Saturday, 19 April 2014 20:00

Charlie Conacher

Conacher played three years of junior hockey, most notably with the Toronto Marlboros. Playing with future Maple Leafs teammate Harvey "Busher" Jackson, he achieved staggering scoring numbers, leading the Marlboros to the Memorial Cup playoffs in 1928 and 1929. In 28 playoff games with the Marlies in those two seasons, Conacher scored 50 goals, including 28 goals in the 1929 playoffs to lead his team to a Memorial Cup championship.

Signed the next season by the Maple Leafs with Jackson, Toronto manager Conn Smythe paired the two with former farmhand Joe Primeau. The trio, nicknamed the "Kid Line" for their inexperience - Primeau was 23, Conacher and Jackson both 18 - became an immediate sensation in Toronto. The following season, Conacher broke into the elite of the league, despite missing a number of games due to a reinjured hand he scored 31 goals - the first of five times he led the league in goal scoring - and finishing third overall in points.

A broken collarbone sidelined Conacher for weeks in the 1933 season, the only one in a six year stretch in which he failed to lead the league in goals - but he was once again named to the Second All- Star Team at right wing. The next three seasons saw Conacher cemented among the top players in the game, as he regained his form and led the league in goal scoring all three seasons and in points in 1934 and 1935, being named First Team All-Star all three seasons, years in which the Leafs finished as runner-up in the Stanley Cup finals. Conacher retired after the 1941 season.

After his retirement, Conacher went into coaching, meeting with remarkable success: he led the junior league Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey Association to four straight OHA Championships between 1941 and 1944, as well as three straight Eastern Canada amateur championships in 1942, 1943 and 1944, and the Memorial Cup Championship in 1944. The Generals finished in second place in both 1946 and 1947.

After resigning from his coaching post in Oshawa, Conacher was named to replace Johnny Gottselig as coach of the Chicago Black Hawks 28 games into the 1949 season. Over his three seasons at the helm, Conacher coached the Black Hawks - a team on which his younger brother Roy played - to 6th, 5th and 6th place finishes respectively.

Conacher had nine siblings, including Hockey Hall of Famers Lionel Conacher and Roy Conacher. He was also the father of retired NHL forward Pete Conacher. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961 and, later, to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1998, he was ranked number 36 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

Published in 2013 Inductees
Monday, 31 March 2014 20:00

Conn Smythe

Constantine Falkland Cary Smythe MC (February 1, 1895 – November 18, 1980) was a Canadian builder in the National Hockey League. He is best known as the principal owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1927 to 1961 and as the builder of Maple Leaf Gardens. As owner of the Leafs during numerous championship years, his name appears on the Stanley Cup eleven times: 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1966.

Early years

Born on February 1, 1895, in Toronto, Smythe went to high school at Upper Canada College (until his father, a journalist, could no longer afford the tuition) and Jarvis Collegiate Institute. Smythe never liked his given name, Constantine, and when he was finally christened at age 9 he insisted on it being changed to Conn, in tribute to King Conn, the Irish ruler who fought 100 battles. He began engineering studies at the University of Toronto in the fall of 1912. There he played hockey as a centre, leading the Varsity Blues men's ice hockey team to the finals of the 1914 Ontario Hockey Association junior championships and to the OHA junior championship the following year. The coach of the losing team in 1915 was Frank J. Selke, who years later would work for Smythe at Maple Leaf Gardens. In between seasons, Smythe also played on the U of T football team, although not as a starter.

Smythe and the Maple Leafs

On February 14, 1927, Smythe invested $10,000 and with the help of some partners bought the St. Pats, renaming them the Toronto Maple Leafs. At first, Smythe's name was kept in the background. However, when the Leafs promoted a public share offering to raise capital, it announced that "one of the most prominent hockey coaches in Toronto" would be taking over management of the club. That prominent coach turned out to be Smythe. The next season, Smythe changed the team's colours from green and white to their present blue and white. While he claimed that the blue stood for the Canadian skies and the white for snow, it has been a long-standing tradition that top-level Toronto teams wear blue. At the start of the next season Smythe took over as coach as well. For the next three years, he was a one-man band as governor, general manager and coach.

Before the 1931–32 NHL season, Smythe led the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens. In its first season in the new building, the franchise won its first Stanley Cup as the Maple Leafs. As part of a corporate reorganization, the Leafs became the leading subsidiary of the newly created Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd.; Smythe remained the largest shareholder.

