Cape Breton Post

Frank Bonello’s huge influence on Toronto and NHL

- LANCE HORNBY

Toronto and the NHL community has been mourning the death this week of Frank Bonello, a force in junior hockey, Central Scouting and teammate of former Bruins president Harry Sinden on the 1958 world champion Whitby Dunlops.

Bonello passed peacefully at his Toronto home at age 91 on Wednesday. As general manager of the Toronto Marlboros he won two Memorial Cup championsh­ips in 1973 and ‘75 and after retiring from his day job at Canada Packers in 1988, became director of NHL Central Scouting until 2005.

Bonello, who sent players such as Bruce Boudreau and Mike Palmateer on to the Leafs, hired Dan Marr as a trainer for the Marlies, who later succeeded him at CSB.

“I always would try and take things from different people that you work for, different leaders, and from Frank it was just the organizati­onal skills that he demanded from everybody as part of doing their job,” Marr told nhl.com. “Then there was Frank, the family man. Hockey players would be amazed to meet Frank, because of the way he just cherished those moments being around his wife and daughter and doing the family things.”

Bonello, once considered by Leaf owner Harold Ballard as a Leaf GM candidate in the 1980s, was on the championsh­ip ‘Dunnies’ at the worlds in Oslo, Norway. They took an ocean liner to the tournament as manager Wren Blair disliked flying. Though many were sick upon arrival, the team, including Bonello, Sinden and playing-coach ex-Leaf Sid Smith, finished with a 7-0 record, including beating Russia.

GOALIE WITH A GRUDGE

Jeremy Swayman’s motivation to try and beat the Leafs goes back a lot further than this series.

All the way to the 2017 draft when he thought the Leafs were going to take him at 110 th, based on many pre-draft interviews. Instead, Toronto went with the equally promising Ian Scott, who’d had played 50 junior games facing a lot more rubber for Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League.

Swayman has relayed to media the story that he looked at his father in shock as both were following the draft via internet in Anchorage, Alaska. Boston took him with the next pick.

That perceived slight has bothered Swayman, later a star at the University of Maine, ever since. While the outcome could’ve turned out differentl­y for the Leafs had a series of injuries not forced Scott into early retirement before he had a chance to develop with Joseph Woll (picked a year earlier), Swayman was a savvy selection. He and Linus Ullmark won last year’s Jennings Trophy and he was chosen to start and finish this series, convincing coach Jim Montgomery to disrupt the rotation with Ullmark.

JOEL ROLLS A SEVEN

The Leafs had their own ‘Mr. Game 7’ in the lineup Saturday.

Defenceman Joel Edmundson had not lost in five previous opportunit­ies with various teams, including wins against Toronto (as a Montreal Canadien in 2021) and Boston (in the 2019 Cup final while with the St. Louis Blues).

 ?? POSTMEDIA NEWS FILE ?? NHL Central Scouting Director Frank Bonello, right, poses with (from left to right) Rostislav Klesla, Lou Dickenson and Raffi Torres ahead of the CHL Top Prospects Game in Toronto, Jan. 13, 2000.
POSTMEDIA NEWS FILE NHL Central Scouting Director Frank Bonello, right, poses with (from left to right) Rostislav Klesla, Lou Dickenson and Raffi Torres ahead of the CHL Top Prospects Game in Toronto, Jan. 13, 2000.

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