Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1931-32 Toronto Maple Leafs Red Horner Jersey

Bruising Hall of Fame defenseman George "Red" Horner was born on this date in 1909. He began his hockey career with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1926-27, the first of two seasons he would play with the junior club.

Horner's rise to the NHL in 1928 must have set some sort of record, as he played for the junior Marlboros on the evening of Friday, December 21st. The next afternoon he suited up for an amateur team in the stock brokers league, as his day job was as a clerk at a brokerage at the time, and was informed after the game by team owner Conn Smythe, who was in attendance at the amateur game, that he would be suiting up for the Toronto Maple Leafs that evening for their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, his third game at three different levels in 24 hours!

Unfortunately, Horner broke his hand in his second game which limited him to just 22 games that season. He gave a glimpse of what was to come however, as he was assessed with 30 minutes in penalties that season.

Horner Maple Leafs 27-34
Horner in a Maple Leafs sweater worn from 1927 to 1934

The next season he played in 33 games, which included his first NHL points with a pair of goals and 7 assists to go along with his 96 penalty minutes.

Two seasons later in 1931-32 Horner competed in 42 games and more than doubled his career goal totals up to that point when he found the back of the net 7 times and established a new high in points as well with 16. He was also in the starting lineup on November 12, 1931 when the brand new Maple Leaf Gardens hosted it's first game.

The Maple Leafs advanced to the playoffs that season where they defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 6 goals to 2 in their two-game total-goal series. They advanced to the finals by defeating the Montreal Maroons 4 goals to 3. The Maple Leafs then swept the New York Rangers in three straight games, scoring 6 goals in each contest to win the only Stanley Cup of Horner's career. Horner contributed 2 goals and 4 points in the Maple Leafs 7 playoff games.

1931-32 Toronto Maple Leafs
The 1932 Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs

By the 1932-33 season, Horner had now grown into a man's body and became an even more physical player. He surpassed the 100 penalty minute mark with 144 to lead the league for the first of eight consecutive seasons. In 1933-34 Horner raised his penalty minute total to 146 and set a career high with 11 goals and a new personal best of 21 points.

The 1935-36 season saw Horner break the eight year old league record for penalty minutes held by the legendary Eddie Shore when he was whistled for 167.

Horner Maple Leafs 34-37
Horner with a teammate in the sweaters worn from 1934 to 1937

Two seasons later in 1937-38 Horner set a a career best with 24 points from 4 goals and 24 assists while continuing his streak of leading the league in time in the box.

He was named team captain in 1938 and would play two more seasons for the Maple Leafs before retiring after the 1939-40 season with 490 games played, 42 goals and 110 assists for 152 points and 1,264 career penalty minutes, which was the most in league history and a mark which stood until 1958 until broken by Ted Lindsay. His record of leading the league in penalty minutes for eight straight seasons still stands to this day.

Horner Maple Leafs 38-45
Horner in a Maple Leafs sweater worn from 1938 to the end of his career

During his playing days Horner had the honor of playing in both the 1934 Ace Bailey Benefit Game and the 1937 Howie Morenz Benefit Game, two early All-Star contests that pre-dated the now annual NHL All-Star Game.

Horner was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1965.

Today's featured jersey is a 1931-32 Toronto Maple Leafs "Red" Horner jersey. The club was renamed the Maple Leafs in the middle of the 1926-27 season after being purchased by Smythe. Their original jerseys were a plain white sweater with a green Maple Leaf, which changed to blue at the start of the 1927-28 season.

They also introduced an early version of today's featured jersey with it's multiple arm and waist stripes as their primary sweater that season, adding the white shoulder striping for the 1930-31 season. This is the style Horner and the Maple Leafs wore when they captured the Stanley Cup in 1932.

Toronto Maple Leafs 31-32 jersey

Additionally, today's featured jersey was the basis for the throwback style the Maple Leafs wore for the 2014 NHL Winter Classic. While very similar, there were a few differences, such as the lace-up collar, the addition of modern sleeve numbers and player names on the back as well as the fact the numbers were one color white rather than the original two color blue numbers with white outlines worm back in the 1930's. While not an identical copy of the originals, the Winter Classic jerseys were very well received and looked great in action.

Toronto Maple Leafs Winter Classic 2014 photo TorontoMapleLeafsWinterClassic2014.jpg

Today's video is about the 1932 Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs.

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