Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs
2011–12 Toronto Maple Leafs season
Conference Eastern
Division Northeast
Founded November 22, 1917
History Toronto Arenas 1917 – 1919

Toronto St. Patricks
1919 – February 14, 1927
Toronto Maple Leafs
February 14, 1927 – present

Home arena Air Canada Centre
City Toronto, Ontario
Colours Blue and white


Media Leafs TV
Rogers Sportsnet Ontario
CFMJ (640 AM)
Owner(s) Canada Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.
(Larry Tanenbaum, chairman)
General manager United States Brian Burke
Head coach United States Ron Wilson
Captain Canada Dion Phaneuf
Minor league affiliates Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Reading Royals (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)
Conference championships 0
Presidents' Trophies 0
Division championships 5 (1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1999–00)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a professional ice hockey team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The organization, one of the "Original Six" members of the NHL, is officially known as the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and is the leading subsidiary of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, (MLSE). They have played at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) since 1999, after 68 years at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Leafs are well known for their long and bitter rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, and more recently the Ottawa Senators. The franchise's 13 championships are second only to the Canadiens, who have 24. Toronto has won eleven Stanley Cups as the Maple Leafs since the cup became solely competed for within the NHL in 1927, and two cups prior to this: one as the St. Patricks, and one as the Arenas. However, the Leafs have not won the Cup since 1967, giving them the longest-active Cup drought in the NHL, and thus are the only Original Six team that has not won the Cup since the 1967 NHL expansion.

At $505 million US (in 2010), the Leafs are the most valuable team in the NHL, followed by the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens.[1]


Team history

Early years

Original Logo (1927)

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 felt it would be unthinkable not to have a team from Toronto (Canada's second largest city at the time) in the new league. They also needed another team to balance the schedule after the Bulldogs suspended operations (and as it turned out, would not ice a team until 1920). Accordingly, the NHL granted a "temporary" Toronto franchise to the Arena Company, owners of the Arena Gardens. The Arena Company was allowed to lease the Blueshirts' players, but was given until the end of the season to resolve the dispute with Livingstone. This temporary franchise did not have an official name, but was informally called "the Blueshirts" or "the Torontos" by the fans and press. Under manager Charlie Querrie and coach Dick Carroll, the Toronto team won the Stanley Cup in the NHL's inaugural season. Although the roster was composed almost entirely of former Blueshirts, the Maple Leafs do not claim the Blueshirts' history as their own.

For the next season, rather than return the Blueshirts' players to Livingstone as originally promised, the Arena Company formed its own team, the Toronto Arena Hockey Club, which was readily granted full-fledged membership in the NHL. Also that year, the Arena Company board decided that only NHL teams would be allowed to play at the Arena Gardens—a move which effectively killed the NHA.[2] Livingstone sued to get his players back. Mounting legal bills from the dispute forced the Arenas to sell most of their stars, resulting in a horrendous five-win season in 1918–19. When it was obvious that the Arenas would not be able to finish out the season, the NHL agreed to let the Arenas halt operations on February 20, 1919 and proceed directly to the playoffs. The Arenas' .278 winning percentage that season is still the worst in franchise history. However, since the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals ended without a winner due to the worldwide flu epidemic, the Arenas proclaimed themselves champions by default.

The legal dispute forced the Arena Company into bankruptcy, and it was forced to put the Arenas up for sale. Querrie put together a group that mainly consisted of the people who had run the senior amateur St. Patricks team in the Ontario Hockey Association. The new owners renamed the team the Toronto St. Patricks (or St. Pats for short) and would operate it until 1927. This period saw the team's jersey colours change from blue to green, as well as a second Stanley Cup championship in 1922.

During this time, the St. Patricks also 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.[2]

Part of the series on
Evolution of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Pro HC (OPHL) (1908–1909)
Toronto Blueshirts (NHA, NHL) (1912–1918)
Toronto Arenas (NHL) (1918–1919)
Toronto St. Patricks (NHL) (1919–1927)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) (1927–present)
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Conn Smythe era

Querrie lost a lawsuit to Livingstone and decided to put the St. Pats up for sale. He gave serious consideration to a $200,000 bid from a Philadelphia group. However, Toronto Varsity Graduates coach Conn Smythe put together an ownership group of his own and made a $160,000 offer for the franchise. With the support of St. Pats shareholder J. P. Bickell, Smythe persuaded Querrie to reject the Philadelphia bid, arguing that civic pride was more important than money.

After taking control on Valentine's Day 1927, Smythe immediately renamed the team the Maple Leafs (the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team had won the International League championship a few months earlier and had been using that name for 30 years). The Maple Leafs say that the name was chosen in honour of the Maple Leaf Regiment from World War I. As the regiment is a proper noun, its plural is formed by adding a simple 's' creating Maple Leafs (not *Maple Leaves). Another story says that Smythe named the team after a team he had once scouted, called the East Toronto Maple Leafs, while Smythe's grandson states that Conn named the team after the Maple Leaf insignia he had worn during the First World War.[3] Initial reports were that the team's colours would be changed to red and white,[4] but the Leafs were wearing white sweaters with a green maple leaf for their first game on February 17, 1927.[5] The next season, the Leafs appeared for the first time in the blue and white sweaters they have worn ever since. The Maple Leafs say that blue represents the Canadian skies and white represents snow, but it also follows the tradition of blue being Toronto's principal sporting colour starting with the Toronto Argonauts in 1873 and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in 1877 (and later the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977).

1930s: Opening of Maple Leaf Gardens

Toronto Maple Leafs opening night program at MLG, November 12, 1931

After four more lacklustre seasons (including three with Smythe as coach), Smythe and the Leafs debuted at their new arena, Maple Leaf Gardens, with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks on November 12, 1931.

Led by the "Kid Line" (Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau and Charlie Conacher) and coach Dick Irvin, the Leafs would capture their third Stanley Cup during the first season in their stadium, vanquishing the Montreal Maroons in the first round, the Boston Bruins in the semifinals, and the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup 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.

The 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 was able to knock Shore out with a punch, but it was too late as Bailey, who was by now writhing on the ice, had his career ended. The Leafs would hold the NHL's first All-Star Game to benefit Bailey.

The Leafs would reach the Finals five more times in the next seven years, but would not win, bowing out to the now-defunct Maroons in 1935, the Detroit Red Wings in 1936, the Chicago Black Hawks in 1938, Boston in 1939, and the hated Rangers in 1940. At this time, Smythe allowed Irvin to go to Montreal to help revive the then-moribund Canadiens, replacing him as coach with former Leafs captain Hap Day.

1940s: A second decade of success

Logo (1938/39–1966/67); used on their alternate white uniforms from 2000/01-2010/11 (except in 2007/08).

In the 1942 season, the Maple Leafs were down three games to none in a best-of-seven final in the playoffs against Detroit. However, fourth-line forward Don Metz would galvanize the team, coming from nowhere to score a hat-trick in game four and the game-winning goal 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 would shut out the Wings in game six, and Sweeney Schriner would score two goals in the third period to win the seventh game 3-1.

Apps told writer Trent Frayne in 1949, "If you want me to be pinned down to my [biggest night in hockey but also my] biggest second, I'd say it was the last tick of the clock that sounded the final bell. It's something I shall never forget at all." It was the first time a major pro sports team came back from behind 3-0 to win a best-of-seven championship series.

Three years later, with their heroes from 1942 dwindling (due to either age, health, or the war), the Leafs turned to lesser-known players like rookie goalie Frank McCool and defenceman Babe Pratt. They would upset the Red Wings in the 1945 finals.

The powerful defending champion Montreal Canadiens and their "Punch Line" (Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach), would be the Leafs' nemesis two years later when the two teams clashed in the 1947 finals. Ted "Teeder" Kennedy would score the game-winning goal late in game six to win the Leafs their first of three straight Cups—the first time any NHL team had accomplished that feat. With their Cup victory in 1948, the Leafs moved ahead of Montreal for the most Stanley Cups in league history. It would take the Canadiens 10 years to reclaim the record.

1950s: The Barilko Curse

The Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens would meet once again in the finals in 1951, with all five games going to overtime. Tod Sloan scored with 42 seconds left in the third period of game five to send it to an extra period, and defenceman Bill Barilko, who had scored only six goals in the regular season, scored the game-winner to win Toronto their fourth Cup in five years. Barilko's glory, however, was short-lived: he disappeared in a plane crash near Timmins, Ontario, barely four months after that moment. The Leafs would not win the Cup again that decade.

1960s: New owners and a new dynasty

Before the 1961–62 season, Smythe sold nearly all of his shares in Maple Leaf Gardens to a partnership composed of his son Stafford Smythe, 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. Conn Smythe later claimed that he knew nothing about his son's partners, but it is very unlikely that he could have believed Stafford could have raised the money on his own.

Under the new ownership trio, Toronto won another three straight Stanley Cups from 1962 to 1964. The team featured Hall of Famers Frank Mahovlich, Red Kelly, Johnny Bower, Dave Keon, Andy Bathgate, and Tim Horton, and was helmed by coach and general manager Punch Imlach.

In 1967, the Leafs and Canadiens met in the Cup finals for the last time to date, where Montreal was considered to be a heavy favourite. But Bob Pulford scored the double-overtime winner in Game 3, Jim Pappin got the series winner in Game 6, and Keon won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the playoffs as the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in six games. The Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup (nor even made the Stanley Cup Finals) since.

In 1968, Mahovlich was traded to Detroit in a blockbuster deal, and in 1969, following a first-round playoff loss to the Bruins, Smythe fired Imlach. Horton declared, "If this team doesn't want Imlach, I guess it doesn't want me."[citation needed] He was traded to the New York Rangers the next year.

