Leading Aircraftman Murray Dowey was a practice ice hockey goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was called up by Sandy Watson to replace Dick Ball, the RCAF Flyers’ goalie who failed his medical tests shortly before the team was due to represent Canada at the 1948 Winter Olympics. As a youngster he had played with Birchcliff Midget teams in the Toronto Hockey League (TOHL) and moved to their higher division with the Toronto Tip Top Tailors in 1944. In addition, he also played one game with the Toronto Marlboros of the Junior Ontario Hockey Association (JOHA) that year, who were the junior team with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He split 1945 between the Toronto Army Daggers of the Senior Ontario Hockey Association (SOHA) and TOHL’s Toronto Army Shamrocks. He returned to the Tip Top Tailors in 1946.
At the time of his call from Watson, Dowey had been playing with the Toronto Barkers of the TOHL for two years (and had claimed a championship in 1947) in addition to his duties with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his job with the Toronto Transit Commission. A Toronto city bus driver, he had to obtain a leave of absence from his work before he would be able to join the team and thus it was up to Sandy Watson, the team’s manager, to convince Dowey’s boss and future mayor of Toronto Allan Lamport to allow his potential goalie to play. Pressed for time, he accomplished this feat by means of a 1:30 AM phone call. Half an hour later, Dowey received the call that he was to be at the airport in four hours. At the tournament, where Canada won the gold medal, he posted a 0.62 goals-against average, which remains an Olympic record, and his use of the trapper glove was a new sight to the Europeans. He returned to the Barkers for a season after the Games, and then spent a year with the Toronto Staffords of the TOHL before retiring from active play. As a member of his gold medal-winning Olympic team, he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2008 and received a personal induction into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
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