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City of Toronto dedicates rink to former Leafs captain

A tremendous gesture by the city and MLSE…

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have had many outstanding captains throughout their 100 year history, but only three Leafs captains are Toronto born and bred, Charlie Conacher, Bob Davidson and Sid Smith. The latter will be honoured this weekend when the Christie Pits outdoor skating rink is re-dedicated to Smith on Sunday at 1pm.

The even is hosted by Toronto Councillor Mike Layton and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) with a skating party from 1pm to 3pm. Some of Smith’s former teammates from the 1950s era Leafs, including Pete Conacher and Ron Hurst, are expected to attend the event.

“It was a rink he enjoyed very much,” said Blaine Smith, Sid’s son. Sid passed away in 2004 at age 78, but Blaine remembers just how much his father loved that particular outdoor rink. “He lived on Burnfield Ave., just above the Pits. He’d tell stories about coming home from Leafs practice and just taking his skates and stick out to play shinny with the local kids.”

“That was my father. He didn’t think of himself as anyone special, just because he played for the Leafs.”

Smith won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in the late 1940s and was the team’s captain from 1955-’56. The left-winger was the team’s captain for such a short period by his own choice, electing to return the “C” to legendary Leafs captain Ted Kennedy upon his return to the team.

Smith was recently named the 33rd great Leaf in team history and played a respectable 601 games with the team, earning 369 points. 

“I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s ceremony,” said the younger Smith. “It would be something my dad would be proud of, as a Torontonian. He was the only local guy on the team at one point, everyone else was from out West or up North.”

Former Leafs defenceman hits the waiver wire

In other Leafs news, former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson was waived by his current team the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday morning and is now available to any team in the entire NHL willing to take on his one-year, $1 million contract.

Franson has one goal and seven points in 23 games with the Blackhawks this season, but his underlying numbers suggest that he has an even bigger impact on the ice aside from his point production. Franson leads the Hawks in shot-rate, ahead of superstar players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Bottom line: when Franson is on the ice, shots get through to the opposition’s net. That’s something that could be very valuable in Toronto.

Evidently teams are interested in Franson, so it’s likely he gets claimed before today’s noon deadline. In all probability, he’s done as a Chicago Blackhawk, but could he be back in the plans for the Leafs?