|Born||January 12, 1930 |
Cochrane, Ontario, Canada
|Died||February 21, 1974 (aged 44) |
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)|
|Played for||Toronto Maple Leafs|
New York Rangers
|Hall of Fame, 1977|
Tim Horton (born Miles Gilbert Horton on January 12, 1930) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, a defencemanz for 24 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL).
On January 1, 2017, in a ceremony prior to the Centennial Classic, he was part of the first group of players to be named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.
Also a successful businessman, he was a co-feqrounder of the Tim Hortons restaurant chain.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Tim grew up playing ice hockey in Cochrane and later in mining country near Timmins. The Toronto Maple Leafs organization signed him and in 1948, he moved to Toronto to play junior hockey and attended St. Michael's College School.
Two years later, he turned pro with the Leafs' farm team, the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League. He spent most of the first three seasons with Pittsburgh.
Playing in his first NHL game on March 26, 1950, Horton did not appear in the NHL again until the fall of 1952.
Tim remained a Leaf until 1970, winning four Stanley Cups. He later played for the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. He was also known for his tremendous strength and calmness under pressure.
As a hard-working and durable defenceman, he gained relatively few penalty minutes for an enforcer-type defenceman. He was also an effective puck carrier; in the 1964–65 season, he played right wing for the Leafs.
Tim appeared in seven NHL All-Star Games. He was named an NHL First Team All-Star three times: (1964, 1968, and 1969). He was selected to the NHL Second Team three times: (1954, 1963, 1967).
Between February 11, 1961 and February 4, 1968, he appeared in 486 consecutive regular-season games; this remains the Leafs club record for consecutive games and was the NHL record for consecutive games by a defenceman until broken on February 8, 2007 by Karlis Skrastins.
Tim had a reputation for enveloping players fighting him in a crushing bear hug.
While playing, he was generally acknowledged as the strongest man in the game; injuries and age were little more than minor inconveniences.
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bobby Hull declared, "There were defencemen you had to fear because they were vicious and would slam you into the boards from behind, for one, Eddie Shore. But you respected Tim Horton because he didn't need that type of intimidation. He used his tremendous strength and talent to keep you in check."
In 1962, Tim scored three goals and 13 assists in 12 playoff games, setting a Leafs team record for playoff points by a defenceman. This record was tied in 1978 by Ian Turnbull (who played 13 games); but was not broken until 1994, when David Ellett registered 18 points (albeit in 18 games).
At the age of 41, he signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1971 for an estimated $100,000, the largest contract to date for the five-year-old franchise.
In spite of his age (42) & considerable nearsightedness, former Leafs general manager Punch Imlach of the Sabres acquired Tim in the intra-league draft and signed him in 1972.
In 1973, Tim performance the Sabres in their first playoff appearance. He later signed a contract extension in the off-season.
While playing for the Leafs, Tim wore the number 7, the same number worn by King Clancy from 1931–32 to 1936–37.
The team declared both Horton and Clancy honoured players at a ceremony on November 21, 1995, but did not retire the number 7 from team use; despite this, it became an Honoured Jersey Number, abiding by Leafs honours policy.
Tim wore number 2 in Buffalo (as Rick Martin already had the number 7) which was retired. He believed he took too many early career penalties because of his "hot temper".
Death[edit | edit source]
In the early morning of February 21, 1974, Tim was killed in a car accident when he lost control of his De Tomaso Pantera sports car on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in St. Catharines, Ontario.
He had played a game in Toronto the previous evening against his former team, the Maple Leafs and was driving alone back to Buffalo, 100 mi (160 km) south. The Sabres had lost the game and despite sitting out the third period and playing with a jaw & ankle injury, he was selected one of the game's three stars.
Tim's Pantera had been given to him by Sabres' manager Punch Imlach as an enticement to return to the team for one more season.
While driving to Buffalo, Tim stopped at his office in Oakville, and was met there by Ron Joyce. While there, he phoned his brother Gerry, who recognized that Tim had been drinking and tried to convince him not to continue driving. Joyce also offered to have Tim stay with him, but he chose to continue his drive to Buffalo.
After 4:00 a.m. EST (9:00 UTC), a woman reported to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Burlington that she had observed a car travelling at a high rate of speed on the QEW. A warning was broadcast over police radio.
Thirty minutes later, OPP Officer Mike Gula observed a speeding vehicle travelling Niagara-bound on the QEW in Vineland. Gula activated his siren and attempted to pursue Horton's vehicle, but lost sight of it.
Tim passed a curve in the road at Ontario Street and was approaching the Lake Street exit in St. Catharines when he lost control and drove into the centre grass median where his tire caught a recessed sewer & then flipped several times before coming to a stop on its roof in the Toronto-bound lanes.
Not wearing a seatbelt, Tim was found 123 ft (37 m) from the car & was pronounced dead on arrival at the St. Catharines General Hospital.
