Johnny Bower was a Canadian-Ukrainian ice hockey player, who played for the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) as a goaltender. Nicknamed "The China Wall", Bower played under jersey number 1, and he held the hockey stick with his dominant right hand and used to catch the hockey puck with his left hand.
Jhonny William Kiszkan was born on November 8, 1924, in Saskatchewan, Canada. William was raised by his father Dmytro Kiszkan of Ukrainian descent, and his mother, Betty Bower. He grew up with his 8 siblings, Bower used to play hockey with a branch stick and wore the old mattress as goalie pads: the legendary hockey player left this earth on December 26, 2017.
The famous hockey player didn't just play hockey, after his parent's divorce, William joined the Canadian army during WWII where he was stationed as a gunner in England. After his parent's divorce, Jhonny changed his last name to his mother's maiden name.
The four times Stanley champion died on December 26, 2017, from Pneumonia which affects the lungs' alveoli and fills them with pus and fluid, limiting oxygen intake. In January 2018, The Maple Leafs hosted the celebration of Bower's life at the Air Canada Centre, and the then-mayor of Toronto declared January 3 to be Johnny Bower Day in the city of Toronto.
Late hockey player life was surrounded by hardships from a young age, William joined the Canadian army due to his parent's divorce where his hands were affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
After winning his first AHL championship with Cleveland Barons, Johnny met his lifetime partner when he took a job as an assistant golf pro. JohnnyBower and Nancy exchanged their wedding vows on 3 November 1948.
William shared a son, John Bower, and two daughters, Cynthia and Barbara with his wife Nancy, from his successors eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren were annexed to his bloodline. Nancy Bower's soul departed to heaven on November 11, 2021, she succeeded in death in comparison to her husband.
William first played in the American Hockey League with Cleveland Barons from 1945-1953. After spending 8 seasons with Cleveland Barons, he made his NHL debut in 1953, and Bower signed with New York Rangers.
Johnny Bower estimated net worth at his death was around $5 million. On the internet, only scarce information about the details of his salary is available, and from that estimation, his accurate net worth can't be drawn out.
During the time when Johnny played ice hockey, the players weren't paid like nowadays. Their club had the upper hand against players and, negotiating wasn't a choice at that time cause ice hockey wasn't as popular back then as it is now.
The legendary hockey player played three years with New York Rangers who made him a goaltender over Gump Worsley, but Worsley was again brought up in the team after a year. William then played 8 seasons in AHL and was called by Ranger, and played there for 2 years.
In the 1958 Inter-League draft, Bower signed with The Toronto Maple Leafs, where Bower helped the Maple Leafs win three consecutive Stanley Cups from 1962 to 1964. Though William had poor eyesight and a scrappy playing style, he assisted the club in winning their fourth Stanley championship in 1967.
Read also: Jake Reynolds
Kiszkan was among the oldest hockey players, he lived till the age of 93. William's jersey, ice hockey stick, and the pictures that he autographed became more valuable to the hockey fans as Jhonny aged.
The China Wall's items were auctioned by numerous people and NHL itself auctioned his number 1 jersey that was retired by the Maple leaves. Bower's hockey stick was auctioned for $1,128, by the website named lelands.
Jhonny Bower tweaked the birth date in his birth certificate and managed to get into Canadian Army at 15 years of age. To this day he remains the second-oldest goaltender behind Maurice Roberts.
After his official retirement on March 19, 1970, he revealed his original birth date to the public i.e, November 8, 1924. William was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. Jhonny was named one of the "100 greatest NHL" players in history.
Jhonny Bower stood at 5 feet 11 inches, and weighed around 86 Kilos, he was known for his hard nose and scrappy playing style. He faced lots of flying hockey pucks that destroyed all his teeth and, Bower had at least 200 stitches in his head.