Toronto Maple Leafs
|Toronto Maple Leafs|
|2017–18 Toronto Maple Leafs season|
Toronto St. Patricks
Toronto Maple Leafs
|Home arena||Air Canada Centre|
Sportsnet 590 The Fan 
TSN Radio 1050
|Owner(s)||Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.
(Larry Tanenbaum, chairman)
|General manager||Lou Lamoriello|
|Head coach||Mike Babcock|
|Minor league affiliates||Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
|Stanley Cups||13 (1917–18, 1921–22, 1931–32, 1941–42, 1944–45, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1950–51, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1966–67)|
|Division championships||5 (1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1999–2000)|
The Toronto Maple Leafs (officially the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club) are a professional ice hockey team based in Toronto, Ontario. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team is one of the "Original Six" league members. They are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ltd. and are represented by Chairman Larry Tanenbaum. In February 1999, they moved to the Air Canada Centre, which replaced Maple Leaf Gardens, the team's home since 1931.
The franchise was founded in 1917, operating simply as Toronto and known today as the Toronto Arenas, as it was operated by the Toronto Arena Company, owners of the Arena Gardens arena. In 1919, the NHL transferred the franchise to new owners who christened the team the Toronto St. Patricks. The franchise was sold in 1927 and was renamed the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club. The team colours are navy blue and white.
The Maple Leafs have won thirteen Stanley Cup championships, second only to the 24 championships of their primary rival, the Montreal Canadiens. They won their last championship in 1967. Their 49-season drought between championships is currently the longest in the NHL.
With an estimated worth of US $1.15 billion in 2015 according to Forbes, the Leafs are the third most valuable franchise in the NHL, behind the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers. In 2015, they were ranked by Forbes as the 37th most valuable sports team in the world (and the only NHL team to be in the top 50).
- 1 Team history
- 1.1 Early years (1917–1927)
- 1.2 Conn Smythe era (1927–1961)
- 1.3 New owners and a new dynasty (1961–1971)
- 1.4 The Ballard years (1971–1990)
- 1.5 Resurgence (1990–2004)
- 1.6 Post-lockout era and playoff drought (2005–2014)
- 1.7 Brendan Shanahan era (2014–present)
- 2 Team culture
- 3 Team information
- 4 Season-by-season record
- 5 Players and personnel
- 6 Team and league honours
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 Minor league affiliates
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early years (1917–1927)
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The National Hockey League was formed in 1917 in Montreal by teams formerly belonging to the National Hockey Association (NHA) that had a dispute with Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blueshirts. The owners of the other four clubs — the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Quebec Bulldogs and Ottawa Senators — wanted to get rid of Livingstone, but discovered that the NHA constitution did not allow them to simply vote him out of the league. Instead, they opted to create a new league, the NHL and did not invite Livingstone to join them. They also remained voting members of the NHA, and thus had enough votes to suspend the other league's operations, effectively leaving Livingstone's squad in a one-team league.
However, the other clubs wanted to have a team from Toronto (Canada's second largest city at the time). They also needed another team to balance the schedule after the Bulldogs suspended operations (and as it turned out, did not ice a team until 1920). The NHL granted a "temporary" Toronto franchise to the Arena Company, owners of the Arena Gardens. The Arena Company leased the Blueshirts' players and was given until the end of the season to resolve the dispute with Livingstone. Although the roster was composed almost entirely of former Blueshirts, the Maple Leafs do not claim the Blueshirts' history. The franchise did not have an official name, but was informally called "the Blueshirts" or "the Torontos" by the fans and press. During the inaugural season the club performed the first trade in NHL history, acquiring the Senators' spare goaltender, Sammy Hebert, in return for cash. Under manager Charlie Querrie and head coach Dick Carroll, the team won the Stanley Cup in the inaugural 1917–18 season.
For the next season, rather than return the Blueshirts' players to Livingstone as originally promised, the Arena Company formed a permanent team, the Toronto Arena Hockey Club, which was readily granted membership in the NHL. Also that year, the Arena Company decided that only NHL teams were allowed to play at the Arena Gardens—a move which effectively killed the NHA. Livingstone sued to get his players back. Mounting legal bills from the dispute forced the Arenas to sell some of their stars, resulting in a horrendous five-win season in 1918–19. With the company facing increasing financial difficulties, and the Arenas officially eliminated from the playoffs, the NHL agreed to let the team forfeit their last two games. Operations halted on February 20, 1919, with the NHL ending its season and starting the playoffs. The Arenas' .278 winning percentage that season is still the worst in franchise history. However, the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals ended without a winner due to the worldwide flu epidemic.
The legal dispute forced the Arena Company into bankruptcy, and it was forced to sell the team. On 9 December 1919, Querrie brokered the team's purchase to the ownership of the St. Patricks Hockey Club, allowing him to maintain an ownership stake in the team. The new owners renamed the team the Toronto St. Patricks (or St. Pats for short), which operated until 1927. Changing the colours of the team from blue to green, the club won their second Stanley Cup championship in 1922. Babe Dye scored four times in the 5–1 Stanley Cup-clinching victory against the Vancouver Millionaires. During this time, the St. Patricks allowed other teams to play in the Arena whenever their home rinks lacked proper ice in the warmer months. At the time, the Arena was the only facility east of Manitoba with artificial ice.
Conn Smythe era (1927–1961)
After a number of financially difficult seasons, the St. Patricks' ownership group seriously considered selling the team to C. C. Pyle for CAD$200,000. Pyle sought to move the team to Philadelphia. However, Toronto Varsity Graduates coach Conn Smythe put together a group of his own and made a $160,000 offer. With the support of St. Pats shareholder J. P. Bickell, Smythe persuaded Querrie to accept their bid, arguing that civic pride was more important than money.
After taking control, on February 14, 1927, Smythe immediately renamed the team for the Maple Leaf, the national symbol of Canada. He attributed his choice of for a Maple Leaf logo from his experiences as a Canadian Army officer and prisoner of war during World War I. Viewing the Maple Leaf was a "badge of courage," and a reminder of home, Smythe decided to give the same name to his hockey team, in honor of the many Canadian soldiers who wore the Maple Leaf. However, the team was not the first to use the name, with a Toronto minor-league baseball team using the name "Maple Leafs" since 1896.
Initial reports were that the team's colours were be red and white, but the Leafs wore white sweaters with a green maple leaf for their first game, on February 17, 1927. On September 27, 1927, it was announced that the Leafs changed their colour scheme to blue and white. Although Smythe later stated he choose blue represents the Canadian skies and white represents snow, the colours blue and white were also used on the trucks of his gravel and sand business. The colour scheme also followed a longstanding tradition of top-level Toronto-based teams using blue as their primary colour, starting with the Toronto Argonauts in 1873, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in 1877, and the Maple Leafs baseball team.
Opening of Maple Leaf Gardens (1930s)
In spite of four more lacklustre seasons (including three with Smythe as coach), Smythe saw the increasing popularity of the team, and the need for a new arena. Finding the adaquate number of financiers, Smythe purchased land from the Eaton family, and completed construction of the arena in five months. The Maple Leafs debuted at their new arena, Maple Leaf Gardens, with a 2–1 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks on November 12, 1931. The debut of the Maple Leafs at the Gardens also featured Foster Hewitt from his newly constructed ‘gondola’ above the ice surface, where he began his famous Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts that eventually grew to be a Saturday-night tradition.
By the 1931–32 NHL season, the Maple Leafs was led by the "Kid Line" (Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau and Charlie Conacher) and coach Dick Irvin, the Leafs captured their third Stanley Cup during that season, vanquishing the Chicago Black Hawks in the first round, the Montreal Maroons in the semifinals, and the New York Rangers in the finals. Smythe took particular pleasure in defeating the Rangers that year; he had been tapped as the Rangers' first general manager and coach in the Rangers' inaugural season (1926–27), but had been fired in a dispute with Madison Square Garden management before the season.