Smythe had a life-long involvement with Thoroughbred horse racing, and on September 20, 1930 his horse, Rare Jewel, won the Coronation Futurity Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The horse had been a 100–1 longshot paying $214.40 on a $2 bet, and Smythe had bet heavily on the race. Between the winnings from his bet and his portion of the winner's purse as horse owner, Smythe won more than $10,000 on that one race. Three weeks later, he put his windfall to work for the Leafs by purchasing star defenceman King Clancy from the depression-strapped Ottawa Senators for $35,000.

A partner for several years with Larkin Maloney in a number of horses, in 1959 their horse Wonder Where was voted Canadian Horse of the Year and following its formation, the filly would be inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. In 1973, Smythe became a founding member of the Jockey Club of Canada. In 1977 he was inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Becomes majority owner of the Leafs

Smythe oversaw one of hockey's greatest dynasties when Toronto won six Stanley Cups in 10 seasons between 1942 and 1951. Hap Day coached the team to five of those Cups and was assistant general manager for the sixth. He was named in a poll of Canadian sports editors the "most dominating personality in any capacity in sports" for 1949. Notably, only two of these teams finished first overall, and one barely made the playoffs with a record three games under .500. However, Smythe was known for caring little about gaudy regular season records. From the 1940s onward, his two mantras to Leafs teams were to make the playoffs and keep the turnstiles clicking at Maple Leaf Gardens. In part because of this, the Leafs did not post a 100-point season until 1999–2000, 20 years after Smythe's death.

However, the Leafs spent most of the 1950s as a mediocre team, struggling under three different coaches while Day remained assistant general manager under Smythe. Even so, in 1955, Smythe turned over most responsibility for hockey operations to Day, but nominally remained general manager. However, just after the Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs in 1957, Smythe told the media that it had been "a season of failure" and that he didn't know if the 55-year-old Day would be available for the next season. It was a public rebuke that triggered the response Smythe wanted: Day resigned.

In March 1957, Smythe resigned as general manager and turned the operation of the hockey team over to a seven-person committee, headed by his son, Stafford Smythe. Newspaper owner John Bassett was another member of the committee, which became known as the Silver Seven, as was Percy Gardiner's son, George Gardiner. Initially, all members were in their 30s or early 40s, but that changed before the end of the year when 54-year-old Harold Ballard, president of the Toronto Marlboros, was appointed to the committee to fill a vacancy.

Sells to his son and partners

Though the committee made most decisions involving the Leafs, Smythe was not a hands-off owner and was constantly fighting with his son. After four years, he offered to sell his shares to Stafford and in November 1961, Smythe sold 45,000 of his 50,000 shares in Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. to a partnership of his son, Ballard, and Bassett for $2.3 million—a handsome return on his investment of 34 years earlier. Smythe would later claim that he thought he was selling the company only to his son, but there is skepticism that he could have believed that Stafford could have come up with the millions of dollars needed to purchase the shares on his own.

Smythe remained chairman of the board until 1964, when Bassett succeeded him. In 1964, Smythe opposed the Pearson government's plan to replace the traditional Canadian flag with a completely new design. He wrote to Pearson: "In the Olympic Games the whole world is represented and when Canada sometimes wins a Gold Medal everybody knows, when the Red Ensign (see Canadian Red Ensign) is raised to the masthead, that Canada has won." In 1965, he unsuccessfully lobbied for the Red Ensign to be flown at the Gardens instead of the new Flag of Canada. In March 1966, Smythe sold his remaining shares and resigned from the board of directors after a Muhammad Ali boxing match was scheduled for the Gardens. He found Ali's refusal to serve in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War to be offensive, because, as he put it in his autobiography "The Gardens was founded by men - sportsmen - who fought for their country. It is no place for those want to evade conscription in their own country. The Gardens was build for many things, but not for picking up things that no one else wants." He also said that by accepting the fight, Gardens owners had "put cash ahead of class."

Published in 1998 Inductees
Sunday, 30 March 2014 20:00

Darryl Sittler

The best Toronto Maple Leafs’ player ever? The player who best epitomizes the franchise? Until someone like Mats Sundin finishes his career, many would have to say classy Darryl Sittler, the flashy London Knights’ junior star, who compiled 916 career points with the Leafs, most of any player in team history.

