(Born on January 12, 1930) -- Count yourself as a hockey fan if you see the name Tim Horton on a storefront and think of hockey first. Count yourself as a big hockey fan if you know the Hall of Famer’s first name was Miles.
Horton was born in Cochrane, Ont., a small town almost due north of Buffalo not too far from Hudson Bay. He spent some time as a boy in Quebec and in Ontario. By 1948, the Maple Leafs had scouted him and signed him, and Horton moved to Toronto to continue his career.
The defenseman arrived in the NHL for good in 1952, and stayed with the Maple Leafs for 18 years. There he was a first-team all-star three times, and a second-teamer three more. Horton was known for his incredible strength, settling physical disputes by his mere arrival on the scene.
Horton went to the Rangers and Penguins, but his former coach in Toronto, Punch Imlach, couldn't resist the chance to sign Horton in 1972 at the age of 42 for the Sabres. The defenseman had plenty left in the tank, and helped Buffalo qualify for the playoffs while mentoring such young players as Jim Schoenfeld and Craig Ramsay.
Horton signed for one more year in 1973, but sadly didn’t live to finish the season. He was involved in an auto accident while driving back to Buffalo after a game in Toronto and was killed. The Sabres eventually retired his number.
--- Budd Bailey