Leafs star forward Ace Bailey was nearly killed in 1933 when Boston Bruins defenceman Eddie Shore checked him from behind into the boards at full speed. Maple Leafs defenceman Red Horner knocked Shore out with a punch, but Bailey, writhing on the ice, had his career ended. The Maple Leafs held the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, the NHL's first All-Star Game in an effort to collect medical funds for Bailey's benefit. His jersey was retired later the same night. The Leafs reached the Finals five times in the next seven years but bowed out to the now-defunct Maroons in 1935, the Detroit Red Wings in 1936, Chicago in 1938, Boston in 1939 as well as the Rangers in 1940. After the end of the 1939–40 season, Smythe allowed Irvin go as the Maple Leafs head coach, replacing him with former Leafs captain Hap Day.
The first dynasty (1940s)
In the 1942 season, the Maple Leafs were down three games to none in a best-of-seven series in the playoffs against Detroit. Fourth-line forward Don Metz then galvanized the team, coming from nowhere to score a hat-trick in game four and the game-winner in game five, with the Leafs winning both times. Captain Syl Apps had won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy that season, not taking one penalty and finishing his ten-season career with an average of 5 minutes, 36 seconds in penalties a season. Goalie Turk Broda shut out the Wings in game six, and Sweeney Schriner scored two goals in the third period to win the seventh game 3–1, completing the reverse-sweep. The Maple Leafs remain the only team to have successfully performed a reverse-sweep in the Stanley Cup finals.
Smythe, who reenlisted in the Canadian Army at the outbreak of World War II, was given leave from military duty to view the final game of the 1942 finals. He arrived at the final game in full military regalia. Earlier, at the outbreak of war, Smythe arranged for many of his Maple Leaf players and staff to take army training with the Toronto Scottish Regiment. Most notably, the Maple Leafs announced a large portion of their roster had enlisted, including Apps, and Broda. Both Apps, and Broda did not play on the team for several seasons due to their obligations with the Canadian Forces. During this period, the Leafs turned to lesser-known players such as rookie goaltender Frank McCool and defenceman Babe Pratt.
The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in the 1945 Finals. The Maple Leafs won the first three games, with goaltender McCool recording consecutive shutouts. However, in a reverse of the 1942 finals, the Red Wings won the next three games. The Maple Leafs were able to win the series, winning the seventh game in 2-1 to prevent a complete reversal of the series played three years ago.
Following the end of the war, players that enlisted were beginning to return to their teams. With Apps and Broda regaining their form, the Maple Leafs beat the first-place Canadiens in the 1947 Finals. In an effort to bolster their centre depth, the Maple Leafs acquired Cy Thomas and Max Bentley in the following the off-season. With these key additions, the Maple Leafs were able to win a second consecutive Stanley Cup, sweeping the Red Wings in the 1948 Finals. With their victory in 1948, the Leafs moved ahead of Montreal for the most Stanley Cups in League history. It took the Canadiens ten years to reclaim the record. Apps announced his retirement following the 1948 Finals, with Ted Kennedy replacing him as the team's captain. Under a new captaincy, the Leafs managed to make it to the 1949 Finals, facing the Red Wings, who had finished the season with the best overall record. However, the Maple Leafs went on to win their third consecutive cup, sweeping the Red Wings in four games, and their eleventh straight against the Maple Leafs. The Red Wings were able to end their playoff losing streak against the Maple Leafs in the following post-season, eliminating Toronto from the 1950 NHL playoffs after a game seven 1-0 overtime victory.
The Barilko Curse (1950s)
The Maple Leafs and Canadiens met again in the 1951 finals, with five consecutive overtime games played in the series. Defenceman Bill Barilko managed to score the series-winning goal in overtime, leaving his defensive position (in spite of coach Joe Primeau's instructions not to) to pick up an errant pass and score. Barilko helped the club secure its fourth Stanley Cup over a five year period. Barilko's glory was short-lived, as he disappeared in a plane crash near Timmins, Ontario, four months later. The crash site was not found until a helicopter pilot discovered the wreckage of the plane about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Cochrane, Ontario eleven years later. The Leafs did not win another Cup during the 1950s, with rumours that the team was "cursed," and would not win a cup until Barilko's body was found. The "curse" came to an end following the Leafs' 1962 Stanley Cup victory. Their victory came seven weeks prior to the discovery of Barilko's plane wreckage.
Their 1951 victory was followed by lacklustre performances in the following seasons. The Maple Leafs finished third in the 1951–52 season, and was eventually swept by the Red Wings in the semi-finals. With the conclusion of the 1952–53 regular season, the Maple Leafs failed to make it to the post-season, failing to do so for the first time since the 1945–46 playoffs. The Maple Leafs' poor performance may partially be attributed to a decline in their sponsored junior system (including the Toronto St. Michael's Majors and the Toronto Marlboros). The junior system was managed by Frank J. Selke, until his departure to the Canadiens in 1946. In his absence, the system declined in quality, with many players called up in the early 1950s found to be poor quality. It wasn’t until later in the decade that the Maple Leafs feeder clubs turned out enough impressive prospects to enable the team to be competitive again.
After a two-year drought from the playoffs, the Maple Leafs returned to the playoffs following the 1958–59 season. A relatively young team, under a new general manager and coach, Punch Imlach, the team managed to make it to the 1959 Finals, although they lost to the Canadiens in five games. Building off a successful playoff run, the Maple Leafs followed up with a second-place finish in the 1959–60 regular season. Although they advanced to their second straight Cup Finals, the Maple Leafs were again defeated by the Canadiens in four games.
New owners and a new dynasty (1961–1971)
Beginning in the 1960s, the Leafs became a competitive team, with Johnny Bower as goaltender, with Bob Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Allan Stanley serving as the Maple Leafs defencemen. In an effort to bolster their forward group during the 1960 off-season, Imlach traded away Marc Reaume to the Red Wings for Red Kelly. Originally a defenceman, Kelly was asked to asked to transition to the centre role, where he remained for the rest of his career. Kelly helped reinforce a forward group made up of Frank Mahovlich, and team captain George Armstrong. The beginning of the of the 1960–61 season also saw the debut of rookies Bob Nevin, and Dave Keon. Keon was previously playing for the St. Michael's Majors (the Maple Leafs junior affiliate), but had impressed Imlach during the Maple Leafs training camp, joining the team for the season. Despite these new additions, the Maple Leafs 1961 playoff run ended in the semifinals against the Red Wings, with Armstrong, Bower, Kelly and others, suffering from injuries.
In November 1961, Smythe sold nearly all of his shares in Maple Leaf Gardens Limited to a partnership composed of his son Stafford Smythe, and his partners, newspaper baron John Bassett and Toronto Marlboros President Harold Ballard. The sale price was $2.3 million, a handsome return on Smythe's original investment 34 years earlier. Initially, Conn Smythe claimed that he knew nothing about his son's partners and was furious with the partnership, as he wanted him to keep the company for his own son. However this Smythe did not stop the deal because of it. Conn Smythe was given a retiring salary of $15,000 per year for life, an office, secretary, a car with a driver, and seats to home games. Smythe sold his remaining shares in the company and resigned from the board of directors in March 1966, after a Muhammad Ali boxing match was scheduled for the Gardens. Smythe found Ali's refusal to serve in the United States Army offensive, noting that the Gardens was "no place for those want to evade conscription in their own country." He had also come to say that because the Garden owners accepted to host the fight, they had "put cash ahead of class."
Under the new ownership, Toronto won another three straight Stanley Cups. The Maple Leafs won the 1962 Stanley Cup Finals beating the defending champion Chicago Black Hawks on a goal from Dick Duff in Game 6.. During the 1962–63 season, the Maple Leafs finished first in the league for the first time since the 1947-48 season. In the following playoffs, the team won their second Stanley Cup of the decade. The 1963–64 season saw certain members of the team traded away. With Imlach seeking to reinvigorate a slumping Maple Leafs, he made a mid-season trade that sent Duff, and Nevin to the Rangers for Andy Bathgate and Don McKenney. The Maple Leafs managed to make the post-season as well as the Cup finals. The 1964 Cup finals were perhaps most notable for Baun's heroic performance. During game six of the finals, Baun had suffered a fractured ankle and required a stretcher to be taken off the ice. Surprisingly, Baun returned to the ice with his ankle frozen, and eventually scored the overtime game-winning-goal against the Red Wings. Winning game seven 4–0, with two goals from Bathgate, the Maple Leafs won their third consecutive Stanley Cup.
