Former Toronto Maple Leafs player and Hockey Hall of Fame member George Armstrong died January 24, 2021 as a result of heart complications at the age of 90.
Armstrong helped the Leafs wins four Stanley Cup championships in the 1960’s.
The right winger spent 21 seasons in Toronto – 12 seasons as the team captain -, scored 296 goals, had 417 assists, and holds the record for most games played as a Maple Leaf. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975.
During the Toronto Maple Leafs centennial celebration, he was listed as 12th on the all time best 100 Maple Leafs’ players.
The Maple Leafs spoke on Armstrong saying that he, “is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization.”
Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said, “a proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf, but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn’t even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”
One of the first members of the First Nations to play in the NHL, Armstrong was known as “Chief” (Shoot the Puck) to his team mates in an homage to his Native heritage. He became the first Native player to score a goal in the NHL.
His jersey number was retired in 2016 and is one of the few Maple Leaf players to be honoured by a banner at the arena.
After retiring from the game in 1971 due to a knee injury at the age of 40, Armstrong spent a few years coaching before becoming a scout in Quebec. He would later return to Toronto where he worked as an assistant general manager and was the interim coach to finish out the 1988/89 season after the Leafs fired head coach John Brophy. The next season he returned to scouting, but this time for his beloved Maple Leafs.
The son of an Irish father and an Iroquois mother, he was born on July 6, 1930 in Skead, Ontario.
No list of survivors was given.
feature photo credit: By Unknown author – eBay front of photo back of photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30922860