On This Day February 1st.

Conn Smythe
February 1: On this day in 1895, the legendary Conn Smythe was born in Toronto, Ontario. In February of 1927, Smythe purchased the Toronto St. Pats of the NHL and renamed the team the Maple Leafs. He presided as head coach of the Leafs for four seasons until early in the 1930 season when he hired Art Duncan as his replacement. Smythe and fellow financier J. P. Bickell (second from the right below) raised the money needed to build Maple Leaf Gardens which opened in 1931. Conn Smythe ran the Leafs operation through to the early 1960's as coach, General Manager, President and
Art Duncan Art John Arthur Duncan
Owner-Governor. A trophy was presented to the NHL by the Maple Leafs in 1964 in honor of Conn Smythe and is awarded to the MVP in the playoffs. Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens was its first winner in 1965 and as of 2008, Dave Keon has been the only Leaf to win the Conn Smythe trophy which he earned in 1967. Conn Smythe was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1958.

Quebec BulldogsDignitaries gathered to lay the cornerstone of Maple Leaf Gardens. Left to right: William MacBrien (former president of the Maple Leafs), Ed Bickle (vice-president of Maple Leaf Gardens), W.D. Ross (lieutenant-governor of Ontario), Reverend Dr. John Inkster, J.P. Bickell (president of Maple Leaf Gardens), and Victor Ross (a director of Maple Leaf Gardens). Source: The Mail and Empire, September 21, 1931. (side note - The Mail and Empire was formed from the 1895 merger of The Toronto Mail and Toronto Empire newspapers, both conservative newspapers in Toronto, Canada. The paper then merged with The Globe to form the The Globe and Mail in 1936). Photo by arc23 from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

February 1: On this day in 1955,Hap Day appointed only the second general manager in team history. He would become the only man to serve as team captain, coach, and general manager.

Dick Gamble Dick Frank Gamble
February 1: On this day in 1967, Dick Gamble played his first and only NHL game of the 1966-67 season on left wing for the Leafs as a replacement for the injured Frank Mahovlich. It was also his last game in the NHL. The Leafs were hammered 7-1 by the Canadiens. A former Stanley Cup champion with the Canadiens, Gamble played a total of 3 games as a Leaf over two seasons. He had one goal.

Bernie ParentBernie Parent
February 1: On this day in 1971, the Leafs acquired goaltender Bernie Parent from the Philadelphia Flyers with a 2nd round draft choice for Bruce Gamble, Mike Walton and Toronto's 1st round choice (Pierre Plante) in the 1971 Amateur Draft. Parent played 65 games with the Leafs over the next year with a record of 24-25-12 and a 2.59 G.A.A. before leaving the Leafs in 1972 to become the first Leaf to defect from the NHL and jump to the World Hockey Association.
WHA LogoWHA Logo 1972/73 - 1978/79
After a brief stint in the now defunct WHA he wanted to return to the NHL but did not wish to play for Toronto who still held his rights. He was accomodated with a trade back to Philly where he won two consecutive Vezina trophies, two consecutive Stanley Cups and two consecutive Conn Smythe trophies in 1974 and 1975. Bernie Parent was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

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