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Toronto Maple Leafs

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10 Quick Facts About the Toronto Maple Leafs


The Toronto Maple Leafs organization was founded in 1917-1918 when a group of NHA owners decided to form the National Hockey League in order to shut out the much resented Eddie Livingstone owner of the Toronto Blue Shirts. The team was renamed the Toronto Arenas and went on to win the cup their first year.

In the season of 1919/20 the Toronto Arenas were rescued from bankruptcy and the team was renamed the St. Patricks in honor of Torontos growing Irish Population. The Toronto team received a new look as well changing their colors to green and white.

In the 1926/27 season Conn Smythe and a group of investors bought the Toronto St. Patricks. Conn Smythe who was a World War 1 hero having spent 14 months in a German POW camp and been a recipient of the Military Cross renamed the team to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was also Smythes idea to put the maple leaf on their blue and white sweaters. Conn Smythe also took over GM and coaching duties that same year.

Now Conn Smythe had to figure out how to turn a last place team into a contender and he knew the #1 guy he wanted wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. The Ottawa Senators were putting King Clancy on the market for $50000 unfortunately the Leafs board of directors were only willing to cough up $25000 for him...so Clancy decided it was time to place another longshot bet betting on a horse with 108 to 1 odds against him. Sure enough the horse pulled through and Smythe left the track over $15000 richer. With these winnings plus a couple players Smythe was able to turn the deal with the Senators and King Clancy joined the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 1927 Foster Hewitt made his debut as the radio voice behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. Soon hockey fans across Canada were huddled around the radio to hear Hewitt call the play-by-play action as King Clancy and the beloved Maple Leafs thrilled fans at the Mutual Street Arena.

In 1927 Conn Smythe arrived in Toronto with a debt to settle againt the Rangers. The previous season Smythe had been hired by the Rangers to build a championship team from scratch, and so he did. Unfortunately for him, he wasnt going to be there to see them win it because the Rangers fired him before their first game. Smythes mission was to build a team in Toronto that was better than the team he built in New York but only one problem, he was a little short on cash. So Conn Smythe took the $10,000 fee he had earned from the Rangers and bet it on a University of Toronto football game. He then took his winnings from that bet and let it all ride on a Toronto St Patricks hockey game. The Pats won and Smythe now had the $165,000 he needed to buy the St Patricks franchise.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs fan base grew Conn Smythe had a vision of the Leafs playing before fans in a world-class arena. This may have been one of Smythes greatest gambles to date after all they were in the midst of the great depression and money was tight. That wouldnt stop Smythe though and he proceeded on with his vision. November 12 1931 the Leafs opened Maple Leaf gardens before an audience of 13 233. Ticket prices for that event ranged from 95 cents to $2.75.

In 1932 Conn Smythe finally got his revenge as the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup over his arch-nemisis the New York Rangers. This was the first Stanley Cup victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs Gardens became the first arena to host a 4 sides game clock in 1932.

It was during the 1933-34 season that Eddie Shore put a vicious hit on the Leafs star Ace Bailey. The hit resulted in a skull fracture and ended Ace Baileys hockey career.











Conn Smythes Contributions to the Toronto Maple Leafs

In 1927 Conn Smythe arrived in Toronto with a debt to settle againt the Rangers. The previous season Smythe had been hired by the Rangers to build a championship team from scratch, and so he did. Unfortunately, he wasnt going to be there to see them win it because the Rangers fired him before their first game. Smythes made it a mission to build a team in Toronto that was better than the one he had built in New York but only one problem, he was a little short on cash. So Conn Smythe took the $10,000 fee he had earned from the Rangers and bet it on a University of Toronto football game. He then took his winnings from that bet and let it all ride on a Toronto St Patricks hockey game. The Pats won and Smythe now had the $165,000 he needed to along with a group of investors buy the St Patricks franchise.

Now Conn Smythe had to figure out how to turn a last place team into a contender, and he knew the #1 guy he wanted wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. The Ottawa Senators were putting King Clancy on the market for $50000, unfortunately the Leafs board of directors were only willing to cough up $25000 for him..so Clancy decided it was time to place another longshot bet on a horse with 108 to 1 odds against him. Sure enough the horse pulled through and Smythe left the track over $15000 richer. With these winnings plus a couple players Smythe was able to turn the deal with the Senators and King Clancy joined the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Conn Smythe was a World War 1 hero who had been captured and spent 14 months in a German POW camp, later becoming a recipient of the Military Cross. In honour of that, he renamed the team to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927 and it was also his idea to put the maple leaf on their blue and white sweaters. Wanting full control of the Leafs rebuilding process, Conn Smythe took over GM and coaching duties of the Maple Leafs that same year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were a hit and as the fan base grew, Conn Smythe had a vision of the Leafs playing before fans in a world-class arena. This may have been one of Smythes greatest gambles to date after all they were in the midst of the great depression and money was tight. That wouldnt stop Smythe though and he proceeded on with his vision. Finally on November 12, 1931 the Leafs opened Maple Leaf gardens before an audience of 13 233. Ticket prices for that event ranged from 95 cents to $2.75. That first season in the new arena, Conn Smythe finally got his revenge as the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup over his arch-nemisis the New York Rangers. This was the first Stanley Cup victory for the team since they had become the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When the second world war came around, Conn Smythe felt it was his civic duty to leave his position with the Maple Leafs to go join the war effort. After being stationed in England for nearly two years, Smythe was sent to France in 1944, where he was badly wounded suffering injuries that would affect his the rest of his life.

Upon his return to the leafs, Conn Smythe bought a majority share of the leafs and returned to his GM position, a role he held until he sold his share to his son in 1961. Throughout his career with the leafs he was principal owner of the franchise from 1927 to 1961 and his name appears on the Stanley Cup eleven times: 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967.

 

 



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