St. John's Maple Leafs

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St. John's Maple Leafs
St johns maple leafs 200x200.png
City St. John's, Newfoundland
League American Hockey League
Operated 1991–2005
Home arena Mile One Centre and Memorial Stadium
Colours Blue and White
Owner(s) Maple Leaf Gardens Limited
Affiliates Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Franchise history
1978–1982 New Brunswick Hawks
1982–1986 St. Catharines Saints
1986–1991 Newmarket Saints
1991–2005 St. John's Maple Leafs
2005–present Toronto Marlies
Championships
Regular season titles 1
1993–94
Division Championships 3
1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97
Conference Championships 1
1991–92
Calder Cups 0
None

The St. John's Maple Leafs were an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They played in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada at Memorial Stadium from 1991–2001, and at Mile One Stadium from 2001–2005.

History[edit]

The AHL had a strong presence in Atlantic Canada in the 1980s and 1990s, largely due to the desire of several National Hockey League Canadian franchises to continue to pay players sent down to the minors in Canadian dollars, but by 2004 St. John's was the only remaining team in the region. The desire of the parent team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, to reduce travel costs and have a tenant for its Ricoh Coliseum resulted in the team's relocation to Toronto for the 2005–06 season.[1]

The St. John's Maple Leafs were established in 1991 when the Toronto Maple Leafs moved its AHL farm team to St. John's, becoming the first professional ice hockey team in Newfoundland and Labrador. The team played their home games at the Memorial Stadium until 2001, when they moved to the Mile One Centre, where they remained until becoming the Toronto Marlies. The Leafs' AHL franchise was established in Moncton, New Brunswick in 1978 as the New Brunswick Hawks, where they played until 1982. The franchise also had stops in St. Catharines, Ontario as the St. Catharines Saints (1982-1986) and Newmarket, Ontario as the Newmarket Saints (1986-1991) prior to arriving in St. John's.[2]

The Maple Leafs were very popular throughout their existence, and they made multiple appearances in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs (only missing the playoffs in 2000, 2003 and 2004). The team was in the Calder Cup finals in their inaugural season, losing 4–3 to the Adirondack Red Wings, but they won the semifinal round by earning the most points during the regular season out of the three remaining teams in the playoffs, the others being the Red Wings and the Rochester Americans. Their first season was the only time the team made it to the finals, and they never made it past the conference semi-finals round after that. They made subsequent appearances in the second round, losing 4–0 in 1993 to the eventual Calder Cup champion Cape Breton Oilers, and lost the second round in their remaining appearances, all of which were won by the conference champions for the season, losing 4–2 to the Moncton Hawks in 1994, 4–3 to the Hamilton Bulldogs in 1997, and 4–0 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2002. However, the team was the division champion for the 1992–93 and 1996–97 seasons, and won the regular season title for the 1993–94 AHL season.

On April 29, 2005, the Maple Leafs played their final game, Game 5 of the division semi-finals round of the playoffs against the Manitoba Moose at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, losing 4-0. This was one week after the Maple Leafs' final home game (Game 2 of the first round), a 6-1 victory over the Moose, which was to be their final victory. It officially marked the end of 34 consecutive seasons of the AHL's presence in Atlantic Canada, which began in 1971 with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Coincidentally, when the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers moved to become the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, the Moose moved to Newfoundland and Labrador to become the St. John's IceCaps, becoming the first AHL team in Atlantic Canada in six years, making the final Leafs game one between an outgoing team and a future team both playing in the same city, in the same league. The IceCaps are currently the affiliate of the Jets.

Mascot[edit]

The team's mascot was Buddy the Puffin, an anthropomorphic puffin (the bird of Newfoundland and Labrador) wearing a Maple Leafs home jersey with the number #92 (to commemorate 1992, the year Buddy was introduced), who appeared at Maple Leafs home games in St. John's and numerous appearances at events across Newfoundland and Labrador. The puffin design of the mascot was selected as the winner in a fan contest to create a mascot for the team for its second season, and was officially given the name of "Buddy" just before the beginning of the 1992–93 season. Buddy was reintroduced as the mascot of the St. John's IceCaps on October 21, 2011, complete with an IceCaps home jersey; the jersey remains numbered #92.

Media[edit]

Games were broadcast on radio by VOCM (and by CJYQ in later seasons) and on television by Cable Atlantic's Cable 9 channel available on Cable Atlantic systems in Newfoundland and Labrador. Cable Atlantic was sold to Rogers Communications in 2001 by its owner, Danny Williams, before he became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador and later Premier from 2003 to 2010, and Cable 9 would become known as the Newfoundland and Labrador version of Rogers TV. Incidentally, Williams currently operates the St. John's IceCaps under a lease agreement with the IceCaps' and Winnipeg Jets' owner, True North Sports & Entertainment.

Area history[edit]

The franchise became known as:

The franchise was replaced by:

Affiliates

Alumni[edit]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SOL Points Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing
1991–92 80 39 29 12 90 325 285 2nd, Atlantic
1992–93 80 41 26 13 95 351 308 1st, Atlantic
1993–94 80 45 23 12 102 360 287 1st, Atlantic
1994–95 80 33 37 10 76 263 263 2nd, Atlantic
1995–96 80 31 31 14 4 80 248 274 3rd, Atlantic
1996–97 80 36 28 10 6 88 265 264 1st, Canadian
1997–98 80 25 32 18 5 73 233 254 4th, Atlantic
1998–99 80 34 35 7 4 79 246 270 2nd, Atlantic
1999–00 80 23 45 8 4 58 202 277 5th, Atlantic
2000–01 80 35 35 8 2 80 247 244 3rd, Canadian
2001–02 80 34 27 17 2 87 256 240 3rd, Canadian
2002–03 80 32 40 6 2 72 236 285 3rd, Canadian
2003–04 80 32 36 8 4 76 225 265 7th, North
2004–05 80 46 28 5 1 98 244 232 2nd, North

Playoffs[edit]

Season Prelim 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
1991–92 W, 4–1, CB W, 4–0, MON bye L, 3–4, ADK
1992–93 W, 4–1, MON L, 0–4, CB
1993–94 W, 4–1, CB L, 2–4, MON
1994–95 L, 1–4, FRE
1995–96 L, 1–3, SJNB
1996–97 W, 3–1, BNG L, 3–4, HAM
1997–98 L, 1–3, SJNB
1998–99 L, 2–4, FRE
1999–00 Out of Playoffs
2000–01 L, 1–3, QUE
2001–02 W, 2–0, PRO W, 3–2, LOW L, 0–4, BRI
2002–03 Out of Playoffs
2003–04 Out of Playoffs
2004–05 L, 1–4, MTB

Coaches[edit]

Team records[edit]

Single game[edit]

Season[edit]

Career[edit]

  • Games: 508 (Nathan Dempsey, 1994–2002)
  • Goals: 132 (Yanic Perreault, 1991–1994)
  • Assists: 196 (Dempsey, 1994–2002)
  • Points: 276 (Perreault, 1991–1994)
  • Penalty minutes: 1215 (Thornton, 1998–2001)
  • Goaltending wins: 80 (Marcel Cousineau, 1993–1998)
  • Shutouts: 7 (Waite, 1999–2001)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baby Buds move to Toronto". Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Ballou, Bill (2013-04-04). "AHL: Bracken Kearns easy Worcester Sharks MVP choice". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

See also[edit]