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Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs

The NHL Leafs: An Original Six Team

It’s hard to imagine an NHL without Toronto Maple Leafs hockey. The NHL Leafs, along with the Montreal Canadiens, are the oldest active teams in the league, and, the Toronto NHL team is also an Original Six team. (Not the same thing — see our article on the Original Six for details.)

While the Maple Leafs have had a lot of ups and downs over the decades — the ups include 13 Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup wins, by the way — the future definitely looks bright with the addition of Mike Babcock as head coach, electrifying young forward Auston Matthews and several other important pieces in place.

The Toronto Maple Leafs History

What is now officially The Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club is a franchise formed long ago to compete in the newly formed NHL in 1917. Initially, the team went by the name “Toronto.” The franchise was also called the Toronto Arenas and the St. Patricks before becoming the Maple Leafs in 1927, a name change initiated by the team’s new owner, Conn Smythe. “Toronto” got off to the fastest possible start, winning the NHL’s first Stanley Cup in 1917-18 by knocking off the Vancouver Millionaires 3-2. The NHL Leafs won another Stanley Cup in the 1930s, a whopping five during their 1940s dynasty, one in the 1950s and four in the 1960s, when the Leafs again dominated NHL play.

The team’s last Cup was 1966-67. The ultra-loyal Toronto fans have had a long wait since then, but as noted, there are plenty of reasons for optimism at Scotiabank Arena today. It should also be noted that the Leafs had a number of strong seasons and playoff showings during the 1990s and 2000s.

The Toronto NHL team official colors are blue and white. The blue maple leaf primary logo, dating back to 1928, is one of the most recognizable in all of sports. The blue leaf has undergone five fairly minor design revisions over the years, the most recent in 2016. The first team logo, used from 1917-19, was simply a blue “ARENAS” with a big “T” between the “E” and the “A.” “ST PATS” in white script on a green oval background was the squad’s logo from 1920-27.

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs Team and Individual Achievements

  • The NHL Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cups — second-most behind the Montreal Canadiens. The Toronto wins came in 1918, 1922, 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967.
  • Though the Leafs have won five division championships (1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38 and 1999-2000), the team has yet to win a conference championship.
  • The Leafs have retired the numbers of 19 players:
    • #1 —Turk Broda, two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie who led the team in the 1930s and 1940s.
    • #1 — Johnny Bower, another two-time Vezina winner who minded the net during the team’s dominant run in the 1960s.
    • #4 — Hap Day, defenseman in the 1920s and 1930s who also served as Leafs coach and assistant manager.
    • #4 — Red Kelly, defenseman and center who won three Stanley Cups with the Leafs in the 1960s.
    • #5 — Bill Barilko, Leafs standout defenseman who mysteriously disappeared in 1951. His remains were found amid small plane wreckage discovered in 1962 in a remote part of Ontario.
    • #6 — Ace Bailey, Leafs right winger in the 1920 and 1930s. Forced to retire due to a severe injury sustained in a fight, Bailey was the first player in any professional sport to have a jersey retired.
    • #7 — King Clancy, defenseman for the Leafs in the 1930s, for whom the King Clancy Memorial Trophy is named.
    • #7 — Tim Horton, star defenseman for the Leafs in the 1950s and 1960s, who holds a team record for playing in 486 consecutive games. Horton also founded what is now Tim Hortons Inc.; he died in a single-car crash in 1974 when he was 44 years old.
    • #9 — Charlie Conacher, right winger from the 1930s known as “The Big Bomber.” He led the NHL in goals five times, and later had a successful career as a coach in the OHA.
    • #9 — Ted Kennedy, center during the 1940s and 1950s with five Stanley Cups and also a Hart Trophy.
    • #10 — Syl Apps, center in the 1930s and 1940s with three Stanley Cups, one Calder Trophy and one Lady Byng Trophy.
    • #10 — George Armstrong, right winger who holds the team record for games played at 1,188. A team captain for 13 seasons, Armstrong played 21 seasons for the Leafs, the only NHL team for which he played.
    • #13 — Mats Sundin, high-scoring center who played for the Leafs during the 1990s and 2000s.
    • #14 — Dave Keon, a high-scoring center who played 15 seasons for the Leafs in the 1960s and 1970s.
    • #17 — Wendel Clark, strong-scoring center and defenseman who played for the Leafs a total of 13 seasons, and who captained the team twice in the 1990s.
    • #21 — Borje Salming, defenseman for the Leafs from 1973-74 through 1988-89, and one of the first European players to have a major impact in the NHL.
    • #27 — Frank Mahovlich, left winger for the Leafs from 1957-58 through 1967-68.
    • #27 — Darryl Sittler, center for the Leafs from 1970-71 through 1981-82. He holds an NHL record for most points scored in a game (10 points versus the Boston Bruins, with six goals and four assists).
    • #93 — Doug Gilmour, center for the Leafs in the 1990s who was a tenacious defender and also set several team scoring records.