Subsequent to Tim's death, there was no official public inquiry and his autopsy was not made public. Police would not state if he was driving drunk.
In 2005, the autopsy was made public (with witness statements redacted) and revealed that Tim's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit & that a half-filled vodka bottle was amongst the crash debris. He was also in possession of the drugs Dexedrine (a stimulant) and Dexamyl (a stimulant-sedative), and traces of amobarbital (an ingredient in Dexamyl) were found in his blood.
The autopsy report found no painkillers in Tim's body and also concluded that his car had been in good working order. There was nothing to sugges that he was evading police or that police got near enough to initiate a criminal pursuit. He was interred at York Cemetery in Toronto.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|1946–47||Copper Cliff Jr. Redmen||NOJHA||9||0||0||0||14||5||0||1||1||0|
|1947–48||St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||32||6||7||13||137||—||—||—||—||—|
|1948–49||St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||32||9||18||27||95||—||—||—||—||—|
|1949–50||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||1||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||2|
|1951–52||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||4||0||0||0||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|1952–53||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||2||14||16||85||—||—||—||—||—|
|1953–54||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||7||24||31||94||5||1||1||2||4|
|1954–55||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||67||5||9||14||84||—||—||—||—||—|
|1955–56||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||35||0||5||5||36||2||0||0||0||4|
|1956–57||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||66||6||19||25||72||—||—||—||—||—|
|1957–58||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||53||6||20||26||39||—||—||—||—||—|
|1958–59||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||5||21||26||76||12||0||3||3||16|
|1959–60||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||3||29||32||69||10||0||1||1||6|
|1960–61||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||57||6||15||21||75||5||0||0||0||0|
|1961–62||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||10||28||38||88||12||3||13||16||16|
|1962–63||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||6||19||25||69||10||1||3||4||10|
|1963–64||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||9||20||29||71||14||0||4||4||20|
|1964–65||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||12||16||28||95||6||0||2||2||13|
|1965–66||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||6||22||28||76||4||1||0||1||12|
|1966–67||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||8||17||25||70||12||3||5||8||25|
|1967–68||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||69||4||23||27||82||—||—||—||—||—|
|1968–69||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||74||11||29||40||107||4||0||0||0||7|
|1969–70||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||59||3||19||22||91||—||—||—||—||—|
|1969–70||New York Rangers||NHL||15||1||5||6||16||6||1||1||2||28|
|1970–71||New York Rangers||NHL||78||2||18||20||57||13||1||4||5||14|
Accolades[edit | edit source]
- Named to NHL First All-Star Team in 1964, 1968 & 1969
- Named to NHL Second All-Star Team in 1954, 1963 & 1967
- 1961–62 – Stanley Cup champion
- 1962–63 – Stanley Cup champion
- 1963–64 – Stanley Cup champion
- 1966–67 – Stanley Cup champion
- 1977 – Inducted (posthumously) into the Hockey Hall of Fame
- 1982 – Inducted (posthumously) into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame
- 1996 – Number 2 retired by the Buffalo Sabres
- 1998 – Ranked number 43 on The Hockey News list of the "100 Greatest Hockey Players"
- 2004 – Ranked number 59 in The Greatest Canadian list by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- 2015 – Recipient of the Bruce Prentice Legacy Award by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame
- 2016 – Number 7 jersey retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs
- In January 2017, he was part of the first group of players to be named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Tim was born in Cochrane, Ontario, Canada at Lady Minto Hospital to Ethel May (née Irish) and Aaron Oakley Horton, a Canadian National Railway mechanic.
He had one brother, Gerry Horton. He had English, Irish & Scottish ancestry.
The family moved in 1935 to Duparquet, Quebec, returning to Ontario in 1938 to Cochrane; they moved to Sudbury in 1945.
Married in 1952, Tim left behind a wife, Lori Michalek (who died in 2000 at the age of 68) and four daughters: Jeri-Lyn, Traci, Kim & Kelly.
Following Tim's death, Ron Joyce offered Lori $1 million for her shares in the chain, which included 40 stores. She accepted his offer and Joyce became sole owner.
Years later, Lori became dissatisfied with Joyce's offer, and filed a lawsuit against him. In 1993, she lost the lawsuit and an appeal was declined in 1995.
Restaurant Business[edit | edit source]
In 1964, Tim opened his first Tim Horton Doughnut Shop in Hamilton, Ontario on Ottawa Street. He added a few of his culinary creations to the initial menu. By 1968, he had become a multimillion-dollar franchise system.
His previous business ventures included both a hamburger restaurant and Studebaker auto dealership in Toronto.
Upon Tim's death in 1974, his business partner Ron Joyce bought out the Horton family's shares for $1 million and took over as sole owner of the existing chain, which had 40 stores at the time and later expanded to nearly 4,600 stores in Canada alone by 2013.