February 6, 2004
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a great tradition and history that also includes NHL All-Star Games. With this weekend's festivities in Minnesota fast approaching we look back at some all-star highlights involving the Blue and White.
1934 - Irvin "Ace" Bailey Benefit Game
| Leave it to Gordie to drop the gloves at an All-Star Game. |
The first exhibition contest featuring NHL All-Stars was actually called the "Ace" Bailey Benefit Game.
The game was staged to raise money for the former Maple Leafs left-winger whose hockey career had ended on December 12, 1933 when he was hit by Boston Bruins defenceman Eddie Shore.
Played at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 14, 1934, the game featured players from the Maple Leafs against NHL All-Stars. That night there were 18 future Hall of Famers - seven Leafs, nine All-Stars and the two referees. The Leafs beat the NHL All-Stars 7-3, but one of the biggest highlights was the pre-game handshake between Bailey and Shore.
The first ever NHL All-Star Game took place October 13, 1947 at Maple Leaf Gardens when the NHL All-Stars faced off against the Stanley Cup champion Leafs. The All-Stars defeated the Leafs 4-3 but Toronto's Harry Watson scored the first ever goal in an NHL All-Star Game.
Toronto defenceman Gus Mortson and 19-year-old Detroit Red Wings forward Gordie Howe dropped their gloves making it the first time in NHL All-Star Game history that fighting majors were assessed. The NHL All-Stars won the game over the Leafs, 3-1 at the Gardens.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Leafs hosted the NHL All-Star Game at Maple Leaf Gardens and defeated the NHL All-Stars 4-1. Eddie Shack of the Leafs became the first player to ever receive the MVP of the game.
1963 and 1964
The Leafs hosted All-Star games again in 1963 and '64. The Big M, Frank Mahovlich was named the MVP in '63 as he scored two goals and added an assist in the 3-3 tie. The 1964 game was goalie Johnny Bower's last NHL All-Star Game and he posted a shutout in his half of the game but the Leafs lost 3-2.
The 21st NHL All-Star Game was the last one to be played at Maple Leaf Gardens as the 1967 Stanley Cup champions hosted the NHL All-Stars - the last time this format was used. Leafs forward Brian Conacher became the first player to ever wear a helmet in an NHL All-Star Game. Leafs goalie Bruce Gamble was named game MVP as Toronto won 4-3.
| Mats will be adding to his All-Star memories this weekend. |
The 41st NHL All-Star Game was the first year for the skills competition. Maple Leafs blueliner Al Iafrate won the hardest-shot competition with a shot of 96.0 miles per hour.
Vincent Damphousse was named the MVP of the 42nd NHL All-Star Game after scoring four goals for the Campbell Conference in its 11-5 win at Chicago. The four goals tied an NHL All-Star Game record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
The 45th NHL All-Star Game produced another first for the Leafs as goalie Felix Potvin became the first Leaf to be voted by the fans as a starter. Potvin allowed three goals as his Western Conference squad lost 9-8 to the Eastern Conference at Madison Square Garden.
The 46th NHL All-Star Game at Boston was the first for Mats Sundin in a Leafs' uniform. Leafs winger Mike Gartner also set a record in the fastest skater competition with a time of 13.386 seconds.
The 50th NHL All-Star game was the first to be held in Toronto since 1968 and it was the first at Air Canada Centre. The Leafs had three players on the team - Mats Sundin and Curtis Joseph were voted as starters while Dmitry Yushkevich was added to the World Team. Head coach Pat Quinn was head coach of the North American team that lost 9-4 to the World Team.
Mats Sundin is selected captain of the World Team that won 8-5 over the North American All-Stars at Los Angeles. 2002 was a big year for Sundin as he captained the World All-Stars, the Leafs and the Swedish Olympic Team. He also was named to the NHL All-Star Game, the Olympic All-Star Team and the year-end NHL All-Star Team (second team centre).
The Leafs are represented by head coach Pat Quinn, Sundin and Gary Roberts at this year's NHL All-Star Game in Minnesota where the trio will look to make even more Maple Leaf memories.