February 15, 2013
Dave Keon, 1963 Cup-winning Leafs to be honoured
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

Former Toronto Maple Leafs player Dave Keon smiles during an on-ice ceremony before the Maple Leafs' NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Toronto on Feb. 17, 2007. (Toronto Sun files)

TORONTO - Dave Keon, considered by long-time Leaf observers to be the best player in club history, will make a rare appearance at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion, third in franchise scoring with 858 points and later Leaf captain, will be honoured for his role in the 1963 championship, a team many think was Toronto's best since the NHL was formed in 1917. Ten players from that team will be recognized before the game against the Ottawa Senators, including Keon, George Armstrong, Dick Duff, Red Kelly, Bob Nevin, Bob Pulford and Eddie Shack.

Keon’s long and bitter feud with the organization goes back to the decline under the Harold Ballard era in the 1970s. He made a point of staying away from any management functions and ideas such as retiring his No. 14. But when it’s a team event, such as Saturday, he has relented and received a nice hand at the ACC in 2007 when the last Leaf team to win the Cup was honoured on its 40th anniversary. Keon stayed away from last year’s tribute to the ‘62 champions, the first of three straight titles.

The ‘63 team had a record of 35-23-12 and was the last Leaf team to finish first overall (in the six-team) NHL. It went on to beat Montreal and Detroit in the playoffs, losing just twice. Among those unable to attend are Canadian Senator Frank Mahovlich and defenceman Bob Baun, both out of the country.

 



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