It was on this day in 1927 Conn Smythe changed the name of the NHL’s Toronto St. Patricks hockey team to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In February of 1927, Smythe, who had built the New York Rangers franchise but was dismissed in favour of Lester Patrick, raised enough money to buy the St. Pats and prevented the team from moving to Philadelphia. Smythe, a military man, had the Toronto franchise name changed from the St. Pats to Maple Leafs. He also switched the uniform colours to blue and white from green and white.
According to the Leafs’ website, here was Smythe’s reasoning for going with the name Maple Leafs:
“The Maple Leaf to us, was the badge of courage, the badge that meant home. It was the badge that reminded us all of our exploits and the different difficulties we got into and the different accomplishments we made. It was a badge that meant more to us than any other badge that we could think of… so we chose it… hoping that the possession of this badge would mean something to the team that wore it and when they skated out on the ice with this badge on their chest… they would wear it with honour and pride and courage, the way it had been worn by the soldiers of the first Great War in the Canadian Army.”