Leapin’ Lou makes it two!

Lou Fontinato - 1957-58 ToppsLeapin’ Lou Fontinato (so named because he’d jump up and down when protesting a penalty, of which he got many, or because of a naughty tendency to leave his feet during hits) actually broke into the NHL in 1954-55.  Topps, for reasons that are not completely clear (but probably involving licensing fights with Parkhurst, my guess), didn’t issue cards in either 1955-56 or 1956-57, so Lou’s rookie card was released during his fourth season.

Lou was the Rangers’ enforcer and was the first player ever to break the 200 mark in penalty minutes, sitting out for 202 in 1955-56.

Lou played 9 NHL seasons and 535 games, but is probably best known for being on the wrong end of a 1959 fight with Gordie Howe.  Howe and Fontinato had had a number of run-ins over their previous few games and had been trading sticks, stitches and insults.  When Howe got involved with rookie Eddie Shack, Fontinato stepped up.

In one article I read, Fontinato said that in the early stages of the fight, things were going fairly well, but he popped his head up to take a peek the very instant Gordie got his right hand free.  The next series of punches broke his nose, cheekbone, split his lip open and generally made a mess of him.  Googling “Howe Fontinato fight” will bring up no small number of them.  Broken face and all, Fontinato finished the game and only ended up missing a handful of games that season.  Gordie rarely had to fight after that.

The Fontinato RC brings me to 64 of 66 cards in the set.  The last two are Dean Prentice and Vic Stasiuk, neither of which are RCs, so I should probably just spring for them.

Lou Fontinato - 1957-58 Topps back

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3 Responses to Leapin’ Lou makes it two!

  1. shanediaz82 says:

    Great write-up! I recently picked up his autograph from 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures and it was cool to learn a bit more about him. Also, I Google searched as you suggested…good lord!

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