Hall of Famer
Inducted in 2002
20 seasons with Toronto Maple Leafs
Played in seven NHL All-Star Games
Four Stanley Cups-Toronto Maple Leafs
By the time he was killed in a single-car crash in 1974, Tim Horton was regarded as one of the toughest, skilled defenceman hockey had ever seen. Yet today he is known more for his entrepreneurial success as a seller of coffee and purveyor of donuts. Horton came out of the far Ontario north to play at St. Mike's in Toronto, a regular warmup for the NHL and Maple Leafs. He played with the big team briefly in '49-'50 and '51-'52, but it was in the fall of 1952 that he made the team full time. For the next 22 seasons, he was the most respected player in the league, in part because of his skill, in part because the famed Tim Horton bearhug could render any player in the league incapable of movement. Horton suffered a serious setback to his career late in the '54-'55 season when he broke his leg in a collision with Bill Gadsby. It took him the better part of eight months to recover, but after that he became the most resilient player in the game, and by the time of his death he had played more games on the blueline than anyone in league history (1,446). Horton stayed with the Leafs though 1970, anchoring the defensive corps to the team's four Stanley Cups in the 1960s. To start, he was the youngest, most promising defenceman on the team; at the end, he was the hall of fame-bound veteran who imparted wisdom to his much younger teammates. Horton played briefly with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins before signing with Buffalo, an expansion team coached by Punch Imlach, the driving force behind the Leafs' success in the Original Six era of the '60s. It was during his second season with the team that he was killed driving back to Buffalo after a game in Toronto. During his career, Horton opened a small donut shop in Hamilton, and over the years he expanded with ever greater success until the chain ran from coast to coast. Today, Horton the player remains famous for his exploits on ice, but the name Tim Hortons is more widely known in that coffee and donut context. Either way, his play on ice marks his legacy with the Leafs and the NHL to this day. The Sabres retired his number 7 and the Leafs also honoured his number in the rafters of Air Canada Centre.