The two seasons following the Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victories, the team saw several player departures, including Bathgate, and Brewer, as well as several new additions, including Marcel Pronovost, and Terry Sawchuk. During the 1966–67, the team had lost 10 games in a row, sending Imlach to the hospital with a stress-related illness. However, from the time King Clancy took over as the head coach, to Imlach returned, the club was on a 10 game undefeated streak, building momentum prior to the playoffs. The Maple Leafs made their last Cup finals in 1967. Playing against Montreal, the heavy favourite for the year, the Maple Leafs managed to win, with Bob Pulford scored the double-overtime winner in Game three, Jim Pappin got the series winner in Game 6. Keon was named the playoff's most valuable player, who is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The Maple Leafs failed to make the playoffs for two of the last three years in the decade. They lost several players to the 1967 expansion drafts, and the team was racked with dissension because of Imlach’s authoritative tactics and his attempt to prevent the players from joining the newly formed Players' Association. Imlach's management of the team was also brought into question due to some of his decisions. It was apparent that he was too loyal to ageing players who had been with him since 1958. In 1967–68 season, Mahovlich was traded to Detroit in a deal that saw the Maple Leafs acquire Paul Henderson, and Norm Ullman. The Maple Leafs managed to return to the playoffs following the 1968–69 season, only to be swept by the Bruins. Immediately after, Stafford confronted Imlach and fired him. The firing wasn't without controversy, with some older players, including Horton, declaring that, "if this team doesn't want Imlach, I guess it doesn't want me."
The Maple Leafs completed the 1969–70 season out of the playoffs. With their low finish, the Leafs were able to draft Darryl Sittler at the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. The Maple Leafs returned to the playoffs following the 1970–71 season with the addition of Sittler, as well as Bernie Parent and Jacques Plante, who were both acquired through trades during the season. The Maple Leafs were eliminated in the first round against the Rangers.
The Ballard years (1971–1990)
A series of events in 1971 made Ballard the primary owner of the Maple Leafs. After a series of disputes between Bassett, and Ballard and Stafford Smythe, Bassett sold his stake in the company to Ballard and Smythe. Shortly afterwards, Smythe passed away on October 1971. Under the terms of Stafford's will, of which Ballard was an executor, each partner was allowed to buy the other's shares upon their death. Stafford's brother and son tried to keep the shares within the family, but in February 1972 Ballard bought all of Stafford's shares for $7.5 million, valuing the company at $22 million. Six months later after Smythe's death, Ballard was convicted of charges including fraud, and theft of money, and goods, spending a year at Milhaven Penitentiary.
By the end of 1971, the World Hockey Association (WHA) began operations as a direct competitor to the NHL. Believing the WHA would not be able to compete against the NHL, Ballard attitude allowed the Maple Leafs to lose key players, including Parent to the upstart WHA. Undermanned and demoralized, the Maple Leafs finished with the fourth-worst record for the 1972–73 season, and the fourth overall pick in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft. The Maple Leafs drafted Lanny McDonald with the fourth overall pick. General manager Jim Gregory also acquired the 10th overall pick from the Philadelphia Flyers, and the 15th overall pick from the Bruins, using those two picks to acquire Bob Neely and Ian Turnbull respectively. In addition to these first round picks, the Maple Leafs also acquired Börje Salming during the 1973 off-season.
Despite acquiring Tiger Williams in the 1974 draft, and Roger Neilson as head coach in the 1977–78 season, the Maple Leafs found themselves eliminated in the playoffs by a stronger Flyers or Canadiens teams from 1975 to 1979. Although Neilson was a popular coach amongst fans and his players, he found himself at odds with Ballard, who fired Neilson late in the 1977–78 season. Nielson was later reinstated after appeals from the players and public. Nielson, as well as Gregory, was fired following the 1979 playoffs, replacing Gregory with Imlach.
Within his first year of his second stint as general manager, Imlach became embroiled in a dispute with Maple Leafs captain Sittler over Sittler's attempt to participate in the Showdown series for Hockey Night in Canada. In a move to undermine Sittler's influence on the team, Imlach traded McDonald, who was also a friend of Sittler. By the end of the 1979–80 season, Imlach had traded away nearly half of the roster he started his tenure with. With the situation between Ballard and Sittler worsening, Sittler requested that he was traded to a different team. Forcing the Maple Leafs hand, the Leafs' new general manager, Gerry McNamara, traded Sittler to the Flyers on 20 January 1982. Rick Vaive was named the captain of the team shortly after Sittler's departure.
The Maple Leafs general manager position continued in disarray throughout most of the decade, with an inexperienced McNamara named as Imlach's replacement in September 1981. McNamara's tenure was followed by Gord Stellick on 28 April 1988, who was reaplced by Floyd Smith on 15 August 1989. Coaching was similarly shuffled frequently since Nielson's departure. Imlach’s first choice for coach was his former player Smith, although he did not finish the 1979–80 season, hospitalized by a car accident on 14 March 1980. Joe Crozier was named the new head coach until 10 January 1981 when he was succeeded by Mike Nykoluk. Nykoluk was head coach until 2 April 1984. Dan Maloney returned as head coach from 1984 to 1986, with John Brophy named head coach from 1986 to 1988. Both coaches experienced little success during these tenures. Doug Carpenter was named the new head coach to begin the 1989–90 season, where the Maple Leafs posted their first season above .500 in the decade.
The Maple Leafs did not experience much success during the decade, entirely missing the playoffs in 1982, 1984 and 1985. However, the low finishes allowed them to draft Wendel Clark first overall at the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Clark managed to lead the Maple Leafs to the playoffs from 1986 to 1988, as well as the 1990 playoffs, although they were always eliminated in the first round. Ballard passed away at the end of the decade, on 11 April 1990.
Don Crump, Don Giffin, and Steve Stavro were named executors of Ballard's estate. Stavro succeeded Ballard as chairman of Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. and governor of the Maple Leafs. Cliff Fletcher was hired by Giffin to be the Maple Leafs new general manager, although this was opposed by Stavro, who told Fletcher that he wanted to install his own man. Fletcher immediately set about building a competitive club, making a series of trades and free agent acquisitions which turned the Leafs into a contender, hiring Pat Burns as the new Maple Leafs coach, and acquiring Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk through a series of trades. Assisted by stellar goaltending from minor league call-up Felix Potvin, the team post a then-franchise-record 99 points, and eighth-best overall record in the NHL.
Toronto dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the first round, then defeated the St. Louis Blues in another seven games in the Division Finals. Hoping to meet long-time rival Montreal (who was playing in the Wales Conference Finals against the New York Islanders) in the Cup Finals, the Leafs faced the Los Angeles Kings in the Campbell Conference Finals. The Leafs led the series 3–2, but dropped Game six in Los Angeles. The game was not without controversy, as Wayne Gretzky clipped Gilmour in the face with his stick, but referee Kerry Fraser did not call a penalty and Gretzky scored the winning goal moments later. The Leafs eventually lost in game seven 5–4.
The Leafs had another strong season in 1993–94, starting the season on a 10 game winning streak, and finishing it with 98 points. The Maple Leafs made it to the Conference Finals again, only to be eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in five games. At the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, the Maple Leafs packaged Clark in a multi-player trade with the Quebec Nordiques that landed them Mats Sundin.