1970s and 1980s: The Ballard years

Following Stafford Smythe's death, Harold Ballard bought his shares to take majority control of the team. Ballard's controversial term as the Leafs' owner was marked by several disputes with prominent players, including Keon, Lanny McDonald, and Darryl Sittler, poor win/loss records, and not a single Stanley Cup championship.

During the 1970s, with the overall talent level in the league diluted by the addition of 12 new franchises and the birth of the rival World Hockey Association (WHA), the Leafs were able to ice competitive teams for several seasons. But despite the presence of stars such as Sittler, McDonald, Dave "Tiger" Williams, Ian Turnbull, and Borje Salming, they only once made it past the second round of the playoffs, besting the New York Islanders (a soon-to-be dynasty) in the 1978 quarter-finals only to be swept by arch-rival Montreal in the semi-finals. One of the few highlights from this era occurred on February 7, 1976, when Sittler scored six goals and four assists against the Bruins to establish a NHL single-game points record that still stands more than 30 years later.

The serious decline started in July 1979, when Ballard brought back Imlach, a long-time friend, as general manager. Imlach traded McDonald to undermine his friend Sittler's influence on the team.[6] Sittler himself was gone two years later, when the Leafs traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers. He was the franchise's all-time leading scorer until Mats Sundin passed Sittler's total in 2007.

The McDonald trade sent the Leafs into a downward spiral. They finished five games under .500 and barely made the playoffs. For the next 12 years, the Leafs (who had shifted to the Norris Division for the 1981–82 season) were barely competitive, not posting another winning record until 1992–93. They missed the playoffs six times and finished above fourth in their division only once (in 1990, the only season where they even posted a .500 record). They made it beyond the first round of the playoffs twice (in 1986 and 1987, advancing to the division finals). The low point came in 1984–85, when they finished 32 games under .500, the second-worst record in franchise history (their .300 winning percentage was only 22 percentage points higher than the 1918–19 Arenas).

The Leafs' poor records during the 1980s, however, did result in several high draft picks. Wendel Clark, the first overall pick in the 1985 draft, was the lone success from the entry drafts of this period and went on to captain the team.

Early 1990s: Resurgence

Ballard died in 1990, and Steve Stavro, Don Crump and Don Giffin were executors of his will. Calgary Flames GM Cliff Fletcher, who had crafted the Flames' 1989 Stanley Cup championship team, was hired by Don Giffin to run the team against the objections of Stavro who told Fletcher directly that he wanted to install his own man.[7]

Fletcher immediately set about building a club that would be competitive once again, making a series of trades and free agent acquisitions which turned the Leafs from an also-ran to a contender almost overnight, starting in 1992–93. Outstanding play from forwards Doug Gilmour (an acquaintance of Fletcher's from Calgary) and Dave Andreychuk (acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Grant Fuhr), as well as stellar goaltending from minor league call-up Felix Potvin, led the team to a then-franchise-record 99 points, third place in the Norris Division, and the eighth-best overall record in the league. 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 6 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.[8] Gretzky's hat-trick in Game 7 finished the Leafs' run, and it was the Kings that moved on to the Cup Finals against the Canadiens.

The Leafs had another strong season in 1993–94, finishing with 98 points, good enough for fifth overall in the league – their highest finish in 16 years. However, despite finishing one point above Calgary, Toronto was seeded third in the Western Conference (formerly the Campbell Conference) by virtue of the Flames' Pacific Division title. The Leafs eliminated the division rival Chicago Blackhawks in six games and the surprising San Jose Sharks in seven before falling to the Vancouver Canucks in five games in the Western Conference Finals. At that year's draft, the Leafs would package Clark in a trade with the Quebec Nordiques that netted them Mats Sundin.

A new home and a new millennium

In 1996, Stavro took on Larry Tanenbaum, the co-founder of Toronto's new National Basketball Association (NBA) team, the Toronto Raptors, as a partner. Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. was accordingly renamed Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), to be the parent company of the Leafs and the Raptors. MLSE has expanded since then, adding the Toronto Marlies (the Leafs' farm team) of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) to its stable of franchises.

After two years out of the playoffs in the late 1990s, the Leafs acquired goaltender Curtis Joseph as a free agent from the Edmonton Oilers and signed Pat Quinn, who had been fired by Vancouver in 1997, to serve as head coach. This resulted in the Leafs making another charge during the 1999 playoffs after moving from Maple Leaf Gardens to the new Air Canada Centre, shared with the Toronto Raptors. The team eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but lost in five games to the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Toronto reached the second round of the playoffs in both 2000 and 2001, only to lose both times to the New Jersey Devils, who made the Stanley Cup Finals both seasons and won in 2000. The 2000 season was particularly notable because it marked the Leafs' first division title in 37 years, as well as the franchise's first-ever 100-point season. The season ended on a particular low, however, with the Leafs being held to just 6 shots in game six of the second round against the Devils.

