April 25

This Day in History

Sports

Apr 25, 1964:

Maple Leafs win third Stanley Cup in a row

On April 25, 1964, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-0, and win the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup championship, four games to three. The victory marked the Maple Leafs’ third consecutive Stanley Cup victory.

On their way to the 1963-1964 Stanley Cup Finals, Toronto bested the Montreal Canadiens in seven games and Detroit outscored the Chicago Blackhawks, also in seven games. The championship series opened on April 11, 1964, with Toronto beating Detroit, 3-2. The Red Wings took the next game in overtime, 4-3, as well as the third game, 4-3. Toronto won the fourth game, 4-2, while Detroit captured the fifth game, 2-1. The sixth game went to Toronto, 4-3 in overtime, after Bob Braun, who had been taken off the ice on a stretcher in the third period with a suspected broken ankle, returned to the game and scored the winning goal off of goalie Terry Sawchuk in overtime. On April 25, the Maple Leafs defeated the Red Wings 4-0 for the championship title. Andy Bathgate, who had been acquired by the Leafs from the Rangers earlier that year in a controversial trade, scored the first and final goals of the game.

The Maple Leafs were founded in 1917, the same year the National Hockey League was established. At the time, the team didn’t have an official name but was known informally as the “Blueshirts.” They went on to win the first-ever Stanley Cup that season, against the Vancouver Millionaires. The team was known as the Toronto Arenas from 1918 to 1919 and the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927. In 1922, the St. Pat’s captured the Stanley Cup, defeating the Vancouver Millionaires once again.

In February 1927, Conn Smythe, who had previously worked with the New York Rangers, took ownership of the team and renamed it the Toronto Maple Leafs, after the Maple Leaf Regiment, a World War I fighting unit. The name change brought good luck: The Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951. In 1961, Conn Smythe sold most of his shares in the team to his son and two other partners. The Leafs went on to win the Stanley Cup three years straight, in 1962 (against the Chicago Blackhawks), 1963 (against the Red Wings) and 1964. The Leafs took home another Stanley Cup in 1967, against the Montreal Canadiens, but haven’t won another one since then.

In terms of consecutive Stanley Cup victories, only two teams have bested the Maple Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens took home a record five consecutive championships starting in 1956 and four title wins in a row beginning in 1976. The New York Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.

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