New home and a new millennium
Larry Tanenbaum bought a stake in Maple Leafs Gardens Limited in 1996, becoming partners with Stavro, and was active in the company's acquisition of the National Basketball League's new Toronto Raptors franchise, as well as their arena, the Air Canada Centre. With the acquisition, the company was renamed to Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), acting as the parent company of the two teams. MLSE has since expanded, adding the Toronto Marlies (the Leafs' farm team) of the American Hockey League (AHL), Raptors 905 (the Raptors farm team) of the NBA Gatorade League and the Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) to its list of sport franchises.
Missing the playoffs following the 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons, the Maple Leafs relieved Fletcher as general manager. Curtis Joseph was acquired to be the new starting goaltender, while Pat Quinn was hired as the new head coach prior to the 1998–99 season. The Leafs were also moved from the Western to the Eastern Conference as part of a League realignment. On 13 February 1999, the Maple Leafs played their final game at the Gardens before they moved to their new home, the Air Canada Centre. During the 1999 playoffs, the team advance to the Conference Finals, but lost in five games to the Buffalo Sabres.
In the 1999–2000 season, the Leafs hosted the 50th NHL All-Star Game. The Leafs recorded their first 100-point season and captured their first division title in 37 years following the end of that season. In both of the 2000 and 2001 playoffs, the Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators in the first round and lost to the New Jersey Devils in the second round. In 2002, the Leafs dispatched the Islanders and their as the Senators, in the first two rounds, only to lose to the Cinderella-story Carolina Hurricanes in the Conference Finals. The 2002 season was particularly impressive in that injuries sidelined many of their better players, but the efforts of lesser-known players, mainly Gary Roberts and Alyn McCauley, led them to the Conference Finals.
Joseph left the team following the 2002 playoffs, although the Maple Leafs found a replacement goaltender, signing free agent Ed Belfour. Belfour played well during the 2002–03 season and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. The Leafs lost to Philadelphia in seven games during the first round of the 2003 playoffs. In 2003, an ownership change occured in MLSE, as Stavro sold his controlling interest in MLSE to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and resigned his position as chairman in favour of Larry Tanenbaum. Quinn remained as head coach but was replaced as general manager by a young John Ferguson Jr.
Prior to the 2003–04 season, the team held their training camp in Sweden and played in the NHL Challenge against teams from Sweden and Finland. The Leafs went on to enjoy a very successful regular season, leading the NHL at the time of the All-Star Game (with Quinn named head coach of the East's All-Star Team) and eventually posting a franchise-record 103 points. They finished with the fourth-best record in the League, their highest overall finish in 41 years, achieving a .628 win percentage, their best in 43 years and third-best in franchise history. In the 2004 playoffs, the Leafs defeated the Senators in the first round of the post-season for the fourth time in five years, with Belfour posting three shutouts (setting the record for the most shutouts in a single playoff series) in seven games, but lost to the Flyers in six games during the second round.
Post-lockout era and playoff drought (2005–2014)
Following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the Maple Leafs experienced its longest playoff drought in the club's history. They struggled in 2005–06, and despite a late-season surge (9–1–2 in their final 12 games), led by third-string goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Toronto was out of playoff contention for the first time since 1998. This marked the first time that the team had missed under Quinn, who was subsequently relieved as head coach. Quinn's dismissal was controversial, since many of the young players that were key contributors to the Leaf's late-season run were drafted by Quinn prior to Ferguson's arrival, all while Ferguson's signings (Eric Lindros, Jason Allison, Alexander Khavanov and Belfour) had suffered season-ending injuries.
Paul Maurice, who previously coached the Leafs' farm team's, the Toronto Marlies, inaugural season, was announced as Quinn's replacement. On 30 June 2006, the Maple Leafs bought-out the contract of long-time fan favourite Tie Domi. In addition to Domi, the Maple Leafs also decided against picking up the option year on the contract of goaltender Belfour, becoming a free agent. However, despite the coaching change, as well as a shuffle in the roster, the team did not make the playoffs in 2006–07. During the following 2007–08 season, on January 2008, Ferguson, Jr. was fired and replaced by former Leafs general manager Fletcher on an interim basis. The Leafs again failed to qualify for the post-season, the first time they failed to make the playoffs for three seasons since the 1928 season. It was also Sundin's last year with the Leafs, as his contract was due to expire at the end of the season; he refused, however, Leaf management's request to waive his no-trade clause in order for the team to rebuild by acquiring prospects and/or draft picks. Following the 2007–08 season, on 7 May 2008, the Leafs fired Maurice, as well as assistant coach Randy Ladouceur, naming Ron Wilson as the new head coach and Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler as assistant coaches.
On 29 November 2008, the Maple Leafs hired Brian Burke as their 13th non-interim, and the first American general manager in team history. The acquisition ended the second Cliff Fletcher era and settled persistent rumours that Burke was coming to Toronto. On 26 June 2009, Burke made his first appearance as the Leafs GM at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, selecting London Knights forward Nazem Kadri with the seventh overall pick. On September 18, 2009, Burke traded Toronto's first- and second-round 2010, as well as its 2011 first-rounder, to the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Phil Kessel. On January 31, 2010, the Maple Leafs made another high-profile trade, this time with the Calgary Flames in a seven-player deal that brought defenceman Dion Phaneuf to Toronto. On June 14, during the season's subsequent off-season, the Maple Leafs then named Phaneuf as captain after two seasons without a captain following Sundin's departure. On February 18, 2011, the Leafs sent long-time Maple Leaf Tomas Kaberle to the Bruins in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston's first-round pick in 2011 and a conditional second-round draft choice.
On 2 March 2012, Burke fired Wilson and named Randy Carlyle the new head coach. The termination proved to be controversial, however, as Wilson had received a contract extension just two months prior to being let go. On January 9, 2013, Burke himself was fired as general manager, replaced by Dave Nonis. In their first full season under the leadership of Carlyle, Toronto managed to secure a playoff berth in the shortened 2012–13 season for the first time in eight years. The Leafs, however, lost in seven games to eventual 2013 Stanley Cup finalists Boston in the first round. Despite the season's success, it was not repeated during the 2013–14 season, as the Leafs failed to make the playoffs.
Brendan Shanahan era (2014–present)
Shortly after the end of the 2013–14 regular season, NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan was named as the president and an alternate governor of the Maple Leafs. On January 6, 2015, the Maple Leafs fired Carlyle as head coach, with Assistant Coach Peter Horachek taking over on an interim basis immediately after the firing. While the Maple Leafs had a winning record before Carlyle's firing, the team eventually collapsed. On February 6, 2015, the Leafs set a new franchise record of 11 consecutive games without a win. Both Dave Nonis and Horachek were relieved of their duties on April 12, just one day after the season concluded. In addition, the Maple Leafs also fired a number of assistant coaches, including Steve Spott, Rick St. Croix; as well of individuals from the Maple Leafs' player scouting department.
On May 20, 2015, Mike Babcock was named as the new head coach, and on June 23, Lou Lamoriello was named the 16th GM in team history. On 1 July 2015, in a trade involving multiple players, the Leafs sent Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, a conditional first round pick, and a third round pick. Toronto also retained $1.2 million of Kessel's salary for the remaining seven seasons his contract is active. During the following season, on 9 February 2016, the Leafs packaged captain Dion Phaneuf in another multi-player deal, acquiring Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg, and a 2017 2nd-round pick from the Senators. The Maple Leafs finished last in the NHL for the first time since the 1984–85 season and secured a 20 percent chance at winning the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. They were also guaranteed to pick no lower than fourth. They subsequently won the draft lottery and used the first overall pick to draft Auston Matthews. In their second season under coach Mike Babcock, Toronto secured a spot for the 2017 playoffs.
On April 23, 2017, the Maple Leafs were defeated by the top-seeded Washington Capitals 2–1 in the sixth game of the conference quarterfinals on a goal six and a half minutes into the first overtime scored by the Caps' Marcus Johansson. This ended the Leafs' improbable playoff run.
