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The Toronto Maple Leafs were founded in November of 1917 as the Toronto Arenas,
replacing the Quebec Bulldogs as one of the four teams in the then brand new
National Hockey League. Lawyer Eddie Livingstone was the founder and the
Arenas played their first game on December 19, 1917. Despite winning the
Stanley Cup in the league's first year, the Toronto Arenaswould struggle
and go on to become the Toronto St. Patricks in 1919. In 1922 the St. Pats
team surprised many pundits by defeating Ottawa and Vancouver to win
Toronto's second Stanely Cup championship. But in 1927 a new company
headed by Conn Smythe and Hugh Aird purchased the club and renamed it
the Maple Leafs. They also began construction of the Maple Leafs Gardens,
where the Leafs would begin playing in the 1931-32 season. Their first
season in the new building also saw them win the Stanley Cup, sweeping
the New York Rangers in three straight games.
Throughout the rest of the 1930s, the Maple Leafs appeared in numerous Stanley
Cup finals, but were unable to take home the ultimate prize. In 1940 Hap Day
took over the reigns as coach of the Maple Leafs. He would oversee what was
for the longest time the greatest comeback in sporting history, when the Leafs
came back from a three games to none deficit in the 1942 playoffs to defeat
the Detroit Red Wings in their best of seven series. The comeback brought
the Stanley Cup back to Toronto after a ten year absense. The Leafs had
the Red Wings' number in 1947 as they defeated the Detroit club in another
seven game final to win the Stanley Cup. The latter half of the 1940's would
be dominated by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The "Blue and White" would win
four straight championships from 1947-51 defeating Montreal and Detroit,
twice each. 1955 saw the end of a Maple Leafs era as Conn Smythe stepped
down as general manager of the club. The Leafs would struggle for the rest
of the decade, finishing last overall for the first time in the 1956-57 season.
By 1958 Toronto had signed Johnnie Bower, Carl Brewer, hired Punch Imlach
as general manager, and acquired Eddie Shack.
By 1960, the Maple Leafs were back in the Stanley Cup finals, losing to the Montreal Canadiens. After a ten year drought, the Leafs brought home the cup in 1962 by defeating the Chicago
Blackhawks. This win began a streak of three straight championships and a total
of four for the decade of the 1960s. They defeated the Detroit Red Wings in
1963 and 1964, and the Montreal Canadiens in 1967. Meanwhile on the
ownership front the team switched hands to Harold Ballard. Even though he
was charged with tax evasion and spent a year in jail, Ballard would go on to
operate the Maple Leafs with an iron fist for the next two decades. Though
no where near the powerhouse team of the 1940s or 1960s, the Leafs played
a competitive brand of hockey. One of the highlights for the franchise was a
1976 game against the Boston Bruins when Darryl Sittler recorded an NHL
record high 10 points in one game. The late 1970s were converted into a
sideshow by Harold Ballard. His antics included firing Red Kelley, hiring Roger
Nielson, firing him and hiring him back, and once again firing him along with Bob
Davidson - all in the span of weeks.
On the ice, the Leafs were in and out of the playoffs. They missed the postseason four times in eight years through the 1980s. Toronto fans were still entertained by numerous individuals stars like Rick Vaive and Wendel Clark. April 1990 saw the passing away of Harold Ballard, leaving the venerable Toronto Maple Leafs franchise in a mess. As the front office troubles was being worked on, the Leafs were a struggling team on the ice. 1991 saw the arrival of veteran hockey executive Cliff Fletcher as the
president and general manager of the club. Fletcher would make several on and
off ice moves to start the rebuilding process. He acquired Doug Gilmour in a
multi-player deal with his ex-team, the Calgary Flames; replaced Tom Watt
with Pat Burns behind the bench; and acquired Grant Fuhr. The 1992 regular
season saw an upstart Maple Leafs team guided by Pat Burns accumulate
99 points in the regular season. They defeated the heavily favored Detroit Red
Wings in seven; battled the St. Louis Blues in a seven game series; before losing
to the Los Angles Kings in a controversial seven game series. In 1994 the Maple
Leafs lost in the conference finals, this time to the Vancouver Canucks. By 1996
the once mighty Maple Leafs seemed to have landed on hard times. They went
through a cost cutting binge as players like Mike Gartner, Dave Gagner, Doug Gilmour,
and Dave Ellet were traded. The team finished last in the central divison and led to the termination of Cliff Fletcher as its general manager. Ken Dryden was hired and formed the core of a management team handed the job of rebuilding the team once again.
