Toronto Maple Leafs

History of the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the Northeast division of the Eastern conference of the NHL, playing at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario in blue and white. Originally founded in 1917 under the Toronto Arenas name, the Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cups and five division championships.

Minor league affiliates: Toronto Marlies (AHL), Reading Royals (ECHL)

Stanley Cups: 13 total from years 1917-1918, 1921-22, 1931-32, 1941-42, 1944-45, 1946-47, 1947-48, 1948-59, 1950-51, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1966-67

Conference championships: 0 total

Presidents’ Trophies: 0 total

Division championships: 5 total from years 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1999-00

The Toronto team was founded on November 22, 1917 under the Arenas name as an NFL team. The Toronto Blueshirts, the original Toronto team, were eliminated because of management problems with Eddie Livingstone, and the Arena Company bought the Toronto Arena Hockey Club to play under the Arenas name in the NHL. The Arenas secured some of the original members of the Blueshirts, but they lost most of them when Livingstone sued. This caused them to end the season early, with their winning percentage of .278 being the worst in franchise history. However, due to the worldwide flu epidemic in 1919, the Maple Leafs were considered the winners of the Stanley Cup by default.

After that, the Maple Leafs went bankrupt and sold the team to new owners, who changed the name to the Toronto St. Pats in 1917. The name remained until 1927, and those ten years resulted in one Stanley Cup win in 1922 and the only time the team colors changed – from blue to green.

Early Achievements of the Toronto Maple Leafs

In 1927, Conn Smythe took over and changed the name to the Toronto Maple Leafs in

honor of the Maple Leaf Regiment from World War 1. After that season, the colors would remain blue and white, with blue representing the Canadian skies and white representing the snow. Blue also happened to be Toronto’s main sports color.

The Maple Leaf Gardens opened on November 12, 1931. The first NFL all star game was in honor of Maple Leaf Ace Bailey, who’s career ended in 1933 when Boston Bruins player Eddie Shore checked him from behind. During the 1930s, Toronto made it to the final fives in the NHL five times.

The Toronto Maple Leafs in the 20th and 21st Century

The Maple Leafs had three straight Stanley Cup wins against the Montreal Canadiens from 1947-1949. The 1950s plagued the Maple Leafs with the Barilko Curse, when player Gill Barilko scored the winning goal and then disappeared in a plane crash a few months after. The Leafs didn’t win the cup for the rest of the 1950s.

The Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup four times in the 1960s under new owners, with their last win ever in the 1966-1967 season.  After that, the Leafs started to decline, continuously missing playoffs. In 1990, Cliff Fletcher was put in charge of the team, and he acquired Doug Glimour, Dave Andreychuk and Flex Potvin.

In 1996, owner Stavro partnered with Larry Tanenbaum, and they renamed the organization the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). After the lockout of 2005, the team struggled to succeed. In 2008, Brian Burke was hired as the General Manager, instating head coach Randy Carlyle and making numerous player trades.