Brandon, MB. – As a continuation of the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season celebrations that began during the 2016-17 season, the National Hockey League club has announced plans to present the Walter Turk Broda banner that has been hanging in the Air Canada Centre to the City of Brandon.
The Maple Leafs created a number of banners last year to pay tribute to those former players that have had their jersey numbers retired in Toronto.
Broda’s banner will be officially unveiled at Westman Communications Group Place this Sunday afternoon when the Western Hockey League’s Wheat Kings play host to the visiting Swift Current Broncos. On hand to help with the unveiling will be former Maple Leaf and longtime Wheat King great Bill Derlago.
“One of our goals throughout our Centennial celebrations, in addition to recognizing the rich history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be to share the excitement with Leafs fans far and wide and thank them for their support,” said Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “This banner tour will see an important part of Maple Leafs history permanently on display in the towns of our greatest players.”
Broda, who was born in Brandon, played 730 NHL games over 14 seasons as goaltender for the Maple Leafs, winning the Stanley Cup on five separate occasions – 1942, ‘47, ‘48, ‘49 and ‘51. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967, had his number raised to the rafters of Maple Leaf Gardens in 1995, received a statue on Legends Row in 2016 and in the same year, was ranked number 10 on the list of The One Hundred Greatest Leafs of all-time.
“In 1993, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Leafs Alumni began the tradition of honouring former Leafs greats by raising their names and numbers to the rafters of Maple Leaf Gardens until they were moved to Air Canada Centre where the tradition continued,” said Peter Ing, who just completed his three year term as President of the Leafs Alumni. “For years, hockey fans in Toronto have been able to enjoy these ceremonies and see the banners when they visit Air Canada Centre. It’s special to know that now, fans in the communities that produced those players will be able to see their banners as well.”
Turk, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967, retired after playing one game in 1951-52. He was accorded a special night at Maple Leaf Gardens by Conn Smythe, one of the rarest honours bestowed upon a Maple Leaf.
Joining Derlago on the ice on behalf of the Leafs will be Barb Tushingham, daughter of Broda, who passed away in 1972.
Accepting the banner Sunday will be Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest and Keystone Centre general manager Jeff Schumacher.
A former first round draft choice (4th overall in 1978) of the Vancouver Canucks, Derlago played nine seasons in the NHL, including six seasons in Toronto.
The Beulah, Manitoba product, who played from 1974-78 with the Wheat Kings, scored 189 goals and 416 points in 515 NHL games that included stops in Winnipeg, Boston and Quebec. His best year in the NHL came with the Leafs during the 1981-82 campaign when he scored 34 goals and 84 points.
As a Wheat King, Derlago remains among the franchise leaders in goals (234 – 2nd) and points (437 -4th) in 209 games. He remains second only to Ron Chipperfield in scoring among Brandon centers.
His best season as a Wheat King came in 1976-77 when he scored 96 goals, which was a league record at the time, and 178 points.
Not only was he named to Brandon’s All Time Team last season when the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary in the WHL, he was chosen to the league’s Top 50 Players of All Time, finishing 18th overall.
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