Howard Stewart Lee
Born: October 13, 1931 (Toronto)
Died: November 13, 2014 (Unionville, Ontario)
Howie Lee won an Olympic bronze medal in hockey with the Kitchener-Waterloo (Ont.) Dutchmen at the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Lee, a 5-foot-7, 177-pound defenceman, scored two goals in Canada’s eight-game Olympic tournament, one of those coming in a 23-0 victory over Austria. He also had three assists at the Olympics. The Dutchmen, coached by Bobby Bauer, finished in third place with six wins and losses to the United States (4-1) and the Soviet Union (2-0).
No stranger to the penalty box, Lee earned the enmity of Italian fans by getting into a shoving match with Mario Bedogni, captain of the Italian team. Lee “endeared himself to Italian fans as Rockeyt Richard has to the citizens of Detroit,” wrote Milt Dunnell of the Toronto Star.
Born in Toronto, Lee emerged as a schoolboy player with the junior Toronto Marlboros. He graduated to the Marlies senior squad in 1949-50, winning an Allan Cup as senior Dominion champions. The Marlies roster included such future NHL players as George Armstrong, Flash Hollett and Danny Lewicki.
Lee spent the 1951-52 season in New Brunswick with the Saint John Beavers, scoring eight goals in 69 games.
He joined the Dutchmen for the 1952-53 season, the first of five campaigns with the club, where he would win the Allan Cup again in 1953 (over the Penticton V’s) and 1955 (over the Fort William Beavers).
After returning from the Olympics, Lee joined the professional Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, but the Dutchmen and the Ontario Hockey Association protested the defenceman was in breach of contract. In turn, Lee said the Dutchmen broke their contract with him, as he had been promised $2,400 for the season plus a job as a lithographer. Instead, he got a job “shovelling coal.”
Lee scored a goal in five games with the Barons before being forced to play for the Dutchmen under threat of a long suspension. He retired after the 1957-58 season.
Lee worked as a real-estate broker and was a minor hockey coach in Unionville, Ont.
Howie Lee and family pose with his Olympic hockey sweater.