Before the Toronto Maple Leafs played the Ottawa Senators Saturday night, the team announced its newest additions to Legends Row.
Legends Row has been a fitting tribute to the great Toronto Maple Leafs players of the past. Ten players have already received their place including; Ted Kennedy, Johnny Bower, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Syl Apps, George Armstrong, Turk Broda, Tim Horton, Dave Keon and Mats Sundin.
Joining those players are four polarizing figures in Leafs history, with Wendel Clark, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich and Charlie Conacher earning their place. It was not a surprise to see these players earn the right to have a commemorative statue made. although they will be the last for a while, as Leafs President Brendan Shanahan explained on Saturday night.
More from Toronto Maple Leafs
- Maple Leafs Rumours: Half of NHL teams interested in Ilya Mikheyev
- Toronto Maple Leafs: How to address the goaltender position
- Leafs reward Timothy Liljegren with extension after breakout season
- Maple Leafs: Jack Campbell situation becoming increasingly uncertain
- Jason Spezza retires, joins Toronto Maple Leafs front office
Conacher was known as “The Big Bomber”, and got his nickname because of his size and hard shot. He was a part of the famous kid line with featured Conacher, Joe Primeau and Harvey “Busher” Jackson.
In 459 NHL games Conacher had 225 goals, 173 assists for 398 points. He was named the second captain in Leafs history and was a dominant player on the ice during his time in Toronto.
Most importantly, he won the Stanley Cup in 1931-32 with the Leafs, scoring six goals and two assists in seven games.
Kelly was brought out of retirement by head coach Punch Imlach, who moved him from defence to centre. He was responsible for the breakout of Mahovlich and was a central figure in the Leafs dynasty during the 1960s.
In eight seasons with the Leafs, Kelly won the Stanley Cup four times, including the last one in 1967. He also coached the Leafs from 1973 to 1977, after a coaching stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In 1,316 regular season games, Kelly scored 281 goals and 542 assists for 823 points.
“The Big M” won the Calder Trophy in his first season with the Leafs, despite their struggles in the standings. Mahovlich was put on a line with Kelly and Bob Nevin and together the trio would lead the Leafs in scoring during the 1960-61 season. (Mahovlich scored 48 goals.)
Despite his run-ins with Imlach, Mahovlich was an integral part of the Leafs dynasty in the 1960s. He also played for Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union and made stops with Detroit and Montreal to finish off his NHL career.
Clark still owns the Leafs record for goals in a season by a rookie, with 34. He led the Leafs out of a rocky decade during the 1980s, to become a dangerous group that was a legitimate contender in the 1990s.
Clark was the last Leafs player to be drafted first overall, until they selected Auston Matthews this past year. While he did not win a Stanley Cup with the Leafs, Clark did define and carry out the identity of the team with his tough style of hockey, while adding goals in the process.
Clark’s best season came in 1993-94, when he had 46 goals and 30 assists for 76 points. This was the only time he scored more than 40 goals and the second time he totaled more than 60 points.
If this is the last group to get statues for a while, the Leafs made a strong choice of players to be a part of a great tradition that is Legends Row.