In 2002, the Leafs dispatched the Islanders and their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa 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 the Leafs had many of their better players sidelined by injuries, but managed to make it to the conference finals due to the efforts of lesser-known players who were led mainly by Gary Roberts and Alyn McCauley.

Joseph left to go to the defending champion Red Wings in the 2002 off-season; the team found a replacement in veteran Ed Belfour, who came over from the Dallas Stars and had been a crucial part of their 1999 Stanley Cup run. Belfour could not help their playoff woes in the 2003 playoffs, however, as the team lost to Philadelphia in seven games in the first round. 2003 also witnessed a change in the ownership ranks, as Stavro sold his controlling interest in MLSE to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and resigned his position as Chairman of the Board in favour of Tanenbaum. Stavro died in 2006.

The 2003–04 season started in an uncommon way for the team, as they held their training camp in Sweden and played in the NHL Challenge against teams from Sweden and Finland. That year, the Leafs had a very successful regular season, posting a franchise-record 103 points. They finished with the fourth-best record in the league (their best overall finish in 41 years) and also managed a .628 win percentage, their best in 43 years and the third-best in franchise history. Toronto defeated the Senators in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, but lost to the Flyers in the second round in six games.

Post-lockout era

Following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the Leafs have experienced very rough times. They struggled in 2005–06, and despite a late-season surge (9-1-2 in their final 12), led by third-string goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin, the Leafs were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 1998. This marked the first time that the team missed the playoffs under coach Pat Quinn, and he was fired shortly after the season. Paul Maurice, an experienced NHL coach who had just coached the Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, in their inaugural season, was announced as Pat Quinn's replacement. On June 30, 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 Ed Belfour. Both players became free agents on July 1, 2006, effectively ending their tenures with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, despite the coaching change and addition of new players such as Pavel Kubina and Michael Peca, the Leafs again did not make the playoffs in 2006–07.

The alternate logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is a monogram containing the initialism of the team's name

For 2007–08, the Leafs brought in players such as Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala while Jeff O'Neill and J.S. Aubin left. On January 22, 2008, general manager John Ferguson, Jr. was fired and was replaced by Cliff Fletcher[9] on an interim basis. Though it was expected by some that the Leafs could make the playoffs, they ended up missing again. It was the first time that the Leafs had missed the playoffs three years in a row since before even the days of the Maple Leaf Gardens. 2007-08 was also Mats Sundin's last year with the Leafs. On May 7, the Leafs fired head coach Paul Maurice and assistant coach Randy Ladouceur, and replaced them with former San Jose Sharks coach, Ron Wilson, and assistants Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler.[10]

Brian Burke era

On November 29, 2008, the Maple Leafs hired Brian Burke as their 13th non-interim General Manager (first American) in team history. The acquisition of Burke had ended the second Cliff Fletcher era and settled rumours that Brian was coming to Toronto within the next year.[11]

On June 26, 2009, Burke made his first draft appearance as the Leafs GM at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and selected Nazem Kadri with the 7th overall pick.[12] On September 18, 2009, Burke made a trade with the Boston Bruins for forward Phil Kessel for their first and second round Entry Draft selections in 2010, as well as a first round Entry Draft pick in 2011.[13] On January 31, 2010 the Leafs made a trade with the Calgary Flames which involved seven players and brought Dion Phaneuf to the Leafs.[14] On June 14, 2010, the Leafs named Dion Phaneuf as captain after two seasons without a captain following Sundin's departure.[15] On February 18, 2011, the Leafs sent long time Leaf Tomáš Kaberle to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston's 1st round choice in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional 2nd round draft choice.[16]

History of the logo and uniform

The jersey of the Toronto Maple Leafs has a long history and is one of the best-selling NHL jerseys among fans.[17] Over the years the Leaf uniform has had four major incarnations and numerous minor alterations. 

The first was the original 1917 blue uniforms of the Torontos, later the Arenas. The logo was the letter “T” sometimes on a blue shield. The second was 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.[18][19]

The third major change was for the 1927—28 season when the team’s name was changed to the Maple Leafs, gaining in new logo and returning to the blue uniform. The logo was 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 would remain as the basic design for the next forty years.[20]

Before the next major change there were several minor changes. In 1937, veins were added to the leaf of the logo and “Toronto” is curved downwards at the ends instead of upwards. [21] In 1942, the 35-point leaf was introduced. In 1946, the logo added trimming to the Leaf with a white or blue border and “C” for captain and “A” for alternate captain appeared on the sweaters for the first time. In 1947, the logo’s “Toronto Maple Leafs” was lettered 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 to the sleeves.

