unable to attend the ceremony, Bower's presence came to life via a video recording. "It was such a great honour for them to do that, to say yes," Bower said in the video. "I had tears in my eyes. But this is something I'll never forget. I wish I could be here tonight with you people. I'm sorry, but I can't be there with you tonight, but I'll always have you in my heart. Thank you so much."

Johnny Bower's Cleveland Barons banner at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland

Johnny Bower's original banner from 1995
Bower's banner (second from the left at the ACC) prior to its removal





This all came about at the beginning of the current NHL season when the Toronto Maple Leafs made an abrupt change in philosophy, and decided to retire their Honoured Numbers. Part of this process included the raising of new banners.


Johnny Bower at the ACC when his Retired Number was raised on October 15, 2016
Back in November Frank Mahovlich and Bill Barilko had their banners raised at the McIntyre Arena in Schumacher, Ontario





The ageless Johnny Bower shares the Retired Number One with another great Leaf goalie, Turk Broda.

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