A hundred years in Toronto

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 19: Toronto Maple Leafs alternate jerseys hang in the dressing room before the Leafs play the Carolina Hurricanes at the Air Canada Centre on December 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Next Century Game marks the culmination of a year of Maple Leafs Centennial Anniversary celebrations that paid tribute to the teams, the accomplishments, and the memories of the first 100 years of Maple Leafs hockey. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 19: Toronto Maple Leafs alternate jerseys hang in the dressing room before the Leafs play the Carolina Hurricanes at the Air Canada Centre on December 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Next Century Game marks the culmination of a year of Maple Leafs Centennial Anniversary celebrations that paid tribute to the teams, the accomplishments, and the memories of the first 100 years of Maple Leafs hockey. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate a “Turn of the Century” today, let’s reflect.

The Maple Leafs are a team with a rich history. A history in which is appreciated by those who cheer for the blue and white, but mocked by some.

An Original Six franchise to the league, winner of 13 Stanley Cup Championships and home to many of the all-time greats. Their last championship came in the last season before the expansion, 1967. Critics of the team will throw that year around as if it is a curse. However, if the Chicago Cubs can win a World Series, the Maple Leafs can win a Stanley Cup.

So, looking back at one hundred years as a franchise, how did we get here?


A Century to remember…

Within their first season as a franchise, they won the first ever Stanley Cup Championship for the 1917-18 campaign. However, to start things out in the NHL, they would go under the name of the Arenas, which would be the team name until 1919. Following the 1919 season, the franchise found another name, the Toronto St. Pats. They would find some more success under this name, pulling in another Stanley Cup during the 1921-22 season. Ultimately, ownership would change the name to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927 and under the maple leaf they would continue to play.

The franchise’s run with as The St. Pats would be the only run without blue and white. For most, it is weird to think that they ever played under any other colour. However, they played under green and white, so every Maple Leafs fan has a bit of green and white in them as well.

Anyway, back to some reflection. Throughout name changes in the early part of the past century, they found solace in the Maple Leafs. Under the Leafs crest that we are all so familiar with, the club would win 11 more Stanley Cups. Through their winnings of 11, they would create a streak of three in a row (1946-1949). For many of young Leaf fans who are new to witnessing the rivalry between the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, just know, it runs thick.

Prior to their three-peat, the Leafs and Wings faced off in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final, where the Wings would at one point lead the series 3-0. In need of a miracle, the Leafs would do something that no team has done since. After falling three games to none, something awoke within the Leafs team. The entire team turned it up to an entirely different level. Bottom-line forward and unsung hero, Don Metz, would score a hat trick in game four. Then, Metz would score the game winner in Game Five, bringing the series to 3-2. Following back to back standout performances by his fourth liner, goaltender Turk Broda would shut out the Wings in Game Six. This would set up a Game Seven in which the Leafs would win 3-1 with Sweeney Schriner scoring two in the third. However, even bigger than the Stanley Cup victory itself, the Leafs did something accomplished a feat never done before. In winning the 1942 Stanley Cup, the Maple Leafs completed the first and only “reverse sweep” in Finals history.

The 1960’s… 

The 1960’s would see the last of the Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victories. With a three-peat through the 1961-62 and 1963-64 seasons, their last would come in the 1966-67 campaign. They would be the last championship team of the Original Six Era. However, the decade was about more than championships to this team. Known as one of the greatest Maple Leafs of all time, as well as one of the greatest goaltenders. Johnny Bower put forward some of his greatest years in the early stages of the decade. His best season came in 1963-64 campaign where he would post a 2.11 GAA and a 0.933 SV%. Through 51 games played, he won 24, lost 16 and tied 11 times, in his 24 victories, he earned five shutouts. His number, 1, was retired on Oct. 15 2015 where both he and Broda (also wore #1) were recognized.

The now…

50 years is half a century and that is how long it has been since the Maple Leafs last hoisted the Cup. However, led by new leadership and a whole lineup of potential Maple Leaf greats, there is hope. 2016 first overall pick, Auston Matthews. 2015 fourth overall pick, Mitchell Marner. 2014 eighth overall pick, William Nylander. The man leading them all? Stanley Cup Champion head coach, Mike Babcock.

The team rests in good hands and has the tools to get it done, could this they be the next dynasty?

So, for a century that has passed and the century to come.

We will continue to #StandWitness.

Next: Do Not Fear for the Toronto Maple Leafs