Throughout their storied history the Leafs have had many men don the "C" and lead the club. These were men of character, always competing and making their team better.
All these men were very proud to lead the Leafs, through good times and bad.
Here is my list, in no particular order, of the best Leafs captains of all time.
Here are a few of the captains who just missed the cut:
Red Horner played with the Leafs for 12 seasons. He played in 490 games and was a tough and respected defenceman.
Emphasis on the "tough" part as he led the league in penalty minutes for eight consecutive seasons.
He is well known for his toughness as he routinely defended against the best lines of the opposing teams.
He was a key member of the Leaf's defence core in the 1930s.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965.
Wendel Clark is one of my personal favourite captains in Leafs' history.
Wendel Clark lead by example with whatever he did. He had a killer shot, and was never afraid to drop the gloves and rile up his team or defend a teammate.
He played a very physical game that gave him the nickname "Captain Crunch" as he would always go for the hit and wear down his opponents.
He played nine seasons in the blue and white, amassing over 200 goals and 1300 penalty minutes.
Wendel Clark was a fan favourite in Toronto for his physical brand of hockey and his intensity. He literally "brought it" every single game.
His number was raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Center on November 22, 2008.
All of that is why "Captain Crunch" makes the list.
George Armstrong has one of the best hockey nicknames of all time. He was "The Chief".
He was a Maple Leaf for over 20 years and played over 1000 games in the blue and white.
Armstrong was a natural leader and a fierce competitor. He had the ability to inspire all his teammates and help them all perform to the best of their abilities.
He is widely considered one of the best captains in Leafs' history.
And let's not forget that he's the last Leafs captain to ever hold the Stanley Cup. Way back in 1967.
Please come back George, we need you.
Sittler was a scoring machine with he Leafs. He lead the team in points for eight consecutive years, and is second all-time in points to Mats Sundin.
And let's not forget one of the most amazing NHL performances in history when he scored 10 points in one game.
On February 7, 1976, he scored six goals and added four assists, which put him in the NHL record books for over 20 years and counting.
Sittler, who now works in the Leafs' front office, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
I don't think I've ever seen a more fierce, competitive captain than the man whom Leafs' Nation called "Killer".
He had a rare combo of tenacity and a deft touch with the puck. Combine that with some excellent leadership skills, and you have the 15th captain in Leafs' history.
Gilmour lead by example night in and night out. When he was acquired from Calgary he instantly helped turn the Leafs around.
Gilmour earned the respect and admiration of his teammates with his constant will to win. A quality like that is a necessity for a good captain. And no one did it better than "Killer".
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