The Toronto Maple Leafs have chosen a classy way to open the season at the Air Canada Centre.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 15, 2016
Before their home opener against the Boston Bruins Saturday night, the Leafs retired the numbers of the sixteen legends who previously had their numbers honoured.
In addition, the Leafs finally honoured (and retired) Dave Keon’s No. 14 to the rafters as well.
The Maple Leafs now will have 13 retired numbers… as it should be… 1,4,5,6,7,9,10,13,14,17,21,27,93 will not be worn again.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) October 15, 2016
Keon has finally been getting the recognition he’s deserved, as he was also listed as the greatest Leaf of all-time on ‘The Hundred’ yesterday.
Keon played 15 seasons with the Leafs – six as captain – and won four Stanley Cups, including the last one the team won in 1967. He remained with the Leafs until 1975, when owner Harold Ballard told Keon he would be offered a contract.
Controlling his rights, Ballard set the compensation price for Keon so high that no other team would sign him either, effectively forcing him out of the NHL. Keon then played six seasons in the WHA, and a final three back in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, before calling it a career.
What a job by Shanahan. Just righted a wrong that has cursed the Leafs for at least 50 years. Numbers rightfully retired. And Keon. Unreal.
— Only 15 minutes away (@Dudgee) October 15, 2016
The Leafs now have thirteen retired numbers, including No. 21, which was being worn by James van Riemsdyk. He’s now switched to No. 25 and will wear that number going forward.
Here’s a full list of the Leafs’ retired numbers:
1 – Turk Broda, Johnny Bower
4 – Hap Day, Red Kelly
5 – Bill Barilko
6 – Ace Bailey
7 – King Clancy, Tim Horton
9 – Ted Kennedy, Charlie Conacher
10 – Syl Apps, George Armstrong
13 – Mats Sundin
14 – Dave Keon
17 – Wendel Clark
21 – Borje Salming
27 – Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler
93 – Doug Gilmour
The Leafs have now passed the Montreal Canadiens for most players with a retired number, a stat that seems fitting for the league’s oldest team.
It’s a nice honour for the legends of this team, and a fitting turn of the page as the Leafs look to a new crop of players to help write the team’s next chapter.