Syl Apps
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Syl Apps

Syl Apps
Syl Apps.jpg
Apps with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942
Minister of Correctional Services

PremierBill Davis
Allan Grossman
Richard Potter
Ontario MPP

William McAdam Nickle
Keith Norton
ConstituencyKingston, 1963-1967
Personal details
Born(1915-01-18)January 18, 1915
Paris, Ontario, Canada
DiedDecember 24, 1998(1998-12-24) (aged 83)
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNational Government (Federal)
Progressive Conservative (Provincial)
Military service
Branch/serviceCanadian Army
Years of service1943-1945
Battles/warsWorld War II
Ice hockey career
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1961
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1936–1948
Medal record
Men's athletics
British Empire Games
Gold medal - first place Pole vault

Charles Joseph Sylvanus Apps, (January 18, 1915 - December 24, 1998),[1] was a Canadian professional ice hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1936 to 1948, an Olympic pole vaulter and a Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario. In 2017 Apps was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[2]

Athletic career

Syl Apps, against all five Chicago Black Hawks players

Apps was a strong athlete, six feet tall, weighing 185 pounds, and won the gold medal at the 1934 British Empire Games in the pole vault competition. Two years later he represented Canada at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he placed sixth in the pole vault event. After watching him play football at McMaster University, Conn Smythe signed Apps to play hockey with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Apps played centre position with the Toronto Maple Leafs for his entire professional hockey career. His jersey number was 10. He was the winner of the first Calder Memorial Trophy in 1937, and the 1942 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Apps served as the Maple Leafs captain during the first National Hockey League All-Star Game October 13, 1947, at Maple Leaf Gardens. He also played for an all-star team competing in Montreal on October 29, 1939, to raise money for Babe Siebert's family.

Apps was in the prime of his career when he joined the Canadian Army during World War II at the end of the 1943 season. He served two years until the war was over, whereupon he returned to captain the Leafs, winning 2 more Stanley Cups in 1947 and 1948.[3]

Apps contemplated retirement following the 1947 Stanley Cup win, but returned in order to reach the 200 career goals milestone. With 196 career goals heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Apps scored 5 goals in the two weekend games to surpass his goal.[4] Despite scoring 53 points in 55 games and setting a career high in goals, Apps retired from the NHL at the age of 33 and took a marketing job with the Simpson's department store. At the same time, he also served as the Ontario Athletic Commissioner.


While still playing hockey, Apps ran for parliament in the 1940 federal election. He was a candidate in the riding of Brant for the National Government Party but lost to incumbent George Wood of the Liberals by 138 votes.

Apps was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1975. He represented the riding of Kingston from 1963 to 1967 and Kingston and the Islands from 1967 to 1975. He served as the Minister of Correctional Services from 1971 to 1974.

Cabinet positions

Ontario provincial government of Bill Davis
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Allan Grossman Minister of Correctional Services
Richard Potter


On December 24, 1998, Apps died from a heart attack and was buried in Mountview Cemetery in Cambridge, Ontario. After his death, the Maple Leafs honoured his jersey number and George Armstrong's number, who both wore the number 10. Their numbers were not retired, as the Maple Leafs had a policy of only retiring numbers for players "who have made a significant contribution to the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and have experienced a career-ending incident while a member of the Maple Leaf team". However, this policy was changed for the Maple Leafs' centennial season, with Apps' number, along with 15 others, officially being retired on October 15, 2016.


Apps was known for his athleticism, character, skating and play-making abilities (alongside a scoring touch, six times reaching the 20 goal plateau).[4] He has been praised by Maple Leafs alumni, authors, historians and even competitors. Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe called Apps the greatest player in franchise history, with teammate Howie Meeker noting his strong, consistent play. Ted Kennedy often spoke of his character. Jack Adams, famous for his managerial roles with the Detroit Red Wings, stated that Apps was the greatest centre he had ever seen. Boston Bruins legend Milt Schmidt called Apps the greatest player he ever played against, as did Ted Lindsay in relation to the centre position and gentlemanly characteristics.[4]

In 1975, he was elected to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and two years later Apps was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Several institutions are named for him, including the Syl and Molly Apps Research Centre in Kingston, Ontario, and the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville, Ontario. The sports arena in his home town of Paris is named the Syl Apps Community Centre.

In 1997, Syl Apps was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.[5] Unveiled by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame on January 13, 1998, the Syl Apps Award is emblematic of Ontario's Athlete of the Year.[6]

In 2001, Canada Post included Apps in a series of NHL All-Star 47-cent postage stamps.

The National Hockey League itself listed Apps as one of the 100 Greatest Players to ever play in the league as part of the league's centennial celebrations in 2017.[4]


Apps and wife Mary Josephine had five children, Joanne, Robert, Carol, Janet and son Syl Apps Jr. (the latter also played the NHL). His granddaughter (and daughter of Syl Jr.) Gillian Apps won the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 2014 Winter Olympics for Canada's women's ice hockey team, and his grandson Syl Apps III was a college hockey star at Princeton University and played four years in the minor leagues. His grandson Darren Barber won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the men's 8 in rowing. Barber is now a family doctor in Peterborough, Ontario.[7]

NHL awards and achievements

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1930-31 Paris Green OHA-Jr. 7 5 1 6 0 -- -- -- -- --
1935-36 Hamilton Tigers OHA-Sr. 19 22 16 38 10 9 12 7 19 4
1935-36 Toronto Dominions OHA-Sr. 1 0 1 1 0 -- -- -- -- --
1935-36 Hamilton Tigers A-Cup -- -- -- -- -- 4 5 4 9 2
1936-37 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 48 16 29 45 10 2 0 1 1 0
1937-38 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 47 21 29 50 9 7 1 4 5 0
1938-39 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 44 15 25 40 4 10 2 6 8 2
1939-40 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 13 17 30 5 10 5 2 7 2
1940-41 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 41 20 24 44 6 5 3 2 5 2
1941-42* Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 38 18 23 41 0 13 5 9 14 2
1942-43 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 29 23 17 40 2 -- -- -- -- --
1945-46 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 40 24 16 40 2 -- -- -- -- --
1946-47* Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 54 25 24 49 6 11 5 1 6 0
1947-48* Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 55 26 27 53 12 9 4 4 8 0
NHL totals 423 201 231 432 56 67 25 29 54 14

* Stanley Cup Champion.

Electoral record

1940 Canadian federal election:
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Wood 4,657 50.8 +6.3
National Government Syl Apps 4,519 49.2 +12.1
Total valid votes

Note: "National Government" vote is compared to Conservative vote in 1935 election.

See also


  1. ^ Cole, Stephen (2006). The Canadian Hockey Atlas. Doubleday Canada. ISBN 978-0-385-66093-8.
  2. ^ a b "100 Greatest NHL Players". National Hockey League. January 1, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "HHOF - Player Details".
  4. ^ a b c d "Syl Apps: 100 Greatest NHL Players". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Syl Apps". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Syl Apps Athlete of the Year Award". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "Gold medallist coaching coaching novice women's eights at Trent |". October 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Toronto Maple Leafs retire the numbers of 17 players". National Hockey League. October 15, 2016. Retrieved 2016.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by Toronto Maple Leafs captain
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bob Davidson
Toronto Maple Leafs captain
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rookie of the Year
Mike Karakas
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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