It was 1940.
World War II had descended in Europe and military enlistment was decreasing.
Maple Leafs' owner Conn Smythe was a former military Major who had three morals: church, military and hockey. In that order.
Smythe began strongly encouraging his players to enlist in the military and to serve their country with pride.
He assured them that if they served in the war, their spots on the hockey club would be there for them upon their return.
The Leafs had the most men of any NHL team enlist in the military.
Between the Leafs who enlisted were star players, Turk Broda and Syl Apps, both who served in the war for two years between 1943 and 1945.
Upon their returns both Broda and Apps were given heroes welcomes.
They returned to the Leafs right where they left off, quickly recommencing their dominant styles of play and leading the Leafs to three consecutive Stanley Cups in 1947, 48, 49.