Maple Leafs home games have long been one of the toughest tickets to acquire even during losing seasons. Maple Leaf Gardens sold out every game from 1946 until the building closed in 1999. In 2008, there was a waiting list of about 2,500 names for season tickets. With an average of US$1.9 million per game, the Leafs had the highest average ticket revenue per game in the 2007–08 season; the previous season they earned about $1.5 million per game.
Maple Leaf fans are loyal despite poor rewards—in a 2014 survey by ESPN The Magazine, the Leafs were ranked last out of the 122 professional teams in the Big Four leagues. Teams were graded by stadium experience, ownership, player quality, ticket affordability, championships won and "bang for the buck"; in particular, the Leafs came last in ticket affordability and second-last in championships won or expected. Conversely, fans of other teams harbour an equally passionate dislike of the team. In November 2002, the Leafs were named by Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber as the "Most Hated Team in Hockey."
A large number of Leaf fans live in the Ottawa Valley and in the Niagara region. As a result, Leafs-Senators games at the Canadian Tire Centre (formerly the Scotiabank Place and originally the Corel Centre) in Ottawa and Leafs-Sabres games at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo are more neutral (50–50) due to the large influx of Leaf fans, due in part to those cities' proximity to Toronto and the relatively greater ease in getting tickets to those teams' games (particularly in Buffalo, where fan-friendly ownership kept ticket prices relatively low).
Despite Toronto's usual loyal fan base, however, there were several occurrences in the 2014–15 season where fans threw Leafs jerseys onto the ice to show disapproval of the team's poor performances in the past few decades. Similarly, during the late-regular season that overlaps with the opening Major League Baseball (MLB) season and the success of MLB's Toronto Blue Jays, fans have also been heard sarcastically chanting "Let's go Blue Jays!" as a sign of their shift in priority, especially since the start of the 2016 Blue Jays season.
During the 25 years of the Original Six era, teams played each other 14 times during the regular season, and with only four teams continuing into the playoffs, rivalries were intense. As one of this era's most successful teams, the Maple Leafs established historic rivalries with the two other most successful teams of the time, the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.
Toronto's rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens has been called hockey's greatest. The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, while the Maple Leafs have won 13, ranking them first and second, respectively. While the rivalry began during the NHL's first season, it began in earnest when Toronto General Manager Frank J. Selke left his position in 1946 due to a dispute with Conn Smythe to become Montreal's general manager, eventually leading the Canadiens to six Cups. As of 2016, the two teams had faced each other 15 times in the playoffs, six in the Finals; Toronto has won four. Although the rivalry declined after Toronto defeated Montreal in the 1967 Final, it re-emerged in 2007. With one game left in the season, Toronto trailed Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by only one point. Down 5–3 in the second period, the Leafs won 6–5, preventing Montreal from taking the spot which enabled the New York Islanders to steal the position.
The rivalry from the perspective of the Canadiens fan is perhaps most famously captured in the popular Canadian short story "The Hockey Sweater" by Roch Carrier. Originally published in French as "Une abominable feuille d'érable sur la glace" ("An abominable maple leaf on the ice"), it referred to the Maple Leafs sweater a mother forced her son to wear. The son is presumably based on Carrier himself when he was young. This rivalry is also evident in Toronto's College subway station on Line 1, which displays murals depicting the two teams, each one on each platform.
Detroit Red Wings
While the Toronto–Montreal rivalry is one of the most famous in sport, the rivalry with the Red Wings was no less intense. This rivalry dates to the 1920s. As of 2016, they had had 23 playoff meetings, seven in the Finals. So fierce was the rivalry that when the New York Rangers reached the Finals against Detroit in 1950, but could not play in their home rink, Madison Square Garden, because the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were in town, they arranged to play home games in Toronto, whose fans hated the Red Wings. The rivalry heightened to a fever pitch due to an incident in the 1950 playoffs when Detroit's young star, Gordie Howe, mistimed a check on Toronto's Ted Kennedy and fell head-first into the boards, suffering severe injuries and needed emergency surgery to save his life. While Kennedy was exonerated by the NHL, Detroit management and fans accused him of deliberately injuring Howe. The result was a violent playoff series and increased animosity between the teams. The teams' proximity to each other — Toronto and Detroit are approximately 380 kilometres (240 mi) apart via Ontario Highway 401 — and a number of shared fans (particularly in markets such as Windsor, Ontario) added to the rivalry. After the Leafs moved to the Eastern Conference in 1998, they faced each other less often, and the rivalry was more often found in the stands than on the ice.
The rivalry became intradivisional once again in the 2013–14 season, when Detroit was moved to the newly formed Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference as part of a realignment. That year, the Leafs played the Red Wings in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, winning 3–2 in a shootout in front of an NHL record crowd of 105,491. The two teams played another outdoor game, the NHL Centennial Classic, on January 1, 2017 at BMO Field in Toronto, winning 5-4 in overtime.
The rivalry between the Leafs and the modern Ottawa Senators, known as the Battle of Ontario, heated up during the late 1990s, owing to the Canadiens' struggles during that period. The Leafs have won all four post-season series, including one four-game sweep. The rivalry diminished after the 2004–05 lockout, owing largely to Toronto's failure to make the post-season for seven straight seasons.
Logo, uniform and mascot
The jersey of the Maple Leafs has a long history and is one of the best-selling NHL jerseys among fans. Throughout franchise history, Toronto's uniform has had four major incarnations and numerous minor alterations.
The original 1917 blue uniforms featured the letter "T" sometimes on a blue shield. The second version came in 1919 when they were renamed the St. Pats and wore green uniforms with "Toronto St. Pats" on the logo, lettered in green either on a white "pill" shape or stripes.
The third major change was for the 1927–28 season when the team's name changed to the Maple Leafs, gaining a new logo and returning to the blue uniform. The logo was a 47-point maple leaf with "Toronto Maple Leafs" lettered in white. The home jersey was blue with alternating thin-thick stripes on the arms, legs and shoulders. The road uniform was white with three stripes on the chest and back, waist and legs. For 1933–34, the alternating thin-thick stripes were replaced with stripes of equal thickness. This remained as the basic design for the next 40 years.
Before the next major change came several minor changes. In 1937, veins were added to the leaf and "Toronto" curved downwards at the ends instead of upwards. In 1942, the 35-point leaf was introduced. In 1946, the logo added trimming to the Leaf with a white or blue border, while "C" for captain and "A" for alternate captain first appeared on the sweaters. In 1947, the "Toronto Maple Leafs" lettering was in red for a short time. In 1958, a six-eyelet lace and tie was added to the neck and a blue shoulder yoke was added. In 1961, player numbers added appeared on the sleeves.
The fourth major change came in the 1966–67 season. The leaf was changed to a blue 11-point leaf, similar to the leaf on the then-new flag of Canada to commemorate the Canadian Centennial. This was followed by many minor changes. In 1970, the League required home teams to wear white jerseys. Other changes to the sweater removed the arm stripes, extended the yoke to the end of the sleeves, added a solid stripe on the waist, three stripes on the stockings and a miniature Leaf crest added to shoulders. On the logo, the lettering "Toronto" was no longer curved, but parallel to the "Maple Leafs" lettering. The thin, blue 11-point maple leaf had rounded corners.
In 1973, the jersey's neck was a lace tie-down design, and in 1976, the V-neck returned. In 1977, player names were added to the away jerseys and in 1979 to the home jerseys, but not until after the Leafs were fined by the NHL for refusing to comply with a new rule requiring player names on the jerseys.
Since the early 1990s, fans showed interest in past jersey designs. For the 1991–92 season, the Leafs wore uniforms that were styled after the "original six" era for some games, while for the 1992–93 season, due to enthusiastic fan reaction for the previous season's classic uniforms, the first changes to the Leaf uniform in over twenty years were made. Two stripes on the arms and waist were added. A "TML" logo was added to the shoulder. During the late 1990s, the lettering and numbers were taken from the font on the Maple Leafs logo, but they gradually returned to block lettering, which they fully integrated in the 2010–11 season. When the Reebok Edge uniform system was introduced in the 2007–08 season, the tail stripes were absent from the change, but returned three years later. In addition, the veined leaf logo returned to the uniforms.
