Many sports fans are already aware of the Toronto Maple Leafs' hiring of new President and former NHL great Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan, an Etobicoke native, spent years playing in the league as a member of the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, followed by a stint as the league's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development before coming to Toronto during the current off-season to take the helm of the city's most important and established sports franchise.
While fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs eagerly await the approaching hockey season, the team is taking an important step in recognizing the accomplishments of team alumni with the announcement of a new sculpture to be installed in phases at Maple Leaf Square on the west side of the arena.
'Legends Row' will feature a 30-foot granite bench, immortalizing some of the biggest names in Toronto Maple Leafs history. The multi-phase project will unveil statues of different players created by renowned sculptor and artist Erik Blome, whose works include statues of Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a Chicago Blackhawks 75th Anniversary team tribute, a life-size statue of Rosa Parks at the Rosa Parks Museum and Library in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King, and 'Heralds of 9/11', a noted Chicago-area monument using 22,000 lbs. of steel beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The players will be added to display one at a time, leading into the team's Centennial season in 2017 and beyond. The first player to be added to the display will be former Leafs captain Ted 'Teeder' Kennedy, who wore the 'C', leading the team to five Stanley Cup Championships, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966. Next month at the inaugural Toronto Maple Leafs Fan, the team will officially unveil the first three members of 'Legends Row', including the one of Ted Kennedy's likeness. Ted Kennedy's son Mark was joined this morning by Leafs President Brendan Shanahan and team announcer Joe Bowen to announce the new installation.
"We were thrilled when informed of the idea of Legends Row and even more honoured when they said that Dad would be among the first players to be included," said Kennedy. "I know that the idea of being immortalized in his number 9 Maple Leafs sweater, alongside some of the best players to ever play for this great franchise, would bring a tear to his eye."
"Legends Row will be a fitting tribute that honours many of the greatest players to ever wear the Maple Leaf while giving our fans the chance to feel a part of that history. We are thrilled to include Ted Kennedy, a player who always gave everything he had to his team, and two other Leaf greats, as the first three players to be recognized" said Brendan Shanahan.
Legends Row will be unveiled publicly on Saturday, September 6 at the Leafs Nation Fan Fest. The next inductees into Legends Row will be announced in September, 2015.