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Maple Leafs Legends Row 'is full' with four added

Charlie Conacher, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Wendel Clark last to get honor from first 100 years

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

Leafs add four to Legends Row

OTT@TOR: Leafs induct four players into Legends Row

The Maple Leafs induct Charlie Conacher, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich and Wendel Clark into Legends Row prior to puck drop in Toronto

  • 02:20 •

TORONTO -- Don't expect another addition to Legends Row in Toronto in the near future. As far as Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan is concerned, the bench is full.

The four members added Saturday -- Charlie Conacher, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich and Wendel Clark -- will suffice until someone from a new generation distinguishes himself.

"This is from our perspective, and the historical committee's perspective, the final members representing the first 100 years, but you never know what can happen," Shanahan said. "But certainly the intention right now is that the Legends Row is full with these 14 inductees. As I've always said, it is our hope to extend the bench for some of these players that are embarking on their NHL career or in the middle of their careers with the Maple Leafs."

The Maple Leafs welcomed the four players to Legends Row at a ceremony before they lost to the Ottawa Senators 6-3 at Air Canada Centre on Saturday. Started in August 2014 to honor past greats, the Legends Row monument will have 14 members once the statues of these four inductees are unveiled in the fall.

They join Ted Kennedy, Darryl Sittler, Johnny Bower, Borje Salming, George Armstrong, Syl Apps, Mats Sundin, Dave Keon, Turk Broda and Tim Horton.

"When you look at each of them, you think of things like, when we went back to Conn Smythe's original version of the sweater, it was about pride, honor, courage," Shanahan said. "All 14 of these guys played with pride, honor and courage. Some had the good fortune of being on excellent teams and winning championships, and others just represented those characteristics and did it over long periods of time.

"When I look at those guys, they're all people that, to me, represent everything that we want to be going forward in the future. They're great examples to our young players right now."

Clark was a fan favorite in Toronto, playing 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs. Before the 1991-92 season, he was named captain, and his popularity remains nearly two decades since he last stepped on the ice.

"It's a huge honor to be a part of this group, this lineup that's out there, to go in with these guys is a big honor," Clark said. "When I look at that row, I'm like the fourth-liner out there."

Mahovlich played 12 seasons with the Maple Leafs and was a part of four Stanley Cup championships. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981 and named to the NHL's 100 Greatest Players presented by Molson Canadian at the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic.

"I'm very much honored," Mahovlich said. "I've got some great memories, my first game against the Montreal Canadiens. My first goal against Glenn Hall, I could go on and on."

Kelly played eight seasons with the Maple Leafs and, like Mahovlich, was part of four Stanley Cup championships. Kelly distinguished himself with his ability to play center after spending 13 seasons as a defenseman and winning the Norris Trophy in 1954 with the Detroit Red Wings.

Kelly was unable to attend the ceremony (he was represented by his daughter Casey).

"I don't know what coach Punch Imlach saw in him, but he put him at center ice in between myself and Bobby Nevin, and boy, we caught on," Mahovlich said. "Red and I, it seemed like we were playing all our lives together as soon as we were put on together, it clicked. When Red came to Toronto and went up that center ice, boy it was lightning, I'm telling you."

Kelly was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969 and was named one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players.

Conacher joined the Maple Leafs as a 19-year-old in 1928 and was named captain before the 1937-38 season. He played nine seasons for the Maple Leafs, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, and was named one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players. Conacher died in 1967 and was represented by his son Brad.

"He passed away when I was 16 years old, so I never got to hear him speak in the philosophical sense about what it meant to be a Maple Leaf, but I never went anywhere where people didn't know him," Brad Conacher said. "He was known everywhere. He was a great guy to have as a father because there was no door that he couldn't open and everybody liked him."

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