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Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Toronto Maple Leafs play in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference.

The team was founded in 1917 as The Arenas and won the Stanley Cup in the NHL’s inaugural season.

In 1920 they became the Toronto St. Patrick’s and captured another cup in 1921-22 before changing once again to The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1926.

The team survived through the hardships of The Great Depression and World War 2 to become part of “The Original Six” teams to play in the NHL from 1942-1967 when the NHL expanded.

The Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens would meet in the finals in 1951, with all five games going to overtime. Tod Sloan scored with 42 seconds left in the third period of game five to send it to an extra period, and defenceman Bill Barilko, who had scored only six goals in the regular season, scored the game-winner to win Toronto their fourth Cup in five years. Barilko’s glory, however, was short-lived: he disappeared in a plane crash near Timmins, Ontario, barely four months after that moment. The Leafs would not win the Cup again that decade. This was known as “Barilko’s Curse”, and the Maple Leafs wouldn’t win another Cup until 1962, the year Barilko’s remains were found.

The Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley cup with the last win coming in 1967. Since expansion that year, they haven’t won their respective conference to make an appearance in the finals.

After expansion, Harold Ballard became majority owner of The Maple Leafs in 1972 and proceeded to micromanage and meddle in the teams day to day functions prompting many players to go to the WHL.

It really wasn’t until the arrival of Wendel Clark, the first overall pick in the 1985 draft, and Doug Gilmour in a lop-sided deal with the Calgary Flames in February 1992,  that the Leafs had a competitive team losing in the Conference finals in consecutive years in 1992-1993.

Hoping to meet long-time rival Montreal (who was playing in the Wales Conference Finals against the New York Islanders) in the Cup Finals, the Leafs faced the Los Angeles Kings, led by Wayne Gretzky, in the Campbell Conference Finals. The Leafs led the series 3-2, but dropped Game 6 in Los Angeles. The game was not without controversy, as Gretzky clipped Gilmour in the face with his stick, but referee Kerry Fraser did not call a penalty and Gretzky scored the winning goal moments later. Gretzky’s hat trick in Game 7 finished the Leafs’ run, and it was the Kings that moved on to the Cup Finals against the Canadiens.

The Leafs had another strong season in 1993–94, before falling to the Vancouver Canucks in five games in the Western Conference Finals. At that year’s draft, the Leafs would package Clark in a trade with the Quebec Nordiques that netted them Mats Sundin.

The Mats Sundin era was also somewhat successful seeing the Leafs make 6 straight playoff appearances from 1998-99 to 2003-04. They made 2 more appearances in the Conference finals in 1998-99 and 2001-02 but were unable to reach the finals. During this time the team relocated from Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Center  February 20, 1999.

More recently, the Leafs have missed the playoffs for 4 consecutive seasons and hired Brian Burke as President and General Manager on November 29 2008. Brian won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2006-07 and has a proven record of success.

The leafs have been criticized for being too comfortable with the great fan base in southern Ontario but times are changing. With high picks in the draft they are on the right track to rebuilding. This along with the possibility of a new team in the region, the Maple leafs should be motivated to ice a contender in the near future.

1st Round Draft Picks

Franchise Scoring Leaders
Year # Player Player
G
A
Pts
2009 7 Nazem Kadri Mats Sundin
420
567
987
2008 5 Luke Schenn Darryl Sittler
389
527
916
2007 Traded to San Jose Dave Keon
365
493
858
2006 13 Jiri Tlusty Borje Salming
148
620
768
2005 21 Tuukka Rask George Armstrong
296
417
713
2004 Traded to NY Rangers Ron Ellis
332
308
640
2003 Traded to San Jose Frank Mahovlich
296
303
599
2002 24 Alex Steen Bob Pulford
251
312
563
2001 17 Carlo Colaiacovo Ted Kennedy
231
329
560
2000 24 Brad Boyes Rick Vaive
299
238
537
Arena: Air Canada Centre Toronto Maple Leafs Logo
image from www.aircanadacentre.com
Location: 40 Bay Street, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario
First Hockey Game: Feb. 20/1999
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens
Capacity hockey: 18,800
Ground broke on the ACC in February 1997. It is home to the Maple Leafs, Raptors (NBA) and the Rock (NLL). There are 113 suites, 40 platium lounges. Official Site