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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FRANCIS 'KING' CLANCY

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: February 25, 1903
Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario
Date of Passing: November 10, 1986
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1927-1928

Stanley Cups - Ottawa Senators

1932

Stanley Cup - Toronto Maple Leafs

1956

Assistant General Manager of the Leafs

1958

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

1969

Vice-President of the Leafs

Honoured Member FRANCIS 'KING' CLANCY
Inspire

Story

Francis 'King' Clancy rode in on a horse to become one of the most entertaining athletes in the National Hockey League. In 1930, the Toronto Maple Leafs made "the best deal in hockey" to acquire Clancy, but only after owner Conn Smythe won enough money betting on his horse, Rare Jewel, to buy Clancy from the Senators for $35,000 plus two players. The rushing defenseman's bodychecks, rushes with the puck, and boundless enthusiasm lived up to Smythe's expectations, and the pint-sized King led the Leafs to their first Stanley Cup victory in the 1931-32 season. Throughout his lifelong association with the game as a player, referee, coach, and executive, he maintained a consistent connection and rapport with fans. He was a tremendous competitor, and his memorable contributions on the ice were paralleled by his much-loved wit, humility, and Irish charm off the ice. Before playing with the Leafs, Clancy had been signed by the Ottawa Senators as an 18-year-old and quickly established himself as an outstanding hockey player and leader, for he was a key component in the club's 1923 and 1927 Stanley Cup triumphs. Over the course of his career, he was voted to the NHL first and second all-star teams twice each and participated in the Ace Bailey benefit game in 1934 and in the Howie Morenz memorial match three years later. Occasionally, the Irish in him would intersect with the player in him and Clancy would be at the centre of some of the greatest lore in NHL history. In a 1936 playoff game against the Boston Bruins, for instance, he tripped volatile defenceman Eddie Shore, and then cheekily sided with him in a dispute against the referee…while slyly placing the puck on Shore's stick, who then fired it at the referee. A penalty was called against Shore, who then threw the puck into the stands and was rewarded with a ten-minute misconduct penalty. During Shore's time in the penalty box, the Leafs evened the score and went on to eliminate the Bruins from the series. Early in the 1936-37 season, Clancy retired and began an eleven-year tenure as an extremely popular NHL referee. In 1953, he stepped behind the Maple Leafs bench and remained there for three seasons. In 1956, Clancy moved upstairs to become the Maple Leafs' assistant general manager and remained there while the team won four Stanley Cups in the 1960s. In 1969, he was appointed Leafs vice-president. During the 1970s and '80s, Clancy continued to endear himself to players, fans, management (including the cantankerous Harold Ballard), and employees alike. By the mid-1980s, he was a goodwill ambassador for the club. With his death in 1986, hockey did, indeed, lose a living legend whose sportsmanship, humour, dedication, and skill embodied the NHL itself. The King Clancy Trophy is awarded annually to a player for his charitable community work.


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