For the 1966–67 season, came the fourth major change. The leaf of the logo was changed to a blue 11-point leaf, similar to the leaf on the Canadian flag to commemorate the Canadian centennial.[20] Again, this was followed by many minor changes. In 1970, the League introduced rules requiring teams to were white jerseys for home games. Other changes to the sweater were arm stripes removed and yoke extended to the end of the sleeves,[20] solid stripe on the waist and 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.  Thin blue 11-point maple leaf with rounded corners. In 1973, the jersey’s neck was a lace tie-down design. 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 after the Leafs were fined by the NHL for refusing to bide to a new rule requiring player names on the jerseys.[20][22]

In more recent years there has been fan interest in the jersey designs of the past. For the 1991–92 season, the Leafs wore uniforms that were styled after the “original six” era for some games and these were received positively by the fans. Thus 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 20 years were made for the  season. Two stripes on the arms and waist were added. A “TML” logo added to the shoulder. For the 2010—11 season, there were more changes to reflect a more “old-school” appearance.[20] The sweater returned the horizontal stripes and veined Leaf shoulder patches were added.[17][23][20]


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 between teams were intense. As one of the most successful teams of this era, the Leafs established historical rivalries with the two other winningest teams of the time, the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.[24]

Montreal Canadiens

Created by Charles Pachter, the Hockey Knights in Canada Leafs mural was installed in 1984 on the southbound side of Toronto's College Station, the nearest station to Maple Leaf Gardens, then the Maple Leafs' home arena.

Toronto's rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens has been called the greatest in hockey.[25] The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, while the Leafs have won 13, putting them at first and second place in NHL history, respectively. While the rivalry began with the NHL's first season, it has been said that it began in earnest when Toronto general manager Frank J. Selke left his position in 1946 due to a dispute with team owner Conn Smythe to become the GM in Montreal, eventually leading the Canadiens to six Stanley Cups. As of 2009, the two teams have faced each other fifteen times in the playoffs, with six of those matches being in the Stanley Cup Final. Toronto has won four of those six meetings.[26] Although the rivalry has been less relevant since Toronto defeated Montreal in the 1967 Cup Final, it has been kept alive as recently as 2007. With one game left in the season, Toronto trailed Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by only two points. Down 5–3 in the second period, the Leafs were able to win the game 6–5 and swipe the final playoff spot from Montreal.[26]

Roch Carrier as a young boy (wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater) and presumably the inspiration of The Hockey Sweater

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") in reference to the Maple Leafs sweater his mother forces him to wear. This rivalry is also evident in Toronto's College subway station, in which the northbound side of the station has the mural depicting the Canadiens and the southbound side has the Leafs mural.

Detroit Red Wings

While the Toronto-Montreal rivalry is one of the most famous in sport,[26] the rivalry Toronto had against the Detroit Red Wings was no less intense. The rivalry between the two teams dates back to the 1920s. In the playoffs, as of 1997, they had met twenty-three times, with five being in the Stanley Cup Final. So fierce was the rivalry between Detroit and Toronto that when the New York Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit in 1950, but could not play in their home rink, Madison Square Garden, due to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus being in town, they arranged to play their home games in Toronto, whose fans hated the Wings.[27] In the 1950s, the rivalry was 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 needing 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 an increased animosity between the two teams.[28] The two teams' proximity to each other — Toronto and Detroit are approximately 380 kilometres (240 mi) apart — and a number of shared fans (particularly in markets such as Windsor, Ontario) added to the rivalry. Since the Maple Leafs moved to the Eastern Conference in 1998, however, the two teams have faced each other less often each season, and the rivalry is more often found in the stands than on the ice.

Ottawa Senators

The rivalry between the Leafs and the Ottawa Senators, known as the Battle of Ontario, has heated up since the late 1990s, owing in no small part to the Canadiens' struggles during that period. As of 2011, while Ottawa has dominated during most of the teams' regular season match-ups in recent years, the Leafs have won all four postseason series between the two teams, including in one case a four-game sweep. However, the rivalry has somewhat diminished since the lockout, owing largely to the Leafs' failure to make the postseason since that time.[29]

Home rinks and practice facilities

Mutual Street Arena

The first home of the Toronto Maple Leafs was the Mutual Street Arena, located at Dundas and Shuter Streets, where they played under various names for their first 13.5 seasons. From the time period of 1912 until 1931 the Mutual Street Arena, also called Arena Gardens, The Terrace or just the Arena, was the premier site of ice hockey in Toronto.[30] Originally built as an Opera house, converted to a rink for hockey because of the game's popularity, the Arena Gardens was the third rink in Canada to feature a mechanically-frozen or 'artificial' ice surface, and for eleven years was the only such facility in eastern Canada.[31]

Maple Leaf Gardens

In 1931, over a six-month period Maple Leaf Gardens was built by managing director Conn Smythe at a cost of C$1.5 million ($22 million in 2011 dollars). One of the temples of hockey, it was home to the Leafs until 1999. Located on the northwest corner of Carlton Street and Church Street and acquired the nickname the "Carlton Street Cashbox", by virtue of the fact that Leaf games were constantly sold out. The Leafs won 11 Stanley Cups from 1932–1967 while playing at the Gardens. Other significant hockey events at the Gardens was an Ace Bailey All-Star Game in 1934 as a benefit for Leafs forward Ace Bailey, who had suffered a career-ending head injury. The first annual National Hockey League All-Star Game was also held at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1947.