Pat Quinn was hired as coach in 1998 and employed an 'offense first' system opening up
the game. The high scoring Leafs were a hit with the fans, but were unable to achieve
playoff success in a defense minded NHL. On February 20, 1999, the Maple Leafs
officially moved out of the fabled Maple Leaf Gardens and opened their new home,
Air Canada Center. Their first game was an exciting 3-2 overtime win over
longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. Success continued in Toronto as they
finished the 1999-2000 season above the 100 point barrier for the first time in
franchise history, in the process winning their first division title in 37 years. The
Leafs made quick work of the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the post-
season, but lost out to the tight checking New Jersey Devils in six games. The
following year's playoff run once again saw the Leafs face off against Ottawa. They
swept the Senators in 4 games behind an exceptional performance by goalie Curtis
Joseph. But again, they lost to the defensively tight Devils in six games in the second
With things clicking in Leaf land the team was a shoe in for the 2002 playoffs. They overpowered a young and fiesty New York Islanders team in a rough seven game series. The second round had them face their provincial rivals from Ottawa and the Leafs took the Senators in a seven games set. But they ran into the Cinderella story of that year's playoff in the Carolina Hurricans and their diminutive goaltender Arturs Irbe. The Hurricanes defeated the Leafs in a six game series. By this time Pat Quinn was in control of hockey operations (as general manager and coach) and the Leafs were unable to re-sign free agent star goalie Curtis Joseph. As Joseph signed with the Red Wings, the team quickly turned around and signed Eddie Belfour and did not really miss a beat in the regular season. But the playoffs were a different story as the Leafs lost in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers.
1912/13: After a 1-year delay caused by construction delays for the Arena Gardens, the team once known as the Renfrew Millionaires, finally takes the ice under the moniker Blue Shirts. Now owned by M.J. Quinn the Blue Shirts were 1 of 2 teams in Toronto to join the NHA playing at the Arena Gardens, which was the first arena to use artificial ice. One that artificial ice the Blue Shirts were led by Frank Nighbor who paced the team with 25 goals. Speedy forward Scotty Davidson also helped chipping in 19 goals while Harry Cameron led on defense. Cameron was a staple of the team's defense as he was one of the first defensemen to perform end to end rushes as well the first player to curve his slap shots. However, they would only manage to finish in 3rd place with a sub .500 record of 9-11.
1913/14: Despite losing leading scorer Frank Nighbor to the rival PCHA, the Blue Shirts were much stronger on the ice finishing tied for the NHA title with the Montreal Canadiens with a record of 13-7. Without Nighbor, the Blue Shirts were led by Scotty Davidson's 23 goals and Jack Walker's 20 goals, while Harry Cameron had a career year scoring 15 goals, as Hap Holme anchored the team in goal.
At seasons end the Blue Shirts and Canadiens had a two game, total goals series
to decide the NHA and Stanley Cup championship. The Blue Shirts would win the
series 6-2, as they rapped up the series in Game 2 at home in what was the first
Stanley Cup game to be played on artificial ice, in the process bringing the city of
Toronto it's first Stanley Cup. After beating the Canadiens, theBlue Shirts would
easily fend off a challenge for the Stanley Cup by the PCHA Champion Victoria
Aristocrats sweeping them in 3 straight to hold on to the cup.
1914/15: Following their Stanley Cup Championship the Blue Shirts struggled all season
and finished in 4th place with a disappointing record of 8-12. Leading teams in scoring
was Cully Wilson who scored 22 goals, while Harry Cameron continued to anchor the
defense chipping in 12 goals.
TMLFever.com does not hold the copyright on any of these logos, it is displayed here only for historical documentation.
Toronto Arenas Logo 1912-1917
Toronto Blue Shirts (NHA) 1912/13-1916/17
Toronto Arenas 1917/18-1918/19
Toronto St Patricks 1919/20-1926/27
Tornto Maple Leafs 1926/27-Present
NOTE: The Maple Leafs connection to the NHA Blue Shirts is not officially recognized
1915/16: Prior to this season, Blue Shirts new owner Eddie Livingstone, who had taken over the franchise from Frank Robinson who enlisted into service for World War I, purchases the other Toronto franchise, the Toronto Shamrocks. When the other owners complained about owning dual teams and demanded he sell one of his franchises, Livingstone promptly merged the Shamrocks into his Blue Shirts creating one superior organization. This shenanigan was only the beginning of trouble between Livingston and the other NHA owners, which would escalate the following year. In additional the Blue Shirts signed the Denneny brothers, Corb and Cy. Cy scored 24 goals while Corb chipped in 20 as Duke Keats scored 22. These three players provided the Blue Shirts with a dynamic offense, however because of their defensive woes, the Blue Shirts finished with a record of 9-14 finishing in last place.
