Origins of the Maple Leafs' Name
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11-20-2012, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Village
Originally Posted by
What gets me is why no one questioned this before.... For over 80 years people just took the story at face value.... Now try and find out where the Baseball Maple Leafs got their name and that is difficult.... If you go back and read the comments at the bottom of the essay they discuss it a bit. Without any real answer.
... I guess no one really questioned it because Smythes explanation made perfect sense to anyone who knew the guy, in addition to which it was not uncommon in the late 19th & early 20th century for city teams competing in multi sports to share names & colours.
As for the roots of the handle "Maple Leafs" & why the Baseball Team mightve decided upon it, and Im guessing here, but I suspect we can trace that to the unofficial "Canadian Anthem" of the time called "The Maple Leaf Forever" along with the fact that Toronto itself was and still is absolutely full of Maple tree's.
Written by a local Torontonian by the name of Alexander Muir (a member of Torontos Queens Own Rifle Regiment) in 1867 to honour & celebrate Confederation, it was a staunchly pro-British piece of work that many in Quebec actually found rather offensive, words changed to reflect Quebec francophone interests rather than the Torontocentric english Canadian perspective. Often used/sang in replacing God Save the Queen at formal functions, in schools, before events & so on but I digress...
So I did some more digging, and interestingly, none other than J.P. Bickell seems to have had a greater hand in all of these permutations than ever suspected as well. Bickell was a beyond wealthy businessman (mining etc) who had bought shares in the Toronto Arenas', converted them into the Shamrocks, and when Smythe bought the Shamrocks, retained them as a minority partner. And heres where it really starts to get interesting;
Bickell was also involved with the Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club. On its Board of Directors from about 1922 (prior to which time the club was financially challenged, unstable despite there successes on the diamond) onward or so. After Smythe bought the St.Pats, changed the name to the Maple Leafs, looks like he also had an "inside man" in old J.P. there. Bickell seems to have been the "unseen hand of power" behind much. He was instrumental in helping to acquire the land upon which Maple Leaf Gardens was built, the buildings financing, a member of Maple Leaf Gardens Board of Directors for years afterwards, and indeed, you'll find the mans' name enscribed on the Stanley Cup 6 times; Winner. Inducted into the HHOF in 1978 in the Builders Category.
Last edited by Killion: 11-20-2012 at
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