Air Canada Centre

On February 20, 1999, the first Maple Leafs game took place at their current home rink, The Air Canada Centre (ACC), versus the Montreal Canadiens which won by the Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Steve Thomas. The Air Canada Centre is a multi-purpose indoor sporting arena located on Bay Street in Downtown Toronto.

Besides the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs have 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 (c. 1951). The practice facility has two rinks and is operated by the local Lions Club.

In popular culture

References to the Toronto Maple Leafs have been very common in Canadian movies and television shows.

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 Toronto 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.[32] In 1949, Foster Hewitt wrote a juvenile hockey novel, He Shoots, he scores!, which featured the Toronto Maple Leafs, including actual managers and players on the team.[33]

In 1963, Scott Young wrote A Boy at the Leafs' Camp, a children's book giving a behind-the-scenes insight into the world of hockey.[34] In 1971, Scott Young with George Robertson wrote an adult hockey-romance novel, Face-off, about the experiences of a star rookie player, Billy Duke, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.[35] The novel was also a movie in 1971 with Art Hindle as Billy Duke. The film featured many of the actual players for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jim McKenny, body-doubled for Hindle for the on-ice hockey action scenes due to a resemblance to Hindle and Harold Ballard, owner of the Leafs, had a part as the team's doctor.[36]

In 1979, Roch Carrier wrote the short story The Hockey Sweater about an experience as a young boy of being forced to wear the sweater of the hated Toronto Maple Leafs instead of his beloved Canadiens by his mother who had given him the sweater as a present. In 1980, the story was turned into an animated short by the National Film Board.[37]

More recently, in 1992, the rock band The Tragically Hip released the song Fifty Mission Cap which memorialized Bill Barilko.[38] In 1993, the film Gross Misconduct was about the life of former Maple Leaf Brian Spencer.[39] Comedian Mike Myers, a Toronto native and Maple Leaf fan, has often included references and even an entire plot line in his films. In Goldmember the ticker below the news item on a television reads, "Maple Leafs win Stanley Cup". In another scene the character Mini Me is wearing a Maple Leaf sweater.[40] In 2008, Mike Myers played a guru hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to help their star player in the movie The Love Guru.[41] In 2010, at the beginning of the spy film Fair Game CIA agent Valerie Plame is being questioned by a suspicious weapons trafficker. He asks her if she's an American and after responding that she's a Canadian he asks her about the Toronto Maple Leafs. She replies that she's not a fan.[42]

Fan base

Maple Leafs home games have long been one of the toughest tickets to acquire even during lean periods without winning seasons.[43] Toronto's original home rink, Maple Leaf Gardens, sold out every game from 1946 until the building closed in 1999.[44] At the Air Canada Centre (ACC), the new home rink, the Leafs have also sold out every game since October 2002.[45][further explanation needed] As of 2008, there is 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.[46] Support for the Maple Leafs even extends outside Canada. In the United States, several cities in the Sun Belt have sizable numbers of Leaf fans, since many Snowbirds tend to flock to locales such as Atlanta (before the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg as the Jets),[47] Phoenix, Tampa Bay, and Miami during the winter, resulting in a boost in turnout and ticket sales when these franchises play the Maple Leafs.[citation needed]

Toronto Maple Leaf fans are also known for being loyal despite being poorly rewarded—in a 2008 survey by ESPN The Magazine the Leafs were ranked 121st 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.[48]

Conversely, there is an equally passionate dislike of the team by fans of several other NHL teams. In November 2002, the Leafs were named by Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber as the "Most Hated Team in Hockey".[49]

The mascot of the Toronto Maple Leafs 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 in that city, where they played throughout much of their history.

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2006–07 82 40 31 11 91 258 269 3rd, Northeast Did not qualify
2007–08 82 36 35 11 83 231 260 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2008–09 82 34 35 13 81 250 293 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2009–10 82 30 38 14 74 214 267 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2010–11 82 37 34 11 85 218 251 4th, Northeast Did not qualify