1916/17: The Blue Shirts jumped to a 7-7 record, led by the scoring of Duke Ketas who scored 15 goals and Corb Denneny who had 14, picking up the slack from Cy Denneny, who had left the team for the Ottawa Senators. As the season wore on, the other owners of the NHA became increasingly annoyed by Edward Livingstone's unethical business practices. Livingstone was always at odds with the league over, travel costs, salaries, scheduling, and dispersion of money throughout the league. In fact he was notorious for having a gang of toughs around to try to intimidate his rivals. Fed up, the others decided to throw Livingstone and his Blue Shirts, out of the league. The players were all assigned to the other clubs. Livingstone was livid and threatened a lawsuit against the owners. The other owners decided to avoid the headaches of court and form a whole new league the next season to be called the NHL leaving Livingstone and his franchise in now a one team league. However, when the Quebec Bulldogs were unable to take the ice Toronto was allowed back into the league. However in one of sports greatest injustices the Arena offically owned the team, and even though most of their team was the players from Livingstone's Blue Shirts, it was considered a separate team, prompting several lawsuits which threatened the future of professional hockey. Livingstone would eventually lose his lawsuits, as the "new" Toronto franchise would develop into one of the NHL's cornerstone franchise later taking the familiar nickname Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs jersey has changed 10 times in it's history while the famous Leaf crest was re-designed 4 times
The first Leaf jersey wasn't very impressive, it was a simple plain white jersey, but it did sport the soon to be famous, 47-point maple leaf crest as the jersey's centerpiece.
1928-1934 The Leaf's first official "Home" jersey was introduced in 1928 and it was blue with a series of thick and thin white horizontal stripes around the sleaves and waist. It's centerpiece was what is the now original and famous 47-point maple leaf crest.
The first major change came in 1934. The excessive horizontal striping was now replaced by two thin stripes on both the sleeves and waist and in 1942 the original 47-point leaf was changed to a 35-point leaf.
In 1958, with Six Stanley Cups to its credit, the Leaf's white road jersey was altered to include a solid blue yolking on the shoulder and a six-eyelet lace and tie at the neck was also added. The home jersey remained the same until 1967.
A True Leaf at heart is also a True Canadian at heart! So, it was no surprise that on Canada's 100th year of greatness, the Leaf's commemorated both their home and road jerseys with an 11-point maple leaf; one very similar to the newly introduced leaf on Canada's official flag.
The thin horizontal stripes were also replaced a single set of the old thin-thick-thin stripes (1928) on both the arms and waist. These changes were just prior to the 1967 playoffs and fittingly "Canada's Team" took home the Lord Stanley Mug once again, their 11th in 40 years!
In 1970, the year the Leaf jersey was completely redesigned, White officialy became the "Home" colour. An extention of the blue yolk from the neck to the wrist replaced the arm striping and the thin-thick-thin waist striping was replaced by a thick single stripe. They didn't stop there either, as minature leaves were also to the shoulders to complete the new design.
Once again, in 1992, the Leaf was completely re-designed into a combined mixture of both old and new. The two thin stripes on the arms and waist (1934) were brought back and the six-eyelet lace and tie at the neck was removed. The solid blue yolk from neck to wrist was replaced with a solid white yolk that fell past the shoulders and the old 35-point Leaf (1942) replaced the minature leaves on the shoulders. The only things that did not change were the jersey color and the leaf 11-point maple leaf crest!
The current Leaf jersey brought a few changes. The lettering of the numbers and player names were harmonized to match the same font as the lettering on the Leaf crest, and an silver trim outline was added to the edge of the numbers for readability. Also, their new stylized "TML" logo replaced the minature leaves on the shoulders.
The material however, changed completely. The new jersey is now composed of a durable mesh allowing for improved breathability and a more comfortable feel.
