The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the passing today of George Armstrong at age 90. As one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey, George first signed with the organization in 1946 and was a member of the Maple Leafs family for 75 years. He distinguished himself as a player, captain, coach, assistant general manager, scout, community ambassador and alumnus.
Skating his entire 21-year NHL career with the Maple Leafs - and 12 as their captain - George helped Toronto capture four Stanley Cups. He was named one of the One Hundred Greatest Maple Leafs of all-time, is an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and has had his number retired by the club in addition to being a hallowed member of Legends Row.
"George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed," said Toronto Maple Leafs President & Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan. "A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn't even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row."
In his own words, the final paragraph from George's unread speech read: "Hockey is a great game and I love it. I am part of a fading generation that you will never have again. Every one of us is one of a kind, that will never be repeated. To all of my friends and acquaintances, thank you for your advice and direction, that helped make me who I am today … a very, very happy person."
The Toronto Maple Leafs extend their deepest condolences to George's wife Betty, their children, grandchildren and the entire Armstrong family.