Skip to main content

Great Trades In Hockey History: King Clancy

Perhaps no single player had as big an effect of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise than did Francis "King" Clancy.

"King," a nickname inherited from his equally outstanding athletic father (a football star), joined the Ottawa Senators at the young age of 18, and soon became a regular. He quickly established himself as one of the NHL's elite. Playing along sign George Boucher, Clancy helped the Sens win Stanley Cups in 1924 and 1927.

Despite being an imp of a hockey player at just 5'7" and 150 pounds, Clancy was an electrifying on- ice presence. As wonderful a skater and stickhandler as he was, King was equally vigorous without the puck. When he reigned as one of the NHL's best blue liners with the old Senators, everyone admired him..

One of Clancy's biggest admirers was Conn Smythe, the architect of the Maple Leafs. Clancy aggressively pursued the acquisition of this player more than any other, as he knew that no other player could have such an impact on his new Maple Leafs team. Smythe, a celebrated gambler, took a big chance in the minds of most when he traded away Eric Pettinger, Art Smith and $35,000 cash (much of the money raised on a long shot bet in a horse race) in exchange for Clancy in October of 1931. It was the biggest deal in hockey history at the time. The financially troubled Sens jumped at the deal as the Great Depression was in full swing, but the team was never the same on the ice.

The Leafs were vastly improved with the pugnacious yet charismatic Clancy on their blue line. Much like the Wayne Gretzky trade to Los Angeles many years later, Clancy brought excitement and success to Toronto and set the standards for excellence for decades to come. He instilled a winning attitude complete with a Stanley Cup championship - the franchise's first while known as Maple Leafs - in 1932.

Clancy was the most celebrate Leaf ever. On St. Patrick's Day 1934, the team honoured him in a game against the New York Rangers. He was brought onto the ice in a special float. He wore a fake white beard and regal robes only to remove them and reveal a rare all-green Leafs sweater with a four-leaf clover on the back. He wore the sweater for the first period of the game before the Rangers complained about the different coloured jersey on the ice.

Clancy went on to a lifetime of work for the Leafs, serving as a coach and executive. Curiously, later in life he became known more as Harold Ballard's mercurial side kick rather than as what he truly was - one of the greatest hockey players of all time.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M