On February 2, 2016, the team unveiled a new logo that will be adopted for 2016–17 season in honour of its centennial; it returns the logo to a form inspired by the earlier designs, with 31 points to allude to the 1931 opening of Maple Leaf Gardens, and 17 veins in reference of its 1917 establishment. 13 of the veins are positioned along the top portion in honour of its 13 Stanley Cup victories. The logo was subsequently accompanied by a new uniform design that was unveiled during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on June 24, 2016.
The team mascot is Carlton the Bear, an anthropomorphic polar bear whose name and number (#60) comes from the location of Maple Leaf Gardens at 60 Carlton Street, where they played throughout much of their history.
The Maple Leafs is one of six professional sports teams owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Initially, the club was owned by the Arena Gardens of Toronto, Limited, an ownership group that owned Mutual Street Arena. Fronted by Henry Pellatt, the company owned the franchise for two years, until a lawsuit from former Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone forced the company to sell to Charles Querrie, owner of the amateur St. Patricks club. Querrie owned the club until 1927, after another lawsuit from Livingstone forced him to put the club up for sale. Toronto Varsity Blues coach Conn Smythe put together an ownership group and purchased the franchise for $160,000. In 1929, Smythe decided, in the midst of the Great Depression, that the Maple Leafs needed a new arena. In order to finance the new arena, Smythe launched Maple Leaf Gardens Limited, a publicly traded management company to own both the Maple Leafs and the new arena, which was named Maple Leaf Gardens. Smythe transferred his ownership of the Leafs to the company in exchange for shares in MLGL, and sold shares in the holding company to the public to help fund construction of the arena.
Although Smythe was the face of MLGL from its founding, he did not gain principal ownership of the company until 1947. Smythe remained the principal owner of the company until 1961, when he sold 90 percent of his shares to an ownership group consisting of Harold Ballard, John Bassett, and Stafford Smythe. The company remained a publicly traded company until 1998, when an ownership group fronted by Steve Stavro privatized the company by acquiring more than the 90 percent of stock necessary to force objecting shareholders out.
The present ownership structure emerged in 2012, after the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (the company's former principal owner) announced the sale of its entire stake in MLSE to a partnership between Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, in a deal valued at $1.32 billion, giving the company an equity value of $1.66 billion and an enterprise value of $2 billion. As part of the sale, two numbered companies were created to jointly hold stock. This ownership structure ensures that, at the shareholder level, Rogers and Bell vote their overall 75% interest in the company together and thus decisions on the management of the company must be made by consensus of the two. The remaining 25 percent is owned by Larry Tanenbaum, who is also the Chairman of MLSE. Bell's pension fund is involved in Bell's ownership stake, at least in part, intended to ensure they can retain its existing 18 percent interest in the Montreal Canadiens, as NHL rules prevent any shareholder that owns more than 30 percent of a team from holding an ownership position in any other team.
While initially primarily a hockey company, with ownership stakes in a number of junior hockey clubs including the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association, the company later branched out to own the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL from the late 1970s to late 1980s, before merging with the Toronto Raptors, who were constructing the Air Canada Centre at the time, and adopting their current name (MLSE) in 1998. The company was most recently granted an expansion franchise in Major League Soccer, with the Toronto FC beginning play in 2007. In addition to professional sports, the company is also invested in commercial real estate.
|Ownership structure of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment|
As a result of both Bell Canada and Rogers Communications having an ownership stake in MLSE, Maple Leafs broadcasts are split between these two media companies. Due to this arrangement, regional TV broadcasts are split between Rogers' Sportsnet Ontario and Bell's TSN4. Colour commentary for Rogers' television broadcasts is performed by Jamie McLennan and Ray Ferraro, while play-by-play is provided by Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller. Colour commentary for Bell's television broadcasts is performed by Greg Millen and Harry Neale, while play-by-play is provided by Dave Randorf and Paul Romanuk. Prior to the 2014–15 season, Leafs TV, a regional speciality channel directly owned by MLSE, also aired selected regional games.
Like the Maple Leafs television broadcasts, radio broadcasts are split evenly between Rogers' CJCL (Sportsnet 590, The Fan) and Bell's CHUM (TSN Radio 1050). Both Bell and Rogers' radio broadcasts have their colour commentary provided by Jim Ralph, with play-by-play provided by Joe Bowen. Foster Hewitt was the Leafs' first play-by-play broadcaster, providing radio play-by-play from 1927 to 1968. In addition, he provided play-by-play for television from 1952 to 1958, and colour commentary from 1958 to 1961. Originally aired over CNR Radio, Hewitt's broadcast was picked up by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (the CRBC) in 1933. After three years, the broadcast was moved to CBC Radio (the CRBC's successor). As the show was aired on Canadian national radio, Hewitt became famous for the phrase "He shoots, he scores!" as well as his sign-on at the beginning of each broadcast, "Hello, Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland."
Home arenas and practice facilities
The team's first home was the Arena Gardens, later known as the Mutual Street Arena, located at Mutual and Shuter Streets. From 1912 until 1931, the Arena was ice hockey's premier site in Toronto. The Arena Gardens was the third arena in Canada to feature a mechanically-frozen, or "artificial," ice surface and for 11 years was the only such facility in Eastern Canada. In 1923, it was the site of the first radio broadcast of an ice hockey game, and the first broadcast of an ice hockey game by long-time broadcaster Foster Hewitt. The Arena was demolished in 1989, with most of the site converted to residential developments. Some parts of the site was made into a city park, known as Arena Gardens.
In 1931, over a six-month period, Conn Smythe built Maple Leaf Gardens at a cost of C$1.5 million (C$23.2 million in 2017). One of hockey's temples, it was the home arena for the team up until 1999. Located on the north-west corner of Carlton Street and Church Street, it acquired the nickname the "Carlton Street Cashbox," since the games were constantly sold out. The Leafs won 11 Stanley Cups from 1932 to 1967 whilst playing at the Gardens. Another significant hockey event at the Gardens was an Ace Bailey All-Star Game in 1934 as a benefit for Maple Leafs forward Ace Bailey, who had suffered a career-ending head injury. The first annual NHL All-Star Game was also held at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1947. The Gardens opened on November 12, 1931, with the Maple Leafs losing 2–1 to the Chicago Blackhawks. On February 13, 1999, the Maple Leafs played their last game at the Gardens, suffering a 6–2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Maple Leaf Gardens is presently a used as a multi-purpose facilty, with Loblaws occupying retail space on the lower floors, and an athletics arena for Ryerson University, occupying another level.
The Maple Leafs moved from the Gardens on February 20, 1999, to their current home arena, the Air Canada Centre. Air Canada Centre is a multi-purpose indoor entertainment arena located on Bay Street in Downtown Toronto. It is shared with the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Toronto Raptors, which shares common ownership with the Maple Leafs under Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. It is also shared with the Toronto Rock. In addition to the main arena, the Maple Leafs alao operate a practice facility at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence. Opened in 2009, it was built on the site of the former Lakeshore Lions Arena (circa 1951). The practice facility has three NHL rinks and one Olympic-sized rink and is operated by City of Toronto.
|2012–13||48||26||17||5||57||145||133||3rd, Northeast||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Bruins)|
|2013–14||82||38||36||8||84||231||256||6th, Atlantic||Did not qualify|
|2014–15||82||30||44||8||68||211||262||7th, Atlantic||Did not qualify|
|2015–16||82||29||42||11||69||198||246||8th, Atlantic||Did not qualify|
|2016–17||82||40||27||15||95||251||242||4th, Atlantic||Lost in First Round, 2–4 (Capitals)|
Players and personnel
There has been twenty-one team captains throughout the Arenas, St, Patricks, and Maple Leafs history. Ken Randall served as the team's first captain in the inaugural 1917–18 NHL season. However, from 1918 to 1925, no player had held the captaincy for more than one season, with the captaincy left vacant for five out of seven years. John Ross Roach served as captain for the 1924–25 NHL season. Roach was the only goaltender to serve as the Maple Leafs' captain, and one of only six goalies in the NHL's history to officially captain a team. The first captain to have served the position for multiple seasons was Bert Corbeau, serving as captain from 1925 to 1927. Named captain in 1956, Jimmy Thomson was the first non-Ontarian born captain in Maple Leaf history. In 1997, Mats Sundin became the first non-Canadian to captain the Maple Leafs. Sundin's tenure as captain holds the distinction as the longest captaincy for a non-North American born player in NHL history. George Armstrong, captain from 1958 through 1969, was the longest serving captain in Maple Leafs history. The last player that was named to the position was Dion Phaneuf on 14 June 2010 until a trade moved him to the Ottawa Senators on 9 February 2016.