Sittler was the Leafs' first pick in the 1970 draft and endured some struggles in his first two seasons – due to broken ribs which sidelined him for three months in his first season and being shifted to left wing because the Leafs were strong down the middle with Norm Ullman, Dave Keon and Jim Harrison.

In his third season, with Ullman and Keon defecting to the WHA, Sittler was back at his customary centre spot and notched 77 points. In the following two seasons, he reached the 80-point plateau and had risen to become one of the NHL’s most dangerous offensive weapons. The year 1976 was a momentous one, especially in two heart-stopping games: 10 points in one game Feb. 7 against the Boston Bruins and his OT winner in September to secure victory for his home country in the first-ever Canada Cup.

"Most fans remember the 10-point game but the highlight of my career would have to be the goal I scored to beat Czechoslovakia in the Canada Cup," Sittler told this magazine. "To score the winning goal while representing your country is special. I knew that the Czech goalie liked to come out so I pulled over to the left side and saw an empty net."

Sittler’s 10-point game (six goals, four assists) against Boston’s Dave Reece survived the Gretzky and Lemieux eras and likely will never be matched, considering the trap-defensive hockey so prevalent in the game today. "What happened in that game," Sittler said, "is that after the second period I had seven points, and I went into the dressing room and statistician Stan Obodiac told me that Rocket Richard held the record for most points in one game with eight. To tie the record and get three points was something. Near the end of the game, I got my 10th point and final goal when my shot went in off (Boston defenceman) Brad Park."

Sittler’s best season was 1977-78 when he collected 117 points. He went on to spend close to 12 seasons with the Leafs and finished off his NHL career with stints in Philadelphia and Detroit, retiring after the 1984-85 season with 1,121 points.

 

Published in 2003 Inductees
Monday, 24 March 2014 20:00

Dave Keon

Dave Keon was born on March 22, 1940 in Noranda, Quebec. A clever skater and stick handler, Keon left St. Michael's College to play professional hockey and joined the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 1960-61 season, scoring 20 goals to win the Calder Cup as the NHL's rookie of the year. Keon won the Lady Byng Trophy for combining excellent play with sportsmanship in 1962 and 1963.

Keon won four Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, and 1966–67. He was named MVP in the 67 playoffs and hardly ever took penalties.

He was the Leafs' leading scorer in the 1963–64, 1966–67 and 1969–70 seasons and the team's top goal scorer in 1970–71 and 1972–73. Keon was considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and one of the best defensive forwards of his era. He was named team captain on October 31, 1969, succeeding George Armstrong.

Keon ended his career with the Hartford Whalers in 1981-82. He scored 986 points on 396 goals and 590 assists in 1,296 regular season games and added 32 goals and 36 assists for 68 points in 92 playoff games.

Dave Keon was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

Published in 2010 Inductees
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 20:00

Dick Duff

Dick Duff was a winner.

Plain and simple.

He wasn’t big and he was never considered to be a prolific goal scorer, but the native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario always found a way to get it done, especially in important games.

And the gutsy left winger would do whatever it took to win.

“He would drop his gloves with anybody,” Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Bob Baun recently told Sportsnet. “I had a fight with him every practice!”

That last part was a bit of a reach, but the point was clear that Duff, though just five-foot-nine, 165 pounds, was fearless and played bigger than he stood.

Not surprisingly, his idol was Detroit Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay, who played his minor hockey in the summer in Kirkland Lake.

“He was the toughest, meanest bugger in the NHL,” Duff told Sportsnet.

Beyond being a feisty player, Duff could also produce and in key moments.

He started in the NHL with the Maple Leafs in 1955 at the age of 19, a graduate of St. Michael’s College where he won the Memorial Cup. It was quite apparent from the beginning that the Leafs held Duff in high regard, too, when owner Conn Smythe gave him sweater number nine, which had been worn by the legendary Ted Kennedy.

“When Mr. Smythe gave me Kennedy’s number, I knew they considered me a special player,” he said.

His first full season was 1955-56, when he played alongside George Armstrong and Tod Sloan. That first season he scored 18 goals, then had seasons of 26, 26 and 29, then a huge number.

He won the Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1962 and 1963, scoring the Cup-winning goal in 1962, ending an 11-year championship drought for the Leafs. In that 1963 final, in the opening game, Duff set an NHL scoring record, with two goals in the first 1:08 of the game, the fastest pair ever from the start of a playoff game and they came against the Detroit Red Wings star goaltender Terry Sawchuk.

