Pete Stemkowski

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Pete Stemkowski
PeteStemkowski 06.jpg
at Madison Square Garden vs NY Rangers, c. 1965
Born (1943-08-25) August 25, 1943 (age 76)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1963–1979

Peter David Stemkowski (born August 25, 1943) is a former player in the National Hockey League. Over fifteen seasons, he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Los Angeles Kings. Stemkowski is best remembered for his heroics in the 1970–71 Stanley Cup semifinals when he scored two overtime goals for the New York Rangers in an eventual series loss to the Chicago Black Hawks. He won the Stanley Cup in 1967 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pete Stemkowski, who played centre, is also remembered as one of the top faceoff players of the NHL.

In the 1971 semifinal against the Black Hawks, "Stemmer" or "Stem" scored the game winner in Game 1 after just 1:37 of overtime. The Rangers would lose Game 5 in overtime, only to be in the same position in Game 6. Facing elimination, the Rangers forced a deciding seventh game when Stemkowski scored at 1:29 of the third overtime – a total of 41:29 of extra time.

Quietly, Pete Stemkowski had a solid NHL career that lasted 14 years. A useful and aggressive forward, "Stemmer" always took a back seat of attention wherever he played.

Pete was a product of the Toronto Maple Leafs junior system. He played in his native Winnipeg before moving to Toronto at the age of 17 to play with the OHA's Toronto Marlboro's, the Leafs junior team.

After splitting his first three professional seasons between the Leafs and their AHL farm team in Rochester NY, Pete finally made the veteran Leafs squad 1966-67. It was great timing as the Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year. Stemkowski, 24 at the time, was an important contributor with 12 points in 12 games. But the focus fell upon aging veterans like Sawchuk, Bower, Armstrong, Stanley, Mahovlich and Horton.

In March of 1968, Stemkowski was sent to Detroit as part of big the Frank Mahovlich trade. He was basically a throw in a deal that also saw Garry Unger and Carl Brewer head to the Motor City in exchange for Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson and Floyd Smith.

It was a good trade for Stemkowski though. He had a chance to play regularly and responded well with two 20+ goal seasons in his two full seasons in Detroit.

Early in the 1970/71 season, Stemkowski was traded to the Rangers in exchange for Larry Brown. This was partially a result of an incident in practice where Stemkowski disrespected new head coach Ned Harkness. Harkness had just come to Detroit from Cornell University. Stemkowski, a noted joker, was mockingly imitating a college cheer. Harkness made sure Stemkowski was gone shortly afterwards.

The Rangers, after suffering through many lean years, were emerging as a powerhouse. A good mix of veterans like Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle and Ed Giacomin with enthusiastic help from young players such as Stemkowski, Brad Park, Steve Vickers and Walt Tkachuk. Stemkowski especially was very popular with the Madison Square Gardens faithful.

Pete Stemkowski played six strong seasons in New York. Despite 3 20+ goal seasons as a Ranger and some fine team play, Stemkowski never again sipped champagne from Lord Stanley's Cup. The Rangers came oh so close to the Stanley Cup three times, however it was not meant to be.

In 1977-78, Stemkowski finished his career playing one season in a Los Angeles Kings uniform. Despite playing just one year there, he had some great memories of California.

"I started my career in Toronto in the early 60's. The Leafs were a real powerhouse back then and all you heard was hockey 24 hours a day. When I came to the Kings the whole atmosphere changed. I'd go to the bank and the teller asked me what I did. I said I play for the Kings. The teller said, "who and what are the Kings?"

Stemmer particularly remembers Dave Schultz and Marcel Dionne.

"I remember a lot of traveling with the Kings and that I played with Dave "The Hammer" Schultz. I got to know the other side of the reigning "bad boy" in the NHL. He helped me find a place to live when I first arrived."

"Playing with Marcel Dionne was a treat. He was such a talent. Marcel and his family really did a lot to keep the team close. Every Sunday Marcel would invite the entire team over to his house for a barbecue and swim."[1]

Broadcasting career[edit]

As of May 1982, Stemkowski was a morning disc jockey for WDJZ in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[1] He was also a freelance announcer for the Entertainment Sports Network.

He has served a stint as the television (1992–1996) and radio colour commentator (2000–2005) for the San Jose Sharks and now does so for the New York Rangers on a part-time basis. He was rumoured to be a candidate to become the Rangers' full-time radio analyst in 2006–07 but has retained his back-up role and makes appearances at Rangers events.

Hockey awards and achievements[edit]

Conviction for Criminal Solicitation[edit]

On May 7, 1982, Stemkowski pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of criminal solicitation in Nassau County, New York. Stemkowski had lent $35,000 to a business associate, which had not been repaid along with $35,000 in interest. He offered $20,000 to an undercover Nassau County police officer to fly to California and break an ankle and wrist of the business associate. By pleading guilty, Stemkowski avoided a charge of conspiracy.[2]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1960–61 Winnipeg Monarchs MJHL 31 22 16 38 29
1961–62 Winnipeg Monarchs MJHL 40 31 34 65 100 8 3 7 10 22
1962–63 Winnipeg Monarchs MJHL 5 6 3 9 8
1962–63 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 23 16 27 43 44 11 7 17 24 26
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 51 42 61 103 89 9 5 9 14 8
1963–64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1 0 0 0 2
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros MC 12 14 15 29 6
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 5 15 20 33 6 0 3 3 7
1964–65 Rochester Americans AHL 35 17 22 39 52
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 56 4 12 16 55 4 0 0 0 26
1965–66 Rochester Americans AHL 7 5 5 10 8
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 68 13 22 35 75 12 5 7 12 20
1967–68 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 60 7 15 22 82
1967–68 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 3 6 9 4
1968–69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 21 31 52 81
1969–70 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 25 24 49 114 4 1 1 2 6
1970–71 Detroit Red Wings NHL 10 2 2 4 8
1970–71 New York Rangers NHL 68 16 29 45 61 13 3 2 5 6
1971–72 New York Rangers NHL 59 11 17 28 53 16 4 8 12 18
1972–73 New York Rangers NHL 78 22 37 59 71 10 4 2 6 6
1973–74 New York Rangers NHL 78 25 45 70 74 13 6 6 12 35
1974–75 New York Rangers NHL 77 24 35 59 63 3 1 0 1 10
1975–76 New York Rangers NHL 75 13 28 41 49
1976–77 New York Rangers NHL 61 2 13 15 8
1977–78 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 13 18 31 33 2 1 0 1 2
1978–79 Springfield Indians AHL 24 3 12 15 8
NHL totals 967 206 349 555 866 83 25 29 54 136

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pete Stemkowski". Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  2. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19820508&id=SQgOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=l20DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6290,2184362

External links[edit]