Talk with Syl Apps

Syl Apps, a Canadian Olympic athlete and politician, became the first captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs and later served as a Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament.


Who is Syl Apps?

Syl Apps was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1936 to 1948. He was known for his exceptional skating ability, sportsmanship, and leadership qualities, serving as the captain of the Maple Leafs for several seasons.

Apps was born on January 18, 1915, in Paris, Ontario, Canada. Before his hockey career, he was also an accomplished pole vaulter and competed at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. His athletic talents weren't just limited to hockey and athletics; he also excelled at football and other sports during his university years.

Apps led an illustrious career in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup three times with the Maple Leafs (1942, 1945, 1947). Over his 10-season NHL career, he accumulated 432 points (201 goals and 231 assists) in 423 regular season games, remarkable numbers that contributed to his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

After retiring from professional hockey, Apps pursued a career in politics and became a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the Progressive Conservative Party. He remained active in various forms of public service and sports administration.

Apps passed away on December 24, 1998. His legacy continues through his family, with his son Syl Apps Jr. also enjoying a successful NHL career, and his name remains respected and celebrated in the hockey world for his contributions on and off the ice.

How did Syl Apps' athletic career influence his political career?

Syl Apps' athletic career significantly influenced his political career, primarily by enhancing his public image and appeal. Apps was not only a celebrated athlete in hockey, playing as a center for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1936 to 1948, but he also exemplified leadership, sportsmanship, and integrity on and off the ice. These qualities helped him gain widespread admiration and respect, which smoothly transitioned into his political life.

Apps entered politics after his retirement from professional hockey, bringing with him a high-profile name and a reputation as a role model. In 1963, he was elected as a Progressive Conservative member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for the riding of Kingston. During his tenure, he served as a Cabinet Minister, holding various portfolios including Minister of Correctional Services.

His background in sports, especially in a team environment, likely contributed to his skills in leadership and collaboration, valuable traits in a political setting. He was used to being in the public eye, handling pressure and making quick decisions, all of which are aspects of both athletic and political careers. Thus, his sportsmanship likely influenced his approach to governance, emphasizing fair play, integrity, and dedication—characteristics that the public had come to associate with him during his hockey career.

How many terms did Syl Apps serve in Parliament?

Syl Apps served one term in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the riding of Kingston and the Islands in 1963 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party and served until 1967.

When did Syl Apps become captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Syl Apps became the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1940 and served in that role until 1943, after which he served in the Canadian Army during World War II. He returned to the team and resumed his captaincy from 1945 until his retirement in 1948.

What was Syl Apps' impact on Canadian hockey?

Syl Apps had a significant impact on Canadian hockey, both through his impressive playing career and his exemplary personal character. As the center for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1936 to 1948, Apps led the team to three Stanley Cup victories (1942, 1945, and 1947). His contribution to the Maple Leafs and the game was profound, marked by his skilled playmaking, sportsmanship, and leadership.

Apps scored 201 goals and 231 assists during his 423-game NHL career, impressive numbers given the era in which he played, highlighting his offensive capabilities. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with playing ability in 1942. Apps' style of play and conduct on and off the ice set a standard for future generations, making him a role model for aspiring hockey players.

Moreover, Syl Apps was also significant in his roles after his playing career. He served as a Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario from 1963 to 1975, including a stint as the Minister of Correctional Services. This transition from sports to significant public service roles demonstrated his leadership qualities and continued his legacy of impact in Canada beyond just the realm of professional sports.

Apps was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, further solidifying his stature as one of the greats in Canadian hockey history. His influence remains a testament to his abilities on the ice and his character, which resonated with fans and citizens alike.

What sport did Syl Apps compete in during the Olympics?

Syl Apps competed in pole vaulting during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. He was a talented all-around athlete who excelled in multiple sports before making a significant mark in professional ice hockey.

How tall is Syl Apps?

Syl Apps was approximately 6 feet tall (183 cm). His stature complemented his athletic ability, making him a prominent figure in Canadian professional ice hockey during his career.

Is Syl Apps in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Yes, Syl Apps was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. He had a distinguished career as a center for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1936 to 1948, during which time he captained the team and led them to three Stanley Cup championships. His skills, sportsmanship, and leadership were highly respected, earning him this honor shortly after he retired from professional hockey.

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