Eddie Shack, Feisty Wing for Powerful Maple Leafs, Dies at 83


Edward Steven Philip Shack was born in Sudbury, Ontario, on Feb. 11, 1937, to Bill and Lena Shack, Ukrainian immigrants. His father was a crane operator. Eddie was ill for several years as a boy and missed school but was promoted from one grade to the next nonetheless, leaving him unable to read and write. He quit school at 15 and was signed by the Guelph Biltmores, a New York Rangers junior team.

Shack made his N.H.L. debut in the 1958-59 season with the Rangers, who traded him to the Maple Leafs in November 1960. He played for their Stanley Cup championship teams in 1962, ’63, ’64 and ’67.

He was later with the Boston Bruins, the Los Angeles Kings, the Buffalo Sabres, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Leafs again. He retired after the 1974-75 season with career totals of 239 goals, 226 assists and 1,431 penalty minutes in 1,047 regular-season games. He was in the N.H.L.’s top 10 in penalty minutes four times.

Though he was illiterate, Shack proved astute in drawing on his popularity for commercial opportunities. “He once told me, ‘I can’t read or write but I can count,’” his former Maple Leafs teammate Dick Duff told The Globe and Mail of Toronto. In his later years Shack was an advocate for literacy programs in schools.

He and his wife, Norma (Givens) Shack, who survives him, had two children. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

For fans of the Canadiens, the Maple Leafs’ chief rival, Shack was a villain, as Quebec’s premier, François Legault, acknowledged wryly in paying tribute to him in a Twitter posting on his death.

He saluted Shack “with the sentiments of many fans and teams for which he didn’t play,” Mr. Legault said, adding, “We loved to hate him.”



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