Former Maple Leaf George Armstrong Dies

By Ben Hamill - January 26 2021

Former Maple Leaf George Armstrong Dies

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong, who led the outfit to an unbelievable four Stanley Cups in the 1960s, has died aged 90. Armstrong, who served as captain across an impressive 12 seasons, and played for his beloved Leafs his entire career, died on Sunday.

The formidable Armstrong played 1,188 games for blue-and-white, which is a franchise record. During this time, he scored 296 goals and assisted 417 more across 21 seasons – including a stellar 13 as captain of the team. He added even more achievements to his tally across 110 games played in the playoffs, having managed to add 26 goals and 34 assists more to his phenomenal Maple Leafs resume.

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Making History

Another achievement of historical significance is the fact that Armstrong, who was fondly known as “the Chief”, was one of the very first professional hockey players of Indigenous descent. Inducted into Hockey’s Hall of Fame in 1975, Armstrong would roughly four decades later be voted No. 12 on the Maple Leafs’ greatest players of all time in the franchise’s 100th season.

Armstrong wasn’t only a phenomenal sportsman and player, said Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan in a statement honouring the late legend, but he was also a fantastic human being – proud, yet humble at the same time. Even though he played and captained more games for Toronto than any other player in the history of the franchise, said Shanahan, he never chased the spotlight or any sort of fame.

Even on the day Armstrong was included on Legends Row, the Toronto great could not bring himself to deliver an acceptance speech, Shanahan said. Armstrong and Syl Apps were both added to the Maple Leafs’ Legends Row in 2015.

Armstrong Represented Toronto

Star Leafs forward Auston Mathews, too, spoke of how he held Armstrong in only the highest of regards. The beloved Leafs captain was a phenomenal ambassador not only for the franchise, but also for the greater City of Toronto, said Mathews. Continued Matthews, Armstrong paved the on which everybody else would ultimately get to travel.

 A native of Bowland’s Bay, Ontario, Armstrong was born to an Irish father and Iroquois mother. Growing up, the emerging young star would polish his hockey skills near Sudbury’s nickel mines, in Falconbridge, where his father had worked.

Armstrong got selected for the Leafs’ main junior affiliate, the Toronto Marlboros, after winning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the Ontario Hockey Association’s leading scorer in 1946-47. He would go on to score his first NHL goal only a few years later.

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