The True Hero Behind the Toronto Maple Leafs Success

The True Hero Behind the Toronto Maple Leafs Success
The True Hero Behind the Toronto Maple Leafs Success / Anna Moneymaker/GettyImages

There's someone special behind every successful team in sports. Most know the names of the Toronto Maple Leafs players, coaches, and front office, but who they don't know is the real hero of the franchise, the equipment manager.

The Toronto Maple Leafs equipment manager is nothing short of amazing. His name is Bobby Hastings and he doesn't work alone. He leads a staff of five.

Hastings is the head equipment manager for the Leafs. His assistant equipment managers are Chris McKeago and Tom Blatchford. They work with David Roper, the Equipment Assistant and Peter Flagler, the Assistant to the Equipment Staff.

Without this crew, the Maple Leafs would not be enjoying the success that has taken them to the playoffs.

The True Hero Behind the Toronto Maple Leafs Success

Not only is this team responsible for making sure the players have everything they need to perform at their best, but Hastings' group are also key players behind the scenes. Hastings himself travels with the team and stands behind the bench for all Leafs games.

Hastings' attention to detail and dedication to his job make him an integral part of the the team's success. He has gone viral on multiple occasions for the speed at which he is able to locate a player's backup stick and pass it to them if the one they're using on the ice breaks or is dropped.

While the play is ongoing, Hastings moves from stick to stick on the bench, keeping a hand on whichever Maple Leafs player's spare twig who is handling the puck at that moment. He maintains a dedicated focus that most cannot even fathom. It's clear that Hastings lines sticks up each the same way each game and has memorized that order to pull the necessary one in less than a second.

That's not all the Leafs equipment manager does. Hastings and his team have a number of important tasks. They include:

Hastings is responsible for all of the players' equipment, including skates, sticks, helmets, and pads. He ensures that everything is in good condition and replaces any damaged or worn-out items. This may be the most important of all his tasks.

NHL games are played at an incredible pace. To keep up, players need their equipment to be flawless. That includes maintaining sharp skates and and for some, dry gloves. (Watch the bench closely during play to see Hastings collecting and returning players' gloves.) While everyone else is taking a break between periods, Hastings is often busy ensuring skate sharpenings are perfect.

Everything has to not only be exactly as expected. Hockey players, especially ones in the NHL, can be very particular about their equipment.


What some may forget is that teams outside the NHL, without an equipment manager, see their gear begin to smell funky. That is, if the players don't wash their own equipment, it will quickly become evident to everyone in the room. Hastings and his team ensure that that never happens in Toronto.

Laundry includes the cleaning of jerseys, equipment, pads, and gloves. For pieces that look to have worn out, Hastings will remove it for the player and replace it with something more functional. Throughout the season, the Leafs will often sell game worn items, which are those pieces of equipment Hastings has replaced. This includes helmets, gloves, sticks, and sometimes even goalie pads.

Packing for Road Trips

Hastings is responsible for packing all of the Maple Leafs' gear when they hit the road. He has the given task of ensuring equipment arrives at each rink on time. While that may sound simple, it is actually quite involved. It is his team who coordinates the flights and delivery companies of all the NHL cities the Buds visit.

Locker Room Setup

Hastings ensures that each player has a clean and organized space to get ready. When players travel, they don't need to worry about whether they'll have shoulder pads waiting for them. Hastings has all the gear is laid out and ready to go.

Assisting the Medical Team

Hastings works closely with the Leafs medical staff to ensure that injured players have everything they need to recover quickly. He provides the medical team with special equipment and ensures that they are comfortable during games and practices. The medical team remains fully stocked in everything they need to tend to the players.


Hastings is the unsung hero behind the bench. Hopefully, he has enough magic in him this postseason to help propel the Toronto Maple Leafs deep into the playoffs and allow the fantastic equipment team to continue doing what they do best, helping the Leafs shine.