- Toronto Maple Leafs
- November 12, 2018
Owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a professional ice hockey team, based in Toronto, Ontario. They play in the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League and are one of the oldest hockey teams (1917-present), considered the second most valuable franchise in the NHL, after the New York Rangers. They won the Stanley Cup for 13 times.
The Toronto Maple Leafs colors are white and blue. Since February 1999, their home arena is Scotiabank Arena. The club was one of the six NHL teams to have endured through the period of League retrenchment during the Great Depression.
The early years
At the beginning of their career, in 1917, the team didn’t have an official name, but they were often called the Torontos or the Blueshirts. During their inaugural season (1917-18) they won the Stanley Cup and they made the first exchange in the NHL history, sending Sammy Hebert to the Ottawa Senators in return for cash.
Due to financial problems and severe legal disputes, in 1919, the team was sold and bought by the owners of the St. Patricks Hockey Club. Their name was changed to Toronto St. Patricks, as well as their color, which was changed from blue to green. In the 1921-22 season, the club won their second Stanley Cup, defeating the Vancouver Millionaires with a 5-1 victory.
In 1927, Conn Smythe, the Toronto Varsity Blues coach bought the team, renamed them the Maple Leafs and changed their color scheme to blue and white. In the 1931-32 season, the 15th season of the NHL, the Maple Leafs won their third Stanley Cup, triumphing over the Chicago Black Hawks, the Montreal Maroons and the New York Rangers in the finals. The Kid Line, composed from Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau and Charlie Conacher, led the team and played an essential role in the winning. From 1933, the Maple Leafs qualified for the Stanley Cup finals five times in seven years; however, they lost each time.
Three Stanley Cups in a row
Over the time, the Maple Leafs made some crucial changes and added numerous talented hockey stars in their team, such as: George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, Dave Keon, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Bob Pulford, Allan Stanley and Frank Mahovlich. Coached by Punch Imlah, the club won three Stanley Cups in a row: 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64 and one more in the 1966-67 season.
The dark Ballard era
During the 70s, the Leafs went through a series of disputes and changes due to the leadership of Harold Ballard. Shortly after the death of the Leafs president, Stafford Smythe, Ballard bought his shares and gained the control of the club. Six months later, he was convicted of fraud, tax evasion and theft, spending a year behind the bars at the Milhaven Penitentiary.
When the direct rival of the NHL, World Hockey Association (WHA) began operations, Ballard and lost some of the most valuable team members to the WHA, a decision that negatively affected the Maples activity in the following decades.
After the death of Ballard in 1900, Steve Stavro purchased the team and Cliff Fletcher was hired as the General Manager. In attempt to rebuild the Maples, Fletcher hired Pat Burns as coach and added new players through trades and free acquisitions. In the 1999-2000 season, the Toronto Leafs hosted the 50th NHL All Star game at Air Canada Centre. They won their first division title in 37 years and recorded their first 100-point season.
2014 – Present
In 2014, Brendan Shanahan became the president of the Maple Leafs and on 20th of May 2015, Mike Babcock was named as the new coach of the team. In the 2015-2016 season, they finished last in the NHL for the second time in their career, the first time being throughout the 1984-85 season.
During the 2017-18 season, the Maples defeated Montreal in the final game of the regular season with a 4-2 victory but they lost the first round to the Boston Bruins in seven games. They finished the season with 105 points.
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