Three captains of the Maple Leafs have held the captaincy at different points in their career. Syl Apps' first tenure as the captain began from 1940 to 1943, before he stepped down and left the club to enlist in the Canadian Army. Bob Davidson served as the Maple Leafs captain until Apps' return from the Army in 1945; where he resuming his captaincy until 1948. Ted Kennedy's first tenure as captain was from 1948 to 1955. Kennedy announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the 1954–55 season, with Sid Smith suceeding him as captain. Although Kennedy missed the entire 1955–56 season, he came out of retirement to play the second half of the 1956–57 season. During that half season, Kennedy served his second tenure as the Maple Leafs captain. Darryl Sittler was the third captain to have been named the Maple Leafs captain twice. As a result of a dispute between Sittler, and the Maple Leafs general manager Punch Imlach, Sittler relinquished the captaincy on 29 December 1979. The dispute was resolved in the following off-season, after a heart attack hospitalized Imlach. Sittler arranged talks with Ballard in an effort to resolve the issue, eventually resuming his captaincy on 24 September 1980. No replacement captain was named during the interim period.
There have been 39 head coaches for the Maple Leafs (including four interim coaches). Ten head coaches had spent their entire head coaching career with the club. The franchise's first head coach was Dick Carroll, who coached the Maple Leafs for two seasons. Punch Imlach coached the most games of any Leafs head coach with 750 games, and has the most points all-time with the Maple Leafs, with 865. He is followed by Pat Quinn, who has coached 574 games, with 678 points all-time with the Maple Leafs. Quinn also has the most points in a season of any Maple Leafs coach, with 103 in the 2002–03 season. Five Maple Leafs coaches have been inducted at the Hockey Hall of Fame as players, while four others were inducted as builders. Pat Burns is the only Leafs head coaches to win a Jack Adams Award with the team. Both Mike Rodden and Dick Duff, has the least points with the Maple Leafs, with 0. Both coaches were interim coaches who only coached two games each in 1927 and 1980 respectively, losing both games. King Clancy served the most terms as head coach of the Maple Leafs with three while Charles Querrie and Punch Imlach served two. On the 20 May 2015, Mike Babcock was announced as the coach of the Maple Leafs, signing an eight-year $50-million contract, and becoming the highest paid NHL coach in history.
The Maple Leafs selected Walt McKechnie, a centre from the London Nationals with their first pick, sixth overall in the 1963 NHL Amateur Draft. Two Maple Leafs captains were obtained through the draft, Darryl Sittler in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft; as well as Wendel Clark in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. The Maple Leafs have had 11 top-five draft picks since the draft's inception in 1963. Two of these picks were the first overall draft pick; used to draft Clark in 1985, and Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Gerry O'Flaherty, left wing of the Kitchener Rangers, was the first player drafted by the Maple Leafs to have not been born in Canada. Selected 36th overall in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, O'Flaherty was a dual American-Canadian citizen (born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) who moved to Toronto during his childhood. Twenty-three players that were born in Ontario have been selected by the Maple Leafs in the first round of a draft. Eleven of those players selected in the first round were born within the Greater Toronto Area including John Wright, John Anderson, Rob Pearson, Steve Bancroft, Drake Berehowsky, Grant Marshall, Jeff Ware, Brad Boyes, Carlo Colaiacovo, Stuart Percy, and Mitchell Marner. Timothy Liljegren was the most recent player selected by the Maple Leafs in the first round, using the seventeenth overall pick at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Team and league honours
The Maple Leafs have retired the numbers of 19 players (as some players used the same number, only 13 numbers were retired). Between October 17, 1992 and October 15, 2016, the Maple Leafs took a unique approach to "retired numbers". Whereas players who suffered a career ending injury had their numbers retired, "great" players had their number "honoured". This meant that, although it hung from the rafters, the number was still in team circulation, and thus could be worn by other players. During this period, only 2 players met the criteria, the first being the #6 worn by Ace Bailey on February 14, 1934, with Bill Barilko's #5 following on October 17, 1992. The retirement of Bailey's number holds the distinction of being the first retired number in professional sports. The first players to receive their numbers honoured were Syl Apps and Ted Kennedy, on October 3, 1993, while Mats Sundin was the last player to receive this treatment on February 11, 2012.
On October 15, 2016, prior to the home opening game of the team's centenary season, the Maple Leafs announced they had changed their philosophy on retiring numbers, and that the numbers of those 16 honoured players would henceforth be retired, in addition to the retirement of Dave Keon's number.
|Player elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame|
|Number retired for multiple players|
|Number was not honoured before being retired|
|No.||Player||Position||Tenure||Date of honour||Date of retirement|
|1||Turk Broda||G||1935–1943, 1946–1951[Notes 1]||March 11, 1995||October 15, 2016|
|1||Johnny Bower||G||1958–1969||March 11, 1995||October 15, 2016|
|4||Hap Day||D||1924–1937||October 4, 2006||October 15, 2016|
|4||Red Kelly||C||1960–1967||October 4, 2006||October 15, 2016|
|5||Bill Barilko||D||1945–1951||Not honoured||October 17, 1992|
|6||Ace Bailey||RW||1926–1933||Not honoured||February 14, 1934|
|7||King Clancy||D||1930–1937||November 21, 1995||October 15, 2016|
|7||Tim Horton||D||1949–1970||November 21, 1995||October 15, 2016|
|9||Charlie Conacher||RW||1929–1938||February 28, 1998||October 15, 2016|
|9||Ted Kennedy||C||1942–1955, 1956–1957[Notes 2]||October 3, 1993||October 15, 2016|
|10||Syl Apps||C||1936–1943, 1945–1948[Notes 1]||October 3, 1993||October 15, 2016|
|10||George Armstrong||RW||1949–1971||February 28, 1998||October 15, 2016|
|13||Mats Sundin||C||1994–2008||February 11, 2012||October 15, 2016|
|14||Dave Keon||C||1960–1975||Not honoured||October 15, 2016|
|17||Wendel Clark||LW||1985–1994, 1996–1998, 2000||November 22, 2008||October 15, 2016|
|21||Borje Salming||D||1973–1989||October 4, 2006||October 15, 2016|
|27||Frank Mahovlich||LW||1956–1968||October 3, 2001||October 15, 2016|
|27||Darryl Sittler||C||1970–1982||February 8, 2003||October 15, 2016|
|93||Doug Gilmour||C||1992–1997||January 31, 2009||October 15, 2016|
- Apps and Broda played their entire careers with the Maple Leafs, however, both players left the team for several years, serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during Second World War.
- Kennedy played his entire career with the Maple Leafs, however, announced his first retirement in 1955, before returning to play half of the 1956–57 season.