In his ninth full season with the Leafs, Duff was traded to the New York Rangers in a 1964 blockbuster seven-player deal that saw Andy Bathgate come to Toronto. The following season he was again traded, this time to the Montreal Canadiens to replace the retired Dickie Moore. He proceeded to be a key player in four Stanley Cup victories in five seasons. And he had a couple more 20-plus goal years, including 25 in 1967-68, eight of those a team-best game winners.

Duff ended his 18-year career with six championships and had stints with the expansion Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres, where he was reunited with his former Leafs coach Punch Imlach. Duff retired in 1972 and later returned to the Leafs for many years in the scouting department.

Duff scored 283 goals and 572 points in his career and had an additional 79 points in 114 playoff games.

He also played in seven NHL all-star games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

“I appreciate my teammates in the NHL, who taught me how to win at the highest level of the game,” Duff said on the day of his induction.

You could safely argue that Duff taught them a thing or two, as well.

Published in 2014 Inductees
Sunday, 23 March 2014 20:00

Doug Gilmour

Douglas Gilmour (born June 25, 1963) During his NHL career, Gilmour played for 7 NHL clubs: the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens, serving as Captain for Calgary, Toronto and Chicago. Gilmour won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward while with the Maple Leafs in 1993. Gilmour had 450 goals and 964 assists in 1474 games in his NHL career.

Gilmour began his junior hockey career in 1980-81 with the Cornwall Royals of the OHL in the 1980–81 season. He spent three seasons with the team, helping win consecutive Memorial Cup championships, but in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues drafted him in the 7th round. Gilmour did not make the Blues squad for the 1982–83 season, and was returned to Cornwall. Determined to prove naysayers wrong, Gilmour earned the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHL's leading scorer, totaling 70 goals and 107 assists for 177 total points. As a result of his scoring prowess, Gilmour was named the OHL's Most Valuable Player. During that memorable season, Gilmour set a (then) league record, scoring in 55 consecutive games.

During his first three seasons with the Blues, Gilmour was a consistent defensive presence, averaging a solid 50 points a season. During the 1986 playoffs, Gilmour broke out and scored 21 points in 19 games, as the Blues lost in the Campbell Conference finals. Gilmour's dynamic two-way play lead him to becoming one of the only players in history to lead in post-season scoring without making it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Just prior to the 1988–89 season, Gilmour was traded to the Calgary Flames. With Calgary, Gilmour played a major role during the Flames march to the 1989 Stanley Cup championship. Before the decisive game six of the series, Gilmour kissed and shook hands with Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry for good luck. Gilmour scored two goals in Game 6 including the Stanley Cup winning goal seal Calgary's first (and only) Stanley Cup Championship.

The Leafs acquired Gilmour in a 10-player deal, the largest in NHL history, and statistically speaking, one of the most lopsided. Toronto fans did not need to wait long for the Gilmour acquisition to pay off. He scored a franchise-record 127 points during the 1992-93 regular season. Throughout his six years as a Leaf, Gilmour was one of the most popular players on the team and in the league. He was a fan and media darling, as the spokesman for the NHLPA in community and charity events, and he also appeared in a series of memorable "Got Milk?" TV commercials.

Gilmour finished the postseason with 35 points in 21 games, second behind only Wayne Gretzky. As a result of his spectacular season, Gilmour was the runner-up for the Hart Trophy as regular-season MVP and was awarded the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward, the first major NHL award that a Maple Leaf player had won since 1967.

Published in 2011 Inductees
Monday, 01 February 2016 19:00

Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros was born on February 28th, 1973, and grew up in London, Ontario. Well known in the hockey world, Eric will always be remembered for his immense talent and ridiculous athleticism.

His hockey career began with the St. Michael’s Junior B team. In his first season and at the age of 15, he scored 67 points in 37 games. His large frame gave him a physical edge over players who were up to six years older.

Lindros was drafted by the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL but later traded to Oshawa. With the Generals, he averaged more than 2 points per playoff game. In 1990, Lindros collected 149 points with Oshawa and a Junior World Championship Gold, leading Canada with 11 points in 7 games. He was awarded the CHL Player-of-the-Year award.

