Tim Horton – 2015 Bruce Prentice Legacy Award

Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton (January 12, 1930 – February 21, 1974) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, a defenceman for 24 seasons in the National Hockey League. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres. Also a successful businessman, Horton was a co-founder of the Tim Hortons coffeeshop chain. Between February 11, 1961, and February 4, 1968, Horton 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 defencemen until broken on February 8, 2007. This is remarkable because on March 12, 1955, he suffered both a broken leg and jaw after being checked by Bill Gadsby of the Rangers. The injuries were so severe he missed much of the following season, causing some doubt Horton would ever again play professional hockey. Horton had a reputation for enveloping players fighting him, in a crushing bear hug. While playing, Horton was generally acknowledged as the strongest man in the game; injuries and age were little more than minor inconveniences. Chicago Blackhawks winger 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.”