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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FRANK MAHOVLICH

Inducted in 1990, 2005

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 10, 1938
Place of Birth: Timmins, Ontario
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1956-74

Played in the NHL

1962-67

Won four Stanley Cups in six years with Toronto Maple Leafs

1960-61

Set Leafs record with 48 goals

1972

Member of Team Canada

1998

Appointed to Senate

1958

Won Calder Memorial Trophy as Rookie of the Year in the NHL

Honoured Member FRANK MAHOVLICH
Inspire

Story


From the Big M to Senator Mahovlich, he has been one of the most respected citizens of Canada. Frank Mahovlich may have been born in Timmins, but he found his greatest fame in the biggest hockey arena of them all, Maple Leaf Gardens, during its most glorious days. A left winger with size and a great shot, Mahovlich trained at St. Mike's in Toronto before earning a promotion to the Leafs for the 1957-58 season. He was an instant success, counting 20 goals as a rookie and providing breathtaking plays with apparent ease. He reached 22 goals the year after, dipped to 18 in his third season, and then had a career year in 1960-61. Mahovlich scored 48 goals, and during this season it became so clear he was going to be a superstar for many years to come that Chicago offered the Leafs a cool one million dollars for the player. The Leafs rejected the offer, and Toronto went on to win four Stanley Cups in the next six years. The Big M never matched his 48 goals again with the Leafs, but he did score 30 consistently. His time in Toronto, however, was bedeviled by coach Punch Imlach who always expected more from his star and always prodded him publicly. Theirs was an odd relationship because Imlach needed his star player, but he felt he could get more out of him still by pushing him harder and harder. Mahovlich, on the other hand, loved playing for the Leafs but found inspiration from within and reacted negatively to being pushed. The result was periodic depression for the Big M and finally a trade to Detroit, a blockbuster deal that saw the Leafs acquire Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson. Free of coaching pressure, the Big M scored 49 goals in his first full season with the Red Wings, tantalizingly close to the magic 50, a figure he never quite attained. He went on to play three and a half seasons in Montreal, winning two more Cups, in 1971 and '73. It was during this time he and brother, Pete, played for Canada at the historic Summit Series, the most important eight-game series ever played. Then, like so many other players, Frank left the NHL for the more lucrative WHA. Mahovlich spent four years with the Toronto-Birmingham franchise, but by this time he was in his late thirties and his best days were behind him. He retired and went into private business, and in 1998 Prime Minister Jean Chretien made him a Senator, and it is in this capacity he has worked ever since.


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