Current roster

view · talk · edit

Updated November 2, 2011.[50]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
9 Canada Armstrong, ColbyColby Armstrong (AInjured Reserve RW R 28 2010 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
42 Canada Bozak, TylerTyler Bozak C R 25 2009 Regina, Saskatchewan
18 United States Brown, MikeMike Brown RW R 26 2010 Northbrook, Illinois
12 United States Connolly, TimTim Connolly C R 30 2011 Baldwinsville, New York
46 United States Crabb, JoeyJoey Crabb RW R 28 2010 Anchorage, Alaska
11 Canada Dupuis, PhilippePhilippe Dupuis C R 26 2011 Laval, Quebec
4 Canada Franson, CodyCody Franson D R 24 2011 Salmon Arm, British Columbia
51 United States Gardiner, JakeJake Gardiner D L 21 2011 Minneapolis, Minnesota
84 Belarus Grabovski, MikhailMikhail Grabovski (A) C L 27 2008 Potsdam, East Germany
36 Sweden Gunnarsson, CarlCarl Gunnarsson D L 24 2007 Örebro, Sweden
50 Sweden Gustavsson, JonasJonas Gustavsson G L 27 2009 Danderyd, Sweden
81 United States Kessel, PhilPhil Kessel (A) RW R 24 2009 Madison, Wisconsin
8 United States Komisarek, MikeMike Komisarek (A) D R 29 2009 West Islip, New York
41 Russia Kulemin, NikolaiNikolai Kulemin LW L 25 2006 Magnitogorsk, Soviet Union
24 United States Liles, John-MichaelJohn-Michael Liles D L 30 2011 Indianapolis, Indiana
15 Canada Lombardi, MatthewMatthew Lombardi C L 29 2011 Montreal, Quebec
19 Canada Lupul, JoffreyJoffrey Lupul RW R 28 2011 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
16 Canada MacArthur, ClarkeClarke MacArthur LW L 26 2010 Lloydminster, Alberta
28 Canada Orr, ColtonColton Orr RW R 29 2009 Winnipeg, Manitoba
3 Canada Phaneuf, DionDion Phaneuf (C) D L 26 2010 Edmonton, Alberta
34 Canada Reimer, JamesJames Reimer Injured Reserve G L 23 2006 Arborg, Manitoba
38 Canada Rosehill, JayJay Rosehill LW L 26 2009 Olds, Alberta
2 Canada Schenn, LukeLuke Schenn D R 22 2008 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
30 Canada Scrivens, BenBen Scrivens G L 25 2010 Spruce Grove, Alberta
20 United States Steckel, DavidDavid Steckel C L 29 2011 West Bend, Wisconsin

Honoured members

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 Leafs.



  • Al Arbour, played for Toronto 1961-66, inducted as a builder 1996
  • Harold Ballard, owner/executive/director, 1957–89, inducted 1977
  • J. P. Bickell, shareholder/director, 1919–51, inducted 1978
  • Cliff Fletcher, president/general manager/executive, 1991–97 and 2008–2009, inducted 2004
  • Jim Gregory, general manager, 1969–79, inducted 2007
  • Foster Hewitt, announcer, 1927–63, inducted 1965
  • Punch Imlach, coach/general manager, 1958–69 and 1979–80, inducted 1984
  • Dick Irvin, coach, 1931–40, inducted 1958
  • Frank Mathers, player/executive, 1948–52, inducted 1992
  • Howie Meeker, player/coach/general manager/broadcaster, 1946–57, inducted 1998
  • Roger Neilson, coach, 1977–79, inducted 2002
  • Bud Poile, player/executive, 1942–48, inducted 1990
  • Frank J. Selke, executive, 1929–46, inducted 1960
  • Conn Smythe, owner/executive/director, 1927–66, inducted 1958
  • Carl Voss, player/executive, 1926–29, inducted 1974

Team captains

Franchise scoring leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history, as of the end of the 2009–10 season. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Legend: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Maple Leafs player

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Mats Sundin C 981 420 567 987 1.01
Darryl Sittler C 844 389 527 916 1.09
Dave Keon C 1062 365 493 858 .81
Borje Salming D 1099 148 620 768 .70
George Armstrong RW 1187 296 417 713 .60
Ron Ellis RW 1034 332 308 640 .62
Frank Mahovlich LW 720 296 303 599 .83
Bob Pulford LW 947 251 312 563 .59
Ted Kennedy C 696 231 329 560 .80
Rick Vaive RW 534 299 238 537 1.01

Source: Toronto Maple Leafs Media Guide.[52]

