King Clancy is shown here during his three-year stint as coach of the Maple Leafs. He took over from Joe Primeau after 1952-53 and inherited a team that was quickly forgetting how to score. Most of the big names of the 1940s squad were aging, moving on or both and the new kids played hard but didn’t show a lot by way of hands. Fortunately for King, the Leafs could check and Harry Lumley was turning in back-to-back all-star campaigns and posted goals-against averages under 2.00 between 1953-55.
What I like about this card isn’t Clancy’s ever-present ear-to-ear grin or anything on the typically-wordy Parkhurst back. It’s his tie. It’s not particularly nice and I don’t think I’d wear it even on St. Patrick’s day, but it’s great to see in this set. For 1955-56, Parkhurst only had rights to Montreal and Toronto. The design is rather basic with no backgrounds, and one impact is that the only colours you ever see are red, blue and white. Clancy’s green tie stands out like a beacon and is a nice little touch of diversity.
The stats on these cards are from the ’54-55 season, and – fittingly – the Leafs tied their way into the record books. In a 70-game schedule, they had 22 ties (record since broken by the ’69-70 Flyers in a 78-game season). They also had a dead-square record at 24-24-22. That’s a lot of sister kissing.