40 Facts About Conn Smythe

1. Conn Smythe died at the age of 85 in 1980 at his home on Baby Point.

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2. Conn Smythe arranged for Thomas Smythe to take over the Conn Smythe Foundation, and he made gifts of money to relatives.

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3. In 1977, Conn Smythe explained why he was a theosophist: "It's because a theosophist teaches you that ya can't get away with anything in this life anyway.

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4. Conn Smythe was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

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5. Conn Smythe served as the Hall's chairman for several years, but resigned in June 1971 when Busher Jackson was posthumously elected into the Hall.

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6. Conn Smythe supervised the construction of the Hockey Hall of Fame building in Toronto in 1961.

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7. In 1975, at the age of 80, Conn Smythe organized the financing and building of the Ontario Community Centre for the Deaf, which opened in 1979.

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8. Conn Smythe helped organize the financing and construction of their Variety Club Village complex in Toronto.

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9. Conn Smythe became heavily involved in the Ontario Society for Crippled Children.

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10. Conn Smythe found Ali's refusal to serve in the US Army during the Vietnam War to be offensive because, as he put it in his autobiography, "The Gardens was founded by men—sportsmen—who fought for their country.

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11. Conn Smythe resigned the team chairmanship after Toronto won the Stanley Cup in 1962, and Bassett succeeded him.

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12. Conn Smythe stood down as governor of the Leafs on February 5, 1962–a position he had held since 1927.

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13. Conn Smythe was an NHL owner during the era before the advent of a players' union.

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14. Conn Smythe was known for caring little about gaudy regular-season records.

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15. Conn Smythe was named in a poll of Canadian sports editors the "most dominating personality in any capacity in sports" for 1949.

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16. Conn Smythe suspected that MacBrien, a member of the board of directors, wanted to succeed Bickle as president and make Selke general manager in his own right.

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17. In 1973, Conn Smythe became a founding member of the Jockey Club of Canada.

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18. Conn Smythe learned about the business and went into breeding, buying mares in foal from top thoroughbred lines, and hiring future Hall of Fame trainer Yonnie Starr.

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19. In 1951, Conn Smythe bought land for a farm in Caledon, Ontario, originally looking for a new location for a gravel pit.

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20. Conn Smythe continued to own horses through the 1930s, but he sold them in 1940, when he made plans to fight in the Second World War.

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21. Conn Smythe started owning horses in the late 1920s, but he rarely had any success.

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22. Conn Smythe gave up the coaching position to concentrate on the arena project.

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23. In 1929, Conn Smythe decided, in the midst of the Great Depression, that the Maple Leafs needed a new arena.

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24. Conn Smythe advertised in a Boston newspaper inviting people to watch "a real hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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25. Conn Smythe used any tactic available to disrupt the opponent.

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26. Conn Smythe succeeded Querrie as the team's governor, and installed himself as general manager.

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27. Conn Smythe turned Rickard down partly because of the disputed $2,500, although Rickard ordered Hammond to pay off the rest.

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28. Conn Smythe continued coaching for the University of Toronto and took on a new senior team made up of University of Toronto players, called the Varsity Grads.

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29. Conn Smythe applied to coach the Toronto St Pats, but was rejected in favour of Mike Rodden.

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30. Conn Smythe believed Hammond fired him because of his refusal to sign two-time NHL scoring champion Babe Dye, against Hammond's wishes.

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31. Conn Smythe was shot down by the Germans and captured on October 14, 1917; he was imprisoned by the Germans at Schweidnitz in Upper Silesia.

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32. Conn Smythe transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in July 1917.

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33. At the age of 16, Conn Smythe met Irene Sands, his future wife, after a football game against Parkdale Collegiate Institute, which she attended.

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34. At age eleven, Conn Smythe was christened, the occasion marking the first time that he insisted on the name "Conn" instead of his given name, Constantine.

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35. At one point, Albert and Conn Smythe moved to a house in Scarborough while Polly and Mary stayed on North Street.

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36. Conn Smythe remembered his mother Mary, who was known as Polly, as pretty, a drinker, and troublemaker, while Albert was quiet, a vegetarian, and a devoted member of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical movement.

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37. Conn Smythe was a big supporter of the Ontario Society for Crippled Children and the Variety Club and founded the Conn Smythe Foundation philanthropic organization.

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38. Conn Smythe started and ran a successful sand and gravel business.

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39. Conn Smythe is known for having served in both World Wars, organizing his own artillery battery in the Second World War.

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40. Conn Smythe is best known as the principal owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League from 1927 to 1961 and as the builder of Maple Leaf Gardens.

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