Farm teams



See also

References and notes

  • Holzman, Morey (2002). Deceptions and Doublecross. Dundurn Press. 
  • Lashway, John, ed (2008). Toronto Maple Leafs Media Guide 2008–09. Toronto Maple Leafs. 
  1. ^ "NHL Team Valuations". Forbes. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1572432166. 
  3. ^ Thomas Stafford Smythe and Kevin Shea, Centre Ice: The Smythe Family, the Gardens and the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club, Fenn Publishing, 2000, p. 36.
  4. ^ "Good-bye St. Pats, howdy Maple Leafs", The Globe, February 15, 1927, p. 6.
  5. ^ "Toronto crumbles New York chances", The Globe, February 18, 1927, p. 8.
  6. ^ Kernaghan, Jim (December 29, 1979). "Lanny McDonald trade has Sittler in tears". Toronto Star: p. 1. 
  7. ^ Cox, Damien; Stellick, Gord (2004). '67, The Maple Leafs: Their Sensational Victory and the End of an Empire. Wiley. p. 12. ISBN 0-470-83400-5. 
  8. ^ Zeisberger, Mike (2007-04-07). "Better than a Game 7: Hockey icons' true colours show through". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  9. ^ "TSN : NHL — Canada's Sports Leader". Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  10. ^ "Maple Leafs fire head coach Paul Maurice". May 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  11. ^ "Leafs introduce Burke as new president and general manager". November 29, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  12. ^ "Nazem Kadri drafted by Leafs". PensionPlanPuppets. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kessel traded to Maple Leafs, signs 5-year, $27m contract". TSN. 2009-09-19. 
  14. ^ "FLAMES TRADE D PHANEUF TO MAPLE LEAFS IN SEVEN-PLAYER DEAL". January 31, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Maple Leafs introduce Phaneuf as team's captain". June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Tomas Kaberle Traded to Boston; Bruins Trade Blake Wheeler to Atlanta". AOL. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  17. ^ a b Paul Hunter (June 14, 2010). "Leafs' new look is a bit old-school". Toronto Star. Retrieved Sept.6, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Maple Leafs History: 1920s". Retrieved Sept. 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ Obodiac p.202
  20. ^ a b c d e f Mike Ulmer. "The History Of The Sweater". Retrieved Sept. 14, 2011. 
  21. ^ Obodiac p.212
  22. ^ "History of the Maple Leaf Uniform". Retrieved Sept. 14, 2011. 
  23. ^ Obodiac, Stan. The First 50 Years. McClelland and Stewart Limited. ISBN 07710-9064-1. 
  24. ^ Zweig, Eric (2010). Twenty Greatest Hockey Goals. Dundurn Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-55488-789-7. 
  25. ^ Mahovlich, Ted (1999). The Big M: The Frank Mahovlich Story. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 100. ISBN 1-58382-029-9.  Note: "The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, the greatest rivalry in hockey"
  26. ^ a b c Wiggins, David K.; Rodgers, R. Pierre (2010). Rivals: legendary match ups that made sports history. The University of Arkansas Press. p. XV. ISBN 978-1-55728-920-9.  note: "There are few sport rivalries better known than the one between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens."
  27. ^ Sheppard, Chess (1997). Heaven on ice: Ray Sheppard’s life in hockey. General Store Publishing House. p. 217. ISBN 1-896182-75-5. 
  28. ^ Fischler, Stan (2002). Red Wings Greatest Moments and Players. Sports Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 1582612714. 
  29. ^ "Part II -- Top rivalries". ESPN. Retrieved Aug. 19, 2011. 
  30. ^ Young, Peter (2002). Let's Dance. Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc.. p. 23. ISBN 1-896219-02-0. 
  31. ^ Filey, Mike (2008). Toronto: the way were were. Dundurn Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-55002-842-3. 
  32. ^ Ross A. Eaman. "Wayne and Shuster: Canadian comedy act". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved Sept. 22, 2011. 
  33. ^ Hewitt, Foster (1949). He Shoots, he scores. Thomas Allen. 
  34. ^ "A Boy at the Leafs' Camp". Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  35. ^ Young, Scott; Robertson, George (1971). Face-off. MacMillan of Canada. 
  36. ^ "Face-Off". IMdb. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  37. ^ "The Hockey Sweater". IMdb. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  38. ^ Sherry Ross (Oct. 15, 2006). "THE TRAGEDY OF BILL BARILKO. Death of Cory Lidle conjures memories of 1951 Stanley Cup hero.". Daily News. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Gross Misconduct". IMdb. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  40. ^ Rob Granatstein (Aug. 22, 2002). "Myers is groovy, baby!". Canoe. Retrieved Sept. 24, 2011. 
  41. ^ "The Love Guru". IMdb. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2011. 
  42. ^ Colin Covert (Nov. 19, 2011). "Outed CIA agent’s tale a stunning film". Idaho Statesmen. Retrieved Sept. 12, 2011. 
  43. ^ Hornsby, Lance (2006-10-18). "Avs, Leafs battle over sellout record". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  44. ^ Maple Leaf Gardens page at
  45. ^ The ACC has a capacity of 18,800 and the game on October 31, 2002 drew 18,727 fans. [1]
  46. ^ Westhead, Rick (2008-05-30). "Canadian NHL teams mean money". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  47. ^ Thrashers party for Canadians
  48. ^ O'Connor, Joe (2008-05-01). "Leafs Are 121St (Of 122) In Rewarding Fans". National post. Retrieved 2008-05-01. [dead link]
  49. ^ "Sabres still searching for new owner". CBC Sports. 2002-11-17. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  50. ^ "Toronto Maple Leafs - Team - Roster". Toronto Maple Leafs. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  51. ^ Lashway, p. 159
  52. ^ Lashway, p. 184

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