Three weeks after Ted Kennedy was named the inaugural member of the Toronto Maple Leafs' Legends Row, longtime captain Darryl Sittler and legendary goaltender Johnny Bower became the latest players on display outside Air Canada Centre.
The three were honored with statues designed by sculptor Erik Blome. Kennedy was announced as the first former Maple Leafs player in the display on Aug. 14. As part of Leafs Nation Fan Fest this weekend, Sittler and Bower were added to the latest tribute to the franchise's long history.
"My favorite thing about this initiative, this way to honor our past Maple Leafs, is the fact that it is in fact Legends Row. It is not an individual," team president Brendan Shanahan said. "When you talk to a lot of players that are going to be bestowed this great honor, I think they're excited by the fact that they're going to be surrounded by teammates. This is a team game and they're going to be surrounded by teammates."
Sittler retired as Toronto's leader in points with 916 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He is best remembered for his historic game against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 7, 1976 when he scored six goals and four assists to establish a single-game record with 10 points, a mark that has yet to be broken.
"I'm truly honored and humbled to be here in front of all of you today. Growing up in a small town, I never believed this would happen," Sittler told the crowd at the unveiling. "I had the fortune of going to Chicago and meeting the artist. That was a wonderful trip. He's a very artistic, talented person, but more importantly he is a humble guy. I got to watch him pour Ted Kennedy's head, that was kind of cool too."
Bower, a veteran of 12 seasons with Toronto, remains one of the most popular players in team history. He helped the Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cup wins, and his 219 wins and 32 shutouts rank second in Maple Leafs history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.
"It's really a great honor," Bower said. "Congratulations to Mr. Sittler as well. And you fans are still wonderful fans."
The 30-foot bronze statues are part of a multiphase project leading to the 2017 centennial anniversary of the franchise.