1998 - Present
The Leaf's introduced a "Heritage" third jersey in 1998. The jersey featured the 35-point Leaf crest from 1942 on the front and solid blue yolking along the shoulders and the six-eyelet lace and tie at the neck, both the from 1958 revision. The jersey was in commemoration of the final National Hockey League season at the venerable Maple Leaf Gardens and this special jersey was to be worn for five home games and five road games, all against Original 6 teams.
This "Heritage" jersey is now the team's third "Alternate" jersey which they still tend to dawn for games against the original 6 teams: Montreal, Detroit, Boston, Chicago and the NY Rangers
Also in 1998, Tom Pedricks of Ryan & Deslauries designed the "Memories and Dreams" patch, which was another tribute to Maple Leafs Gardens and was worn on the team's regular home and away jerseys, as well as the heritage (now their alternate) jersey.
Joined NHL as the Toronto Arenas in 1917 the NHL's first season plays home games at Mutual St Arena.
Stanley cup Champions 1917 -18 (inaugaral NHL Stanley Cup ) sold and rename Toronto St Patricks in 1919 - 20.
Stanley Cup Champions 1921 - 22.
Sold to Conn Smythe in Febuary 1927 for $200 000 Renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Team moves to Maple Leaf Gardens in Nov 1931.
Stanley cup Champions 1931 -32. (first season at the Gardens)
In 1940 Conn Smythe "gives" Dick Irvin, his coach, to the Montreal Canadiens to allow Hap Day to become coach while Major Smythe went overseas during World War Two.
Stanley cup Champions 1941 -42 team records the only recovery in the history of the finals from a 3 game deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 3 in 1944 Conn Smythe is wounded in action in France.
Stanley cup Champions 1944 -45.
Frank Selke leaves Toronto and becomes Montreal s General Manager.
Stanley cup Champions 1946 -47.
Stanley cup Champions 1947 -48.
Stanley cup Champions 1948 -49. the first NHL Stanley Cup "Triple"
Stanley cup Champions 1950 -51 "the Overtime Series" all 5 games went to OT with the Leafs beating the Canadiens 4 games to 1.
Punch Imlach becomes manager in 1958.
Harold Ballard John Bassett and Stafford Smythe acquire full control of the team in November 1961.
Stanley cup Champions 1961 -62.
Stanley cup Champions 1962 -63.
Stanley cup Champions 1963 -64 The Maple Leafs Second Triple.
Stanley cup Champions 1966 -67 The Centenial Cup.
In 1967 the league began its first of many expansions ending the era of the "Original Six".
From 1968 to 1990 , these years are best not really mentioned, however, this is not to take away the fact that many of the players and even a couple of the coaches were extremely talented and are some of the most favored and remembered of the "Leaf Alumni" ,especially to fans under the age of 40.
Harold Ballard dies in 1990 ...the whole organization and holdings of the team becomes embroiled in a massive struggle for owner ship between family members and other prominent board members.
Donald Giffin assumes control of the team.
Cliff Fletcher named President and GM , bringing his more than 20 years of NHL experience including a Stanley Cup in Calgary in 1989.
Fletcher pulls a massive trade with Calgary ,acquiring Doug Gilmour for the second time in his career.
In 1992 - 93 under the guidance of Pat Burns and the tenacity of Doug Gilmour, the Leafs come within a hair of reaching the finals for the first time since '67 ,losing in the seventh game to Wayne Gretzky...although he is the greatest player in the history of the game I'll always "hate" him just a bit for this...especially since the Kings went on to lose to those most despised Canadiens in 5 games in the finals.
Team begins proposals for a new Arena complex, in conflict however with the already being built NBA Air Canada Centre in the summer of 1997 Ken Dryden, former Montreal Canadien goaltender, becomes President.
In 1998 Maple Leaf Gardens Limited buys the Toronto Raptors and the Air Canada Centre (aka "The Hanger"or "ACC") after making some changes to the intial plans to make it a fitting home for the Maple Leaf Hockey Club.
On Febuary 13 1999 the Toronto Maple Leafs played their final game at Maple Leaf Gardens,(losing to the Chicago Black Hawks, who also beat the Leafs in the very first game ever.
Played there) ending its tenur as home to the club for more than 67 years the building however for the moment still is in function as home to the OHL junior A team St Michaels Majors and the National Lacrosse Leagues Toronto Rock who won the Championship in 1999 ,their first season in the league since being bought by a group including several members of the current Leaf organization
played the first game at The Hanger on Feb 20 1999 defeating the Canadiens in overtime.