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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

SYL APPS

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 18, 1915
Place of Birth: Paris, Ontario
Date of Passing: December 24, 1998
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1937

Awarded Calder trophy as NHL rookie of the year

1942

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

1947, 1948

Stanley Cup - Toronto Maple Leafs

1961

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

1963-75

Ontario MPP, serving as Minister of Correctional Services 1971-1974

1977

Named to Order of Canada

Honoured Member SYL APPS
Inspire

Story

A rare combination of principles, precision, and power all his life, Syl Apps left a deep imprint in the hearts of fans and colleagues alike, and to this day his name resonates with an almost mythical representation of what hockey and life are all about. Sylvanus Apps was a strong athlete, six feet tall and 185 pounds. He represented Canada at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he placed sixth in the pole vault. After watching him play football at McMaster University, Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe signed Apps to play hockey with the team in 1936, but not before having to convince Apps that the game was a worthy career choice. Apps played centre with the Toronto Maple Leafs for his entire professional hockey career. He was the winner of the first Calder Trophy in 1937 and in one of the most stunning events in NHL history he captained the Leafs in 1942 to the seemingly improbable Stanley Cup victory against the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs lost the first three games of the finals but somehow won the next four in a row to win the Cup - a feat unmatched before or since. When asked about the rally in later years, the characteristically loyal Apps said, simply, "We couldn't go home without a win to a city that supported its team so much." He won the 1942 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for "most gentlemanly player." Indeed, Apps was well known for not drinking, smoking or swearing the entire time he was in professional hockey. Apps played for the Leafs from 1936 to 1948, taking two years out in 1943 to serve the Canadian Army. In 1947 he was appointed the athletic commissioner for sport in Ontario. He later became a Conservative member of parliament in the Ontario Legislature, representing Kingston. He was chairman of Premier Bill Davis' select committee on youth until appointed Minister of Correctional Services (1971 - 1974). Apps was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1975. In 1977 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. There are several institutions named for him, including the Syl and Molly Apps Research Centre in Kingston, Ontario, and the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville. The sports arena in his home town of Paris, Ontario, is named the Syl Apps Community Centre. In 1975, at the age of 60, Apps retired from politics having served his cabinet and constituents with distinction. In addition to being an Honoured Member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, he is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Amateur Athletics Hall of Fame. In October 1993 his number 10 was honoured at Maple Leaf Gardens. He died in 1998 and was buried in Cambridge, Ontario.


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