Deemed "the Next One" in his early years, Lindros lived up to the hype. His ’94-’95 season was rewarded with the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Trophy for his excellence on ice. In ’95-’96, he scored 115 points. In a 13 year NHL career, Lindros totaled 865 points in 760 NHL games. Accumulated injuries and health concerns ended Lindros's playing days in 2007.

NHL fans will remember his legacy of strength, speed, and leadership in the NHL.

Eric Lindros

Published in Inductees
Monday, 31 March 2014 20:00

Frank Mahovlich

Francis William "Frank" Mahovlich, CM (Croatian: Franjo Mahovlic) (born January 10, 1938 in Timmins, Ontario) is a Canadian Senator, and a retired NHL ice hockey player, nicknamed the "Big M." He played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams and is an inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The son of immigrants from Croatia, Mahovlich was scouted by several National Hockey League teams while playing for the Schumacher Lions of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who sent him to one of their Ontario Hockey Association affiliates, the Toronto St. Michael's Majors. Mahovlich played there while attending St. Michael's College School from 1954–57. While at St. Michael's, he received instruction from Joe Primeau, who Mahovlich would later call the best coach he ever had. Mahovlich received the Red Tilson Trophy as the top player in the OHA for the 1956–57 season, in which he scored 52 goals in 49 games.

He joined the Leafs in 1957 and was a 20-goal scorer in his first season, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in what was otherwise a rough season with the last-place Leafs. During the off-season, he took courses at Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario. At the same time, Punch Imlach was hired to run the Leafs and soon became head coach and general manager.

In the 1960–61 season, Imlach put Mahovlich on a line with Red Kelly and Bob Nevin. The three immediately clicked and were the team's top three scorers that year, led by Mahovlich's 48 goals—a Leaf record that would stand for 21 years. The following season, the Leafs won the Stanley Cup, and repeated as champions in 1963 and 1964. Mahovlich led the team in goals scored in all three seasons.

Initially, Mahovlich and Imlach got along well, but their relationship deteriorated after a few seasons, particularly when Mahovlich's contract was up for renewal in 1962. He felt the Leafs gave him a low-ball offer and walked out on the team during training camp in September. Red Burnett at the Toronto Star described the situation as a "cold war" between Imlach and Mahovlich.

At that time, the National Hockey League All-Star Game was played at the beginning of the season, and during a reception in Toronto attended by team executives in the days before the game, Chicago Black Hawks owner James D. Norris offered the Leafs $1 million for Mahovlich. He believed he had an agreement with Leafs co-owner Harold Ballard and paid $1,000 as a deposit with the balance to be delivered by cheque the next morning. The next day, the Leafs gave Mahovlich the money he had been asking for, and told the Black Hawks that their apparent agreement the night before had been a misunderstanding. The Leafs returned the $1,000 deposit. The Black Hawks accused the Leafs of reneging on a deal. Conn Smythe, at this point a minority shareholder in the Leafs, was adamant that the deal should be rejected.

Mahovlich also had a rocky relationship with fans at Maple Leaf Gardens and was often booed at home games. Imlach—who mispronounced Mahovlich's name for years—became a constant critic and, under pressure from fans and management, Mahovlich was admitted to Toronto General Hospital in November 1964, suffering from what was publicly described as "constant fatigue" but diagnosed as acute depression. Mahovlich was flooded with well-wishes from fans during his time off. He returned to the lineup a month later and was still able to lead the Leafs in scoring in the 1964–65 season, despite missing 11 games. Mahovlich led the Leafs in scoring again in the 1965–66 season.

The Leafs won one final Stanley Cup in the 1966–67 season, with Mahovlich having his lowest-scoring year in seven seasons. Early into the next season, Mahovlich was again admitted to hospital, although this time it was acknowledged publicly as depression and tension. "Mahovlich is a sensitive, easily-bruised individual," wrote Milt Dunnell in a page-one story in the Toronto Star. On March 3, 1968 in a blockbuster trade, Mahovlich was sent to the Detroit Red Wings with Pete Stemkowski, Garry Unger, and the rights to Carl Brewer for Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson, Floyd Smith and Doug Barrie.

Mahovlich had a strong finish to the season with the Red Wings, and the following year put up his best point totals in eight seasons, playing on a line with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio and setting his personal record for goals in a season with 49. Initially, one of his teammates on the Red Wings was his younger brother, Peter Mahovlich, who split his time between the Wings and their minor league affiliate.