Hall of Famers
The following members of the Toronto Maple Leafs have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The list includes anyone who played for the Leafs who was later inducted as a player. The list of builders includes anyone inducted as a builder who spent any part of their career in a coaching, management or ownership role with the Maple Leafs.
|Jack Adams||C||1922–1926||1959||Syd Howe||LW||1931–1932||1965|
|Glenn Anderson||RW||1991–1994||2008||Busher Jackson||LW||1929–1939||1971|
|George Armstrong||RW||1950–1971||1975||Ted Kennedy||C||1943–1957||1966|
|Ace Bailey||RW||1926–1933||1978||Dave Keon||C||1960–1975||1986|
|Ed Belfour||G||2002–2006||2011||Brian Leetch||D||2004||2009|
|Andy Bathgate||RW||1963–1965||1978||Eric Lindros||C||2005–2006||2016|
|Max Bentley||C||1947–1953||1966||Harry Lumley||G||1952–1956||1980|
|Leo Boivin||D||1951–1955||1986||Frank Mahovlich||LW||1957–1968||1981|
|Johnny Bower||G||1958–1970||1976||Lanny McDonald||RW||1973–1979||1992|
|Harry Cameron||D||1917–1923||1962||Larry Murphy||D||1995–1997||2004|
|Gerry Cheevers||G||1961–1962||1985||Joe Nieuwendyk||C||2003–2004||2011|
|King Clancy||D||1930–1936||1958||Frank Nighbor||C||1929–1930||1947|
|Sprague Cleghorn||D||1920–1921||1958||Reg Noble||C||1919–1924||1962|
|Charlie Conacher||RW||1929–1937||1961||Bert Olmstead||LW||1958–1962||1985|
|Rusty Crawford||LW||1917–1919||1962||Bernie Parent||G||1970–1972||1984|
|Hap Day||D||1924–1937||1961||Pierre Pilote||D||1968–1969||1975|
|Gordie Drillon||RW||1937–1942||1975||Jacques Plante||G||1970–1973||1978|
|Dick Duff||LW||1954–1964||2006||Babe Pratt||D||1942–1946||1966|
|Fernie Flaman||D||1950–1954||1990||Marcel Pronovost||D||1965–1970||1978|
|Ron Francis||C||2004||2007||Bob Pulford||:W||1956–1970||1991|
|Grant Fuhr||G||1991–1993||2003||Börje Salming||D||1973–1989||1996|
|Mike Gartner||RW||1994–1996||2001||Terry Sawchuk||G||1964–1967||1971|
|Eddie Gerard||D||1922||1945||Sweeney Schriner||LW||1939–1946||1962|
|George Hainsworth||G||1933–1937||1961||Allan Stanley||D||1958–1968||1981|
|Hap Holmes||G||1917–1919||1972||Mats Sundin||C||1994–2008||2012|
|Red Horner||D||1928–1940||1965||Norm Ullman||C||1968–1975||1982|
|Tim Horton||D||1928–1940||1965||Harry Watson||LW||1946–1955||1994|
|Builder||Year of induction||Role in organization|
|Al Arbour||1996||Played for Toronto from 1961 to 1966, inducted as a coach.|
|Harold Ballard||1977||Owner/executive/director from 1957 to 1989.|
|J. P. Bickell||1978||Shareholder/director from 1919 to 1951.|
|Pat Burns||2014||Coach from 1992 to 1996.|
|Cliff Fletcher||2004||President/general manager/executive from 1991 to 1997 and again from 2008 to 2009.|
|Jim Gregory||2007||General manager from 1969 to 1979.|
|Foster Hewitt||1965||Announcer from 1927 to 1963.|
|Punch Imlach||1984||Coach/general manager from 1958 to 1969 and again from 1979 to 1980.|
|Dick Irvin||1958||Coach from 1931 to 1940.|
|Lou Lamoriello||2009||General manager from 2015–present.|
|Frank Mathers||1992||Player/executive from 1948 to 1952.|
|Howie Meeker||1998||Player/coach/general manager/broadcaster from 1946 to 1957|
|Roger Neilson||2002||Coach from 1977 to 1979.|
|Bud Poile||1990||Coach from 1942 to 1948.|
|Pat Quinn||2016||Played for Toronto 1968–1970, coach/general manager from 1998 to 2006 and from 1999 to 2003.|
|Mike Rodden||1962||Coached for Toronto 1926–1927, inducted as a referee.|
|Frank J. Selke||1960||Executive from 1929 to 1946.|
|Conn Smythe||1958||Owner/executive/director from 1927 to 1966.|
|Carl Voss||1974||Player/executive from 1926 to 1929.|
Franchise career leaders
These are the top franchise leaders in regular season points, goals, assists, points per game, games played, and goaltending wins as of the end of the 2016–17 season.
- – current Maple Leafs player
|Turk Broda||1935–1943, 1946–1951||629||38,167||302||224||101||—||1,609||2.53||—||—||62|
|John Ross Roach||1921–1928||222||13,674||98||107||17||—||639||2.80||—||—||13|
Source: Toronto Maple Leafs Media Guide.
In popular culture
In 1946, the comedy team of Wayne and Shuster performed a sketch on their CBC radio program in which the imaginary hockey team, the Mimico Mice, competed against the Maple Leafs. Foster Hewitt did the play-by-play of the game, real Maple Leaf player names were used for the Leafs and Wayne and Shuster played the entire Mimico team. In 1949, Foster Hewitt wrote a juvenile hockey novel, He Shoots, he scores!, which featured the team, including actual managers and players.
In 1963, Scott Young wrote A Boy at the Leafs' Camp, a children's book giving a behind-the-scenes insight into the sport. In 1971, Young and George Robertson cowrote an adult hockey-romance novel, Face-off, about the experiences of a star rookie player, Billy Duke, with the Maple Leafs. The novel became a movie in 1971 with Art Hindle as Billy Duke. The film featured many of the players. Jim McKenny, body-doubled for Hindle for the on-ice action scenes due to a resemblance to Hindle. Owner Ballard had a part as the team doctor.
In 1979, Roch Carrier wrote the short story The Hockey Sweater about a young boy who was forced to wear the hated Maple Leafs sweater instead of his beloved Montreal Canadiens sweater by his mother, who had given it to him as a present. In 1980, the story was turned into an animated short by the National Film Board of Canada.
In 1992, Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip released the song "Fifty Mission Cap," which memorialized Bill Barilko. The 1993 film Gross Misconduct was about the life of former Maple Leaf Brian Spencer. Comedian Mike Myers, a fan, often included references and even an entire plot line in his films. In Austin Powers in Goldmember, the ticker below the news item on a television reads, "Maple Leafs win Stanley Cup." In another scene, the character Mini-Me wears a Maple Leaf sweater. Myers played a guru hired to help the Maple Leafs' star player in the 2008 movie The Love Guru. At the beginning of the 2010 spy film Fair Game, CIA agent Valerie Plame is being questioned by a suspicious weapons trafficker. He asks her if she is an American, and after responding that she is Canadian, he asks her about the Maple Leafs. She replies that she is not a fan.
Minor league affiliates
- Toronto Marlboros, OHA/Metro Jr. affiliate, 1927–1967.
- Toronto St. Michael's Majors, OHA/Metro Jr. affiliate, 1933–1961.
- Syracuse Stars, AHL farm team, 1936–1940.
- Pittsburgh Hornets, AHL farm team, 1940–1956.
- Rochester Americans, AHL farm team, 1956–1968.
- Denver Invaders, WHL farm team, 1963–1964.
- Victoria Maple Leafs, WHL farm team, 1964–1967.
- Tulsa Oilers, CPHL/CHL farm team, 1964–1973.
- Oklahoma City Blazers, CHL farm team, 1973–1976.
- Dallas Black Hawks, CHL farm team, 1976–1981.
- Cincinnati Tigers, CHL farm team, 1981–1982.
- St. Catharines Saints, AHL farm team, 1982–1986.
- Newmarket Saints, AHL farm team farm team, 1986–1991.
- St. John's Maple Leafs, AHL farm team, 1991–2005.
- Memphis RiverKings, CHL farm team, 2001–2006.
- Columbia Inferno, ECHL farm team, 2006–2008.
- Reading Royals, ECHL farm team, 2008–2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toronto Maple Leafs.|
- Toronto Blueshirts (1912–1917)
- List of Toronto Maple Leafs players
- List of Toronto Maple Leafs general managers
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