He started the 1941-42 season with the Marlboro juniors. Shortly thereafter, he was bumped up to the Marlboro seniors. He then got the nod to join the Hershey Bears of the AHL near the end of the campaign and was then called up to join the Maple Leafs in time for the playoffs. By season's end he had played junior, senior, minor pro and pro, all in one season, and got a Stanley Cup win to top things off.
In 1942-43, Stewart completed his first full season as a Leaf and outdid rookie Rocket Richard to take the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie of that year.
In all, Gaye Stewart played for five of the NHL's Original Six teams, all except the Boston Bruins. He played 502 career NHL games, scoring 185 goals and 159 assists for 344 points.
Received this black sharpie signed card IP in the summer of 1998. I did something that I had never done before or since. I was living in Burlington at the time and knew he lived there also. I looked him up in the phone book and gave him a call on a Monday. He answered and said he was leaving for a few days but could I call him on Thursday. I did and he invited me over . We sat in his back yard and talked hockey, from the days he played to the present. Talked about his grandsons playing and how things had changed. This was the summer the Leafs signed Curtis Joseph and we discussed that at length. He introduced me to his wife when she returned home. It was a great experience and I have that as a memory. That's almost better than getting an autograph.
P.S. At the time, I did not realize that we shared the same birthday. Celebrated mine today both at work and at home.