TORONTO (AP) — George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to 4 Stanley Cups within the 1960s, has died. He was 90.
His demise was introduced Sunday by the Maple Leafs, who mentioned he died of coronary heart problems, citing his household.
Armstrong had 296 targets and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, together with 12 seasons as staff captain, and stays the franchise’s chief in video games performed, variously listed at 1,187 or 1,888. The suitable wing had 26 targets and 34 assists in 110 playoff video games.
Often called the ”Chief,” Armstrong was one of many first gamers of Indigenous descent to play skilled hockey.
He was inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame in 1975. Some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise’s listing of 100 biggest Maple Leafs in its centennial season.
”George is a part of the very cloth of the Toronto Maple Leaf group and will likely be deeply missed,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan mentioned in a press release.
”A proud but humble man, he liked being a Maple Leaf, however by no means sought the highlight despite the fact that no participant performed extra video games for Toronto or captained the staff longer. At all times one to rejoice his teammates slightly than himself, George could not even deliver himself to ship his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”
Armstrong would change into one of some Leafs honored with a banner at Scotiabank Enviornment, and his quantity was retired in October 2016 on the staff’s centennial anniversary residence opener.
In 2015, Armstrong was added to the Leafs’ Legends Row. The staff launched a press release Sunday with the phrases from Armstrong’s unread speech that night time.
”Hockey is a good recreation and I find it irresistible. I’m a part of a fading era that you’ll by no means have once more. Each certainly one of us is certainly one of a sort, that may by no means be repeated. To all of my mates and acquaintances, thanks to your recommendation and course, that helped make me who I’m immediately … a really, very joyful individual.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman paid tribute Sunday to the previous Leafs captain.
”The Nationwide Hockey League household is saddened to be taught of the passing of George Armstrong,” Bettman mentioned in a press release. ”For 70 years, he represented his beloved Maple Leafs and the whole NHL with class and distinction as a participant, coach, government and ambassador.
”A humble man and revered chief, Armstrong captained the Leafs for 12 seasons – together with to 3 straight Stanley Cups in 1962, 1963 and 1964 and the gorgeous 1967 title – and scored the ultimate aim of the Authentic Six Period in Sport 6 of the ’67 Ultimate.
”Our recreation will miss him dearly.”
After retiring in 1971, Armstrong coached the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1972-73 and 1974-75 earlier than accepting a scouting place with the Quebec Nordiques in 1978.
He spent 9 years with Quebec earlier than returning to Toronto as assistant basic supervisor and scout in 1988. Armstrong served as interim coach for the ultimate 47 video games of the 1988-89 season after John Brophy was fired following an 11-20-2 begin.
The subsequent 12 months, Armstrong returned to his function as a scout for the Leafs.
Armstrong scored 20 targets 4 instances throughout his profession however was higher recognized for his management and work ethic, serving to restore the franchise’s successful contact. A sensible participant and proficient backchecker, he labored the angles to get one of the best shot at his opponent and shaped a formidable penalty-killing tandem with Corridor of Famer Dave Keon.
Born in Bowland’s Bay, Ontario, to an Irish father and an Iroquois mom, Armstrong honed his hockey expertise close to the nickel mines the place his father labored.
It was throughout the Allan Cup match in 1950, particularly a go to to the Stoney Indian Reserve in Alberta, that he obtained his nickname. When the band heard of Armstrong’s ancestral background, they made him an honorary member with the title ”Chief Shoot-the-Puck” and offered him with a ceremonial headdress.
It was a special period and ”The Chief” nickname caught. Armstrong, who was happy with his mom’s heritage, would change into the primary participant of Indigenous descent to attain within the NHL.
He spent most of two seasons in Pittsburgh with the Leafs’ American Hockey League farm staff earlier than making the large league. He made his NHL debut in December 1949 and have become a full-time member of the Leafs in time for the beginning of the 1952-53 season.
Toronto proprietor and GM Conn Smythe named Armstrong his captain earlier than the 1957-58 season. Smythe would later name Armstrong ”one of the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had.”
The Leafs received the Stanley Cup in 1962, the primary of three straight championships.
Armstrong was 36 when the veteran Leafs received the franchise’s most up-to-date championship in 1967. His insurance coverage empty-net aim with 47 seconds remaining within the clinching 3-1 Sport 6 win was the ultimate aim of the Authentic Six period.
The 6-foot-1, 204-pounder performed just a few extra seasons however suffered a knee damage throughout the 1969-70 season that compelled him to retire. Armstrong was persuaded to return again for the 1970-71 season earlier than quitting for good at age 40.
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