In 1970–71, Red Wings general manager Sid Abel wanted to get rid of coach Ned Harkness and was overruled by team owner Bruce Norris. Once Harkness took over as general manager, he got rid of players he deemed a threat to him. On January 13, 1971, Mahovlich was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Mickey Redmond, Guy Charron and Bill Collins. He was reunited with his brother, who had become a star player himself with the Canadiens. Mahovlich spent three-and-a-half seasons in Montreal, playing on the Stanley Cup-winning teams of 1971 and 1973. During the 1971–72 season, Mahovlich scored a career-high 96 points, which he nearly matched the following season with 93 points.

He also was a member of Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. In 1974, he left the NHL for the World Hockey Association, and represented Canada again at the 1974 Summit Series. In the WHA, he played for the Toronto Toros and the Birmingham Bulls until his retirement in 1978 at the age of 40. While with the Bulls, Mahovlich was placed on an unproductive line with Frank Beaton and Dave Hanson, one of the Hanson Brothers who had been in the movie Slap Shot. According to John Brophy, when a reporter asked Mahovlich what was wrong, he replied, “I don’t know, but I seem to play a lot better with Howe and Delvecchio.” Bobby Hull and Howe are the only NHL defectors to the WHA who scored more points in their last years with the established league before their time in the rebel league.

He attempted an NHL comeback with the Detroit Red Wings in 1979, but it was unsuccessful, and he formally retired on October 7, 1979.

Published in 1999 Inductees
Monday, 24 March 2014 20:00

George Armstrong

George Armstrong was born on July 6, 1930 in Bowlands, Ontario. Nicknamed "Chief" due to his Irish-Algonquin heritage, Armstrong was put on the Maple Leafs protected list in 1946 when he was playing with the Copper Cliff Jr. Redmen of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA).

He played for the Toronto Marlboros and spent two seasons with the Leafs American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Pittsburgh Hornets.

He finally made the jump to the big club in 1951-52, playing in 20 games.

George Armstrong would go on to become a fixture at center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was named as captain of the Maple Leafs in 1957 and was called "the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had", by Conn Smythe. Armstrong was an integral part of several successful Maple Leaf teams, winning four Stanley Cup championships.

He retired as a player in 1971 and went on to coach the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1972-73 and 1974-75.

George "Chief" Armstrong was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.

He spent nine years as a scout for the Quebec Nordiques and came back to Toronto in 1988 for a short stint as assistant general manager and scout.

 

Published in 2010 Inductees
Sunday, 30 March 2014 20:00

George Hainsworth

George Hainsworth (June 26, 1895 – October 9, 1950) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played for the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Hainsworth played for the Western Canada Hockey League's Saskatoon Crescents and Saskatoon Sheiks before arriving in Montreal. He replaced Georges Vezina, the Canadiens goaltender who had died of tuberculosis, and who had played every game in team history from the 1910–11 NHA season until the opening game of the 1925–26 NHL season, when the illness proved too much for him, inspiring the team to donate the Vezina Trophy for most valuable goaltender.

Hainsworth proved up to the challenge by winning the Trophy for the 1926–27, 1927–28 and 1928–29 NHL seasons. In 1928–29, he set an all-time record with 22 shutouts and a 0.92 goals against average while only playing 44 games. In 1930 he set an NHL record that still stands, going 270 minutes and 8 seconds without allowing a goal during the playoffs for the Canadiens. He backstopped the Canadiens to back to back Stanley Cups in 1930 and 1931. Hainsworth served as the Canadiens' captain during 1932–33, becoming the second of only eight goalies to serve as an NHL team's captain. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1933 and helped the Maple Leafs reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1935.

Post career

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. In 1998, he was ranked number 46 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 greatest hockey players.

Hainsworth, at the age of 55, was killed in an auto accident on October 9, 1950.

  • He is the all-time leader in professional (including both NHL and WCHL/WHL) shutouts with 104.
  • His 94 career NHL shutouts are third on the NHL's all-time list behind Martin Brodeur's 101 and Terry Sawchuk's 103.
  • Has the second lowest career goals against average with 1.93 behind Alex Connell's 1.91.
  • Holds the single-season shutout record with 22 shutouts in 1928–29.
  • Holds the single-season goals against average record with 0.92 in 1928–29.
Published in 2004 Inductees
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