|5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
175 lb (80 kg)
|Teams||Toronto Maple Leafs |
Minnesota Fighting Saints (WHA)
St. Louis Blues
Chicago Black Hawks
|Born||January 3, 1945,|
Kirkland Lake, ON, CAN
|Pro Career||1966 – 1979|
Michael Robert "Shakey" Walton (born January 3, 1945 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional player in the National Hockey League (NHL) and World Hockey Association (WHA). He was a forward with explosive offensive skills who made up for his lack of size with blazing speed and superior puckhandling.
Formative Years[edit | edit source]
Walton was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, but his family settled just north of Toronto in Sutton, He inherited his nickname "Shakey" from his father Bobby, who, as a hockey player in England. would shake his head to throw off opponents.
He spent each of his first two years of junior hockey with the only champions in the Metro Toronto Junior A League's brief history. He first played for the St. Michael's Majors. When the Majors' famous hockey program was discontinued after the 1961–62 season, Walton and the rest of the players were transferred to Neil McNeil Maroons, where he scored 22 goals in 38 games in 1962–63.
Toronto Maple Leafs[edit | edit source]
He then joined the Toronto Marlboros, where he was the club's second leading scorer with 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 53 games, while helping them win the league championship and Memorial Cup in 1963-64. He then earned back-to-back minor league Rookie of the Year honors, first with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL) in 1965, then with the Calder Cup-winning Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 1966.
Walton made his Leafs debut in 1965–66, appearing in only six matches. He established himself on the veteran-dominated team midway through the next campaign. Working exclusively on powerplay situations, he scored four goals with three assists while playing in all twelve games of Toronto's postseason run to the 1967 Stanley Cup Championship. He was the club's leading scorer with 59 points (30 goals, 29 assists) in 1967–68, his first full season in the league and most productive with the Leafs.
His time with the Leafs was marred by constant conflict with head coach Punch Imlach and team president Stafford Smythe. Prior to his dismissal in April 1969, the domineering Imlach, disdainful of younger players, clashed with Walton over hairstyle, bombarded him with negative comments about his on-ice performance and threw him into the doghouse. Smythe just simply hated him for having as his agent Alan Eagleson, who helped establish the NHL Players' Association. Further complicating matters was the fact that Walton was married to Smythe's niece. When an independent psychiatrist appointed by the NHL diagnosed him with depression in the middle of the 1970–71 season, Walton's departure from the Leafs was imminent.
Boston Bruins[edit | edit source]
Walton was traded twice on February 1, 1971. He was first dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers with Bruce Gamble and the Leafs' first-round choice in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft (Pierre Plante) for Bernie Parent and the Flyers' second-round pick in the same draft (Rick Kehoe). He was then acquired by the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins for Rick MacLeish and Danny Schock.
He blended in well with the Bruins' prolific scorers led by Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr, his business partner at the time with the Orr-Walton Sports Camp in Orillia, Ontario. He became a part of his second Stanley Cup Championship when the Bruins defeated the New York Rangers in the 1972 Finals.
He was injured in a bizarre accident in the middle of the 1972–73 season when he tripped and fell through a plate glass door at a St. Louis hotel. Despite needing over 200 stitches and a complete blood transfusion after losing five pints of blood, he made a complete recovery.
Minnesota Fighting Saints (WHA)[edit | edit source]
The upstart World Hockey Association, attempting to lure talent away from the established league, conducted its General Player Draft on February 12, 1972 to evenly distribute amongst its franchises NHL players with expiring contracts. Even though still under contract with the Bruins, Walton was selected by the Los Angeles Sharks. His WHA rights were traded in June 1973 to the Minnesota Fighting Saints, who succeeded in signing him to a three-year deal worth $450,000.
He made an immediate impact as the WHA's leading scorer with a career-high 117 points (57 goals, 60 assists) in 1973–74. He continued as the team's top scorer for the next two seasons, but left the team on Feb. 25, 1976, three days before financial problems forced the Fighting Saints to cease operations.
Career End[edit | edit source]
Walton returned to the NHL to finish his 1975–76 campaign, but it wasn't with the Bruins. Two years earlier on February 7, 1974, they had traded his NHL rights, along with Chris Oddleifson and Fred O'Donnell, to the Vancouver Canucks for Bobby Schmautz. Even though his 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) in 1977–78 led the Canucks and were the best numbers in his NHL career, he was still dealt to the St. Louis Blues on June 12, 1978. His subsequent season was split between the Blues, Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and the latter two's AHL affiliates. His final year of professional hockey in 1979–80 was spent with Kölner EC of the 1. Bundesliga in West Germany.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- 1964 J. Ross Robertson Cup Championship (OHA) – Toronto Marlboros
- 1964 Memorial Cup Championship – Toronto Marlboros
- 1965 Ken McKenzie Trophy (Rookie of the Year - CPHL) – Tulsa Oilers
- 1966 Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (Rookie of the Year - AHL) – Rochester Americans
- 1966 Calder Cup Championship (AHL) – Rochester Americans
- 1967 Stanley Cup Championship – Toronto Maple Leafs
- 1968 NHL All Star – Toronto Maple Leafs
- 1972 Stanley Cup Championship – Boston Bruins
- 1974 Bill Hunter Trophy (Scoring Leader - WHA) – Minnesota Fighting Saints
Gallery[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Mike Walton's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
- Shakey Walton – Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends.com.
- Picture of Mike Walton's Name on the 1967 Stanley Cup Plaque
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Cox, Damien & Stellick, Gord. '67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and The End of an Empire. Toronto, ON: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd., 2004.
- Leonetti, Mike & Barkley, Harold. The Game We Knew: Hockey in the Sixties. Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 1998.
- Willes, Ed. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 2004.