James Gaye Stewart - June 28, 1923 in Fort William, Ontario – Died November 18, 2010 in Burlington, Ontario was a professional ice Hockey left winger.
Stewart started his junior Hockey career in the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League playing with the Port Arthur Bruins, and led the league in goals, both during the regular season and the playoffs in the 1939-40 season.
The Toronto Marlboros took notice of Stewart, and signed him to play for their club for the 1940-41 season. Stewart finished his first year in Toronto as the league's top scorer with 31 goals, 13 assists in just 16 games.
The following year, Stewart embarked on a string of successes unparalleled in Hockey. He started the 1941-42 season with the Marlboro juniors. Shortly thereafter, he was bumped up to the Marlboro seniors. He then signed with the Hershey Bears of the AHL near the end of the season, playing in 15 games, and was then called up to join the Toronto Maple Leafs in time for the playoffs, playing in 1 game. By season's end he had played junior, senior, minor pro and NHL pro, all in one season, and got his name on the Stanley Cup, as the Maple Leafs won the 1942 Stanley Cup championship.
The next season, Stewart played for the Maple Leafs full time, and won the 1942–43 Calder Trophy (Calder Memorial Trophy), as the NHL's top rookie of that year, beating out Maurice 'The Rocket' Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. He became the first player to win the Stanley Cup before winning the Calder Trophy. Danny Grant, Tony Esposito and Ken Dryden have accomplished the feat since then.
Stewart spent two years in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II, while also playing for the Quebec Senior Hockey League - Montreal Royals (1943-44), Montreal City Hockey League - Montreal Navy (1943-44) and in Nova Scotia with the Cornwallis Navy (1944-45).
Stewart returned to the NHL in 1945 and had his best season, playing on a line with fellow Fort William natives Gus Bodnar and Bud Poile. The trio became known as "The Flying Forts" and their strong chemistry helped power Stewart to the top of the league in goals scored with 37 on the season. Surprisingly, no Maple Leaf has led the NHL in goals scored for a single campaign since then.
Stewart won his second Stanley Cup, again with the Maple Leafs, in 1946–47 season, when they played the Montreal Canadiens in the 1947 Stanley Cup final. This was the first all Canadian final since 1935. The Maple Leafs were also the youngest NHL team to win the Stanley Cup to that time. Stewart also played in the 1947 NHL All-Star game during the season - his 1st All-Star game.
After just 7 games to start the 1947-48 season, Stewart was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks with Bud Poile, Gus Bodnar, Bob Goldham and Ernie Dickens for Max Bentley and Cy Thomas, November 2, 1947.
Stewart continued to perform as a solid winger for the Black Hawks with a touch around the net, as he had 3 seasons scoring 20 goals or more.
Stewart was again traded, this time to the Detroit Red Wings with Metro Prystai, Bob Goldham and Jim Henry for Harry Lumley, Jack Stewart, Al Dewsbury, Pete Babando and Don Morrison, July 13, 1950. Stewart only played 1 season in Detroit, scoring 18 goals, 13 assists, and was then traded to the New York Rangers for Tony Leswick, June 8, 1951, and played for in New York before being claimed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens December 1, 1952. Stewart only played 5 games in Montreal when they sent him to their minor affiliate, the Quebec Aces, where he finished the season.
Stewart was traded to the AHL Buffalo Bisons with Ed Slowinski and Pete Babando for Jackie Leclair and cash, August 17, 1954, and named playing coach of Buffalo September 1, 1954. Stewart was named to the AHL First All-Star Team in 1954, and then finished his Hockey career with the Bisons in 1955.
Stewart played in 502 regular season NHL games, scoring 185 goals, 159 assists and played 25 NHL playoff games, scoring 2 goals, 9 assists, and played in the 1947, 1948, 1950 and 1951 NHL All-Star Games.
Stewart then pursued a career as an NHL referee until 1958.