Last night the Toronto Maple Leafs delivered the banner of the legendary Tim Horton to his hometown of Cochrane for display in the town's Tim Horton Events Centre before an NOJHL Cochrane Crunch game.
The banner, and those of other honoured players, which previously hung in the Air Canada Centre are being gifted to the communities from where those players were born. Present for the ceremony were three of Horton's daughters, and local dignitaries.
Leafs alumni Paul Harrison & Mike Palmateer take part in the ceremony alongside the Horton family & the Mayor. pic.twitter.com/KCTh67EPES— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 2, 2016
Horton was signed by the Maple Leafs and played his first game for the team in 1950. He became a regular on the Leafs blueline, winning four Stanley Cups with his team. He would eventually play a total of 1,184 games for the Maple Leafs until he was traded to the New York Rangers in 1970.
During his career he strung together an incredible streak of 486 consecutive games played. That streak was only broken decades later by the late Kārlis Skrastiņš playing for the Colorado Avalanche.
Horton died on February 21, 1974. At that time he was 43 years old, playing for the Buffalo Sabres. He was on his way home from playing a game in Toronto, choosing to drive himself, rather than take the team bus. Driving on the QEW through St. Catharines his car swerved off the road, flipped in the air and crashed. Horton was known to drink heavily at that time of his life, and it is suspected to have been a factor in the crash.
Of course, today, Tim Horton is known across Canada as a co-founder of the business that still bears his name. Horton invested money with a partner to start the operations of a doughnut shop business and in 1964 the first Tim Horton's franchise opened in Hamilton. For many years you could find a framed picture of Horton, wearing his Maple Leafs jersey, mounted on the wall of each franchise. That seems to have been phased out in recent times as the chain expanded into a global business.
Leafs fans however will never forget him. A new banner honouring Tim Horton will be raised to the ACC rafters during the Leafs' home opener on Saturday October 15 as a part of the team's centennial celebrations.