Syl Apps (Charles Joseph Sylvanus Apps)

Syl Apps

Syl Apps was a strong athlete, six feet tall, weighing 185 pounds, and won the gold medal at the 1934 British Empire Games in the pole vault competition. Two years later he represented Canada at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he placed sixth in the pole vault event. After watching him play football at McMaster University, Conn Smythe signed Apps to play hockey with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Apps played centre position with the Toronto Maple Leafs for his entire professional hockey career. His jersey number was 10. He was the winner of the first Calder Trophy in 1937, and the 1942 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Apps served as the Maple Leafs captain during the first National Hockey League All-Star Game October 13, 1947, at Maple Leaf Gardens. He also played for an all-star team competing in Montreal on October 29, 1939, to raise money for Babe Siebert’s family. Syl Apps was in the prime of his career when he joined the Canadian Army during World War II at the end of the 1943 season. He served two years until the war was over, whereupon he returned to captain the Leafs, winning 2 more Stanley Cups in 1947 and 1948. Syl Apps contemplated retirement following the 1947 Stanley Cup win, but returned in order to reach the 200 career goals milestone. With 196 career goals heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Apps scored 5 goals in the two weekend games to surpass his goal. Despite scoring 53 points in 55 games and setting a career high in goals, Apps retired from the NHL at the age of 33 and took a marketing job with the Simpson’s department store. At the same time, he also served as the Ontario Athletic Commissioner. Syl Apps died of heart attack on December 24, 1998 and was buried in Mountview Cemetery in Cambridge, Ontario. After his death, the Maple Leafs honoured his jersey number and George Armstrong’s number, who both wore the number 10. Their numbers were not retired, as the Maple Leafs had a policy of only retiring numbers for players “who have made a significant contribution to the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and have experienced a career-ending incident while a member of the Maple Leaf team”. However, this policy was changed for the Maple Leafs’ centennial season, with Apps’ number, along with 15 others, being retired on October 15, 2016.

Born

  • January, 18, 1915
  • Paris, Ontario, Canada

Died

  • December, 24, 1998
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

Cemetery

  • Mountview Cemetery
  • Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

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