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Maple Leaf father and sons


It’s always fun for fans when the offspring of a former player makes it to the NHL, especially if they play for the same team as their dad.

I was trying to think of individuals who have played for the Leafs over the years whose sons also made it to the professional ranks.  I’m sure I’ve missed some names, but I’ve endeavored to develop a short list of names that I believe fall into the "father and son" category with at least one of the duo having played for the Leafs.  Most of the fathers I mention below played for the Maple Leafs.  Many of the sons did as well.

In some cases the fathers had more illustrious careers than their sons.  King Clancy (pictured at right), who seemed to be in the Maple Leaf organization forever when I was a kid in the 1950s and ‘60s, came to Toronto in the 1930s, I think it was, in one of the biggest hockey trades ever completed at the time.  He had a fine career as a Toronto defenseman.  His son later had a brief NHL career, but did spend some time with the Maple Leafs as well.

Here are some of the names from my no-doubt incomplete list that I believe fit in this fairly exclusive “father and son” category:

Lionel Conacher (Hall-of-Famer, did not play with the Leafs; brother of the legendary Charlie Conacher)
Brian Conacher (part of 1967 Cup winner with the Leafs)

King Clancy (played with the Leafs before a career as a referee and long-time Leaf executive)
Terry Clancy (played with the Oakland Seals, but also with the Leafs in the late 1960s)

Punch Imlach (General Manager and coach)
Brent Imlach (played a few games, as I recall, with Toronto in the mid-1960s)

Fred Creighton (1950s Leaf, though I remember  him more with the Rangers)
Adam Creighton (played with the Buffalo Sabres in the 1980s)

J.P. Parise (very briefly a Leaf, best known as a North Star in the early years of NHL expansion)
Zack Parise (now a standout with New Jersey)

Babe Pratt (legendary defenseman with Toronto in the '40s)
Tracy Pratt (played with Buffalo, Vancouver and Toronto, I believe)

Larry Wilson (great minor leaguer; played with and later coached the Red Wings.  He won a Cup as a player in Detroit)
Ron Wilson (played with Leafs and current Leaf coach; his uncle Johnny (pictured at right), brother of Larry, did play with the Leafs in the 1950s.  Check out my earlier post on "The Wilson boys".)

Cal Gardner (won 2 Cups in Toronto in the late 1940s/early '50s)
Paul Gardner (played briefly under Roger Neilson in Toronto in the late 1970s)

Dave Gagner (best years as a North Star but did play with Toronto in mid-‘90s)
Sam Gagner (now with the Oilers)

Mike Foligno (great years with Detroit and Buffalo; part of the  ’93 Leafs)
Nick Foligno (now with Senators)

Claude Larose (played with Montreal , winning 5 Cups, and also played with Minnesota and St. Louis)
Guy Larose (briefly with the Leafs in the early ‘90s)

Barry Cullen (played in the 1950s in Toronto with brother Brian)
John Cullen (part of early ‘90s Leaf teams)

Tomas Steen (long-time Winnipeg Jet)
Alex Steen (ex-Leaf now with St. Louis)

When going through the above names, what jumps out is that there were no situations where both the father and the son had outstanding careers in blue and white.  The father might have, or the son, but not both.

Yet all were noteworthy, and are part of Maple Leaf lore.

There were no doubt others I've missed.  Send along the names that you remember!           

6 comments:

  1. Long suffering Leaf fanJanuary 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Darryl Sittler and his Ryan who Philadelphia selected seventh overall in 92 and latter played six games for the St John’s Maple Leafs. I think Ryan suffer a serious knee injury? Even though they are not father and son, how about George Armstrong and nephew Dale McCourt. A Detroit’s former first overall in 77, played 72 games with the Leafs in the 83-84 season scoring 19 goals and 27 assists. A few more comes to mind, Syl Apps and Syl Jr., and grandson Syl the three who played for the St John's Leafs, and a granddaughter who played for the Canadian woman's Olympic team in Vancouver. In addition, there is Rangers great, Bryan Hextall and son Bryan Jr. whom the Leafs acquire alone with Praises from Oakland in the 67-68 season.

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  2. Absolutely, Long suffering...I completely forgot about Apps Jr., who had a really nice career with the Penguins, for sure. And the Hextalls were indeed a great hockey family.

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  3. Shouldn't Foster Hewitt and Bill Hewitt qualify in there? How about Doug and Paul Morris? Doug was the fellow who basically ran Maple Leaf Gardens during the 1950s, 60 and 70s and Paul was the longtime public address announcer there.

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  4. Great point, Purple Raider...the Hewitts did more than anyone to make the Leafs popular. Thanks.

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  5. In the Australian Football League, there is a father-son rule which allows a team to acquire the son of a former player from that team in exchange for sacrificing a draft pick (under certain criteria). There is far greater club loyalty in the AFL than in the NHL, and most players only ever play for one team, but the rule is still an interesting one. I wonder what the public response would be if a similar rule was proposed for the NHL.

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  6. Thanks for the comment, Peri. The NHL draft system makes it awfully difficult for teams to obtain the son of a former player. I wasn't aware of the Australian Football/Soccer league approach, but that at least provides an opportunity for the family tradition to continue at a particular Club.

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