The Maple Leafs have one of the most illustrious histories in hockey, having won the Stanley Cup 13 times. The Maple Leafs were one of the NHL's original clubs, having debuted in 1917 as the Toronto Arenas before changing their name to St. Patrick's in 1919. In the first five years of the NHL, the team won two Stanley Cups (in 1917–18 and 1921–22). After a hiatus during World War II, the Maple Leafs returned to the ice in 1947 and have been playing at a high level ever since. They have only missed the playoffs four times since returning to the league.
The Maple Leafs are the only Canadian-based team to have won the Stanley Cup, and they are also the only team based in Canada to have won it more than once. They are followed by the Montreal Canadiens with two titles and the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames with one each.
The Maple Leafs play their home games at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The team is owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), which also operates the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. MLSE was founded by owner Harold Ballard, who died in 1999 after being banned from sports ownership for life due to drug convictions. His son, Tim, now runs the company along with partner Jeff Virag.
In June 2014, Forbes estimated the franchise's value at $1 billion. This makes the Maple Leafs the most valuable franchise in NHL history.
The NHL eventually declared the franchise permanent in October 1918. Following the initial 1917-18 NHL season, the Toronto Arenas won the Stanley Cup Finals at Arena Gardens. The club was sold to the St. Patrick Hockey Club in 1919. The team was renamed the Toronto St. Patricks under new ownership. In 1926, the St. Pats were purchased by a group of investors from Ireland and the name was changed to the Maple Leafs.
Maple Leaf Ice Rinks dates back to 1875 when it opened as an outdoor rink located near present-day Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue in downtown Toronto. The Maple Leaf was one of the first organized hockey teams in Canada and is considered by many to be the first professional ice hockey team. The team's owner, Charles A.A. Smith, recruited American players to play for his team. These players were paid $100 per month plus bonuses based on how the team did in its games.
In 1890, the team moved inside and installed a wooden flooring which made it easier for fans to see the game. They also added seats and lights so that they could continue to attract more spectators. The Maple Leaf played its home games at various locations throughout the city until Arena Gardens was completed in 1914. The arena had a capacity of 10,000 people and was the largest indoor venue in Canada at the time. It was closed in 1970 and demolished the following year.
The Maple Leaf Regiment, a World War I military force, inspired the moniker "Maple Leafs." In 1932, Toronto regained control of the NHL by defeating the Rangers in three straight games to sweep the best-of-five series. It was the franchise's first Cup triumph after changing its name to the Maple Leafs. The Stanley Cup is adorned with maple leaves because of this victory.
After World War II, the Maple Leaf became synonymous with excellence and winning. To this day, fans refer to their team as the "Maple Leafs," even though they now play in a new arena called Air Canada Centre (ACC). The team has won the most regular season titles of any Canadian professional sports team (nine), and has never finished last place in the league.
In 2009, the Maple Leafs announced that they were abandoning their traditional green and white colors and replacing them with red, white, and blue. The change was made to better match the rest of the NHL team logos. The move was not well received by fans, who began calling themselves the Green Men and White Elephants to protest the team's direction. However, the nickname "Green Men" came from a comment made by former Maple Leaf Dave Keon during an interview about the team switching colors; he said, "I don't know what the women's team is going to look like but the men will be green and white forever."
Patricks". The NHL franchise was renamed after the amateur club by the new owners, and the team won the Stanley Cup in 1922 as the St. Patricks. As a favor to Charlie Querrie, J.P. Bickell invested in the St. Patricks in 1924. The team was financially unstable and had to be bailed out twice by Bickell.
The St. Patrick's club was one of the original six teams that made up the National Hockey League. They played their home games at Arena Gardens, located on West Elizabeth Street in Newark, New Jersey. The team was owned by the O'Neill family, who also owned the Boston Bruins.
The St. Pats were known for their colorful uniforms, which included green and white stripes and purple accents. The team never missed the playoffs during its eight-year history, winning the Stanley Cup in 1922. After that season, the team was sold to investors from Buffalo, New York, and was renamed the Black Hawks. In 1930, the team moved to Chicago and became the Blackhawks.
There are still several groups around the world that claim lineage back to the original St. Patrick's club. One such group, called the New Jersey Eagles, plays in the American Hockey League. The team has never claimed affiliation with any other team in the NHL or any other league.