Vintage Toronto Ads: Tracking the Maple Leafs, 1970s Style

Originally published on Torontoist on April 3, 2012.

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Green Lantern/Green Arrow #93, February-March 1977.

How we imagine this magnetic hockey scoreboard was used: depending on newspaper delivery time, a dedicated young fan grabbed the sports section while drinking rich, chocolatey Ovaltine for breakfast, or after school. He flipped to the standings, noted any changes, then rushed over to the fridge to update his beloved board. Once the magnets had been moved, he retired to his room to read his comic books.

Producing a magnet set and standings board for the 1976/77 NHL season would have been a last-minute scramble, thanks to two off-season franchise shifts. While one move had already been resolved when today’s ad went to press (the California Golden Seals became the Cleveland Barons), the fate of the Kansas City Scouts was still “undetermined.” The magnet designer may have had insider information or great prognostication skills, as the Scouts utilized a triangle-shaped logo in their new guise as the Colorado Rockies.

Also accurately predicted was the Maple Leafs’ resting spot for 1976/77: third place in the Adams Division, with a regular-season record just over the .500 mark (33 wins, 32 losses, 15 ties). For the second season in a row, the Leafs fell in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals to the Philadelphia Flyers. (Unlike the previous season, coach Red Kelly didn’t use “pyramid power” to rally his players.) Kelly’s contract ran out following the team’s playoff exit, and his fate was unresolved for two months. That he aggravated old neck and back injuries prior to the playoffs and sat in traction for part of the post-season muddied matters. Ultimately he was not rehired and Roger Neilson assumed coaching duties.

Vintage Toronto Ads: Who’s Got King Clancy’s Eno?

Originally published on Torontoist on March 31, 2009.

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Toronto Star, March 31, 1936.

When travelling by train between key games during the Stanley Cup playoffs, the last thing a hardened hockey player wants to suffer is indigestion. If King Clancy and his teammates actually did pop a few tablets to rid themselves of “the poisonous wastes that slow a man down,” they helped the Maple Leafs defeat the New York Americans two games to one during the 1936 semi-finals.

Francis Michael “King” Clancy arrived in Toronto through a trade with the Ottawa Senators on the eve of the 1930–31 season. After his retirement early in the 1936–37 season and a brief coaching stint with the Montreal Maroons, Clancy spent a decade as a referee. He returned to the Maple Leafs as a coach in the early 1950s and held various positions in the organization until his death in 1986. He was one of the rare individuals who, thanks to his charming personality, stayed on friendly terms with Harold Ballard during the latter’s stormy reign as the team’s owner.

Toronto fans would have been familiar with Harold “Baldy” Cotton, who had played just over six seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Americans before the season began. After retiring in 1937, Cotton would be heard by a generation of hockey fans as one of the experts of the “Hot Stove League” segment of radio broadcasts and on Hockey Night in Canada.

Unfortunately, a dose of Eno didn’t provide the Maple Leafs with enough pep during the final round of the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings, who had endured the longest playoff game in NHL history during the semi-finals (six overtime periods were needed to defeat the Maroons), won the Stanley Cup in four games.