Sittler, Darryl

Darryl Sittler, hockey player (b at Kitchener, Ont 18 Sept 1950). Darryl Sittler is considered one of the best-ever TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS players. Sittler began his hockey career with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey Association in the 1960s. Shortly after the Leafs chose him 8th overall in the 1970 NHL player draft, and in 1972-73 he began to establish himself as one of the team's best offensive players when the club was rebuilding after many veterans had either retired or been traded. In 1974 he became the second-youngest captain in Leafs history.

Sittler continued to hone his offensive skills in the years that followed. On 7 February 1976 he played the best offensive game in the history of the National Hockey League, one which continues to hold its place in the record books, when he helped the Leafs to victory over the Boston Bruins with a score of 11-4. Sittler's six goals and four assists set a league record for points in one game, a record that had previously been held by Maurice "Rocket"RICHARD, and he became the first Leaf to reach the 100-point mark in scoring in a season. He continued to make hockey history during the playoffs in April against the Philadelphia Flyers, when he scored five goals in one game, tying the playoff record. In September, Sittler helped to secure the 1976 CANADA CUP championship with a tie-breaking overtime goal against Czechoslovakia, and he became an overnight hero to Canadian hockey fans.

The Leafs franchise began to suffer in the 1978-79 season following a detrimental change in management. In protest, Sittler cut the "C" ("Captain") off his sweater prior to a 1979 game. He demanded to be traded midway through the 1981-82 season, and was subsequently sent to the Philadelphia Flyers. In 1984 he was sent to the Detroit Red Wings, where he struggled to maintain his previous standard of play. He retired in 1985.

Despite his struggles with Leafs management in the early 1980s, Sittler holds a significant place in the team's history. He was inducted into the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME in 1989 and returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs management in marketing and public relations in the early 1990s. In 1996 Leafs fans voted Sittler the greatest all-time centreman, and the team retired Sittler's number (27) in February 2003. In 2008 he became an NHL sponsor for Scotiabank. Darryl Sittler is also the subject of a well-known Canadian children's book, My Leafs Sweater by Mike Leonetti.