Team photo courtesy: Galt Museum and Archives

Contact: Trevor Esau at

How to Read the Site:

We have tried to capture the story of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs and provide a site to post stories, documents, links and photos of their incredible journey to the Championship.

To read their great story from the beginning, scroll to the bottom of the site to part 1 and work your way up through the 34 parts (You may have to click on “older posts” at the bottom to get to part 1). Each part is in chronological order and describes a part of the journey and many contain photos (We continue to add new photos to these posts as we get them).

After part 34 we are posting current related activities, stories and photos from the Galt Museum & Archives, Lethbridge Hurricanes, City of Lethbridge and private collections, as they become available. If you have a photo or story contribution for the site we would be happy to post it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Summary of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs Journey - from our April 13, 2017 post below as seen on the IIHF site

Worlds in Paris in... 1951

Canada’s “Cinderella team” wins gold 66 years ago

Published 25.04.2017 15:10 GMT+2 | Author Trevor Esau
Worlds in Paris in... 1951
The opening ceremony of the 1951 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Paris. Photo Courtesy James Sinclair collection

The last time Paris hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship was in 1951. The Lethbridge Maple Leafs representing Canada won it 66 years ago.
Canada’s Cinderella Team
The Lethbridge Maple Leafs were said to be one of the greatest “Cinderella teams “of all time in hockey.  The year before the World Championship they were a collection of recreational players; self-organised mainly for exercise, their love for playing the game and to play in Lethbridge, a small city in western Canada.
They had no sponsor, no money, sharpened their own skates, worked at full-time jobs, designed their own uniform and practiced at hours “only the night watchman knew”. With only six NHL teams, there were hundreds of very good Canadian amateur hockey teams to select to represent Canada. The Lethbridge Maple Leafs were chosen after winning the Western Canada championship the season before.
The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) came under “harsh criticism” for the decision to have the Leafs represent Canada. The Lethbridge Maples Leafs selection to represent Canada and win the World Championships is one of the greatest stories in amateur sport in Canada.
By the time they were headed back to Canada from their European tour, the “Cinderella” Maple Leafs were World Champions and Sir Winston Churchill Cup winners. Their impressive record of 51 wins, 7 losses and 4 ties ended on a 44 game unbeaten string. 
The Journey
On their journey to the championships the Maple Leafs had travelled close to 30,000 miles by bus, train, ship, airplane and car and played before about 400,000 people in 14 countries.
The Maple Leafs had played in magnificent indoor rinks to capacity crowds, such as 15,000 in Zurich. They had also played in outdoor rinks in dangerous yet humorous conditions. In Germany the players plowed the snow off the outdoor rinks every five minutes in a snowstorm before 12,000 fans cheering wildly for encouragement. At one stop, local officials pounded tacks into the bottom of pucks to make them slide better. They added venues as people wanted to see the Canadian team. The Leafs played in a small town with grandstands made of snow to accommodate 2,500 hockey fans. At times, the Leafs played on melted ice, running instead of skating and using golf shots but continued the game as they did not want to disappoint the thousands of small town fans. 
“I believe it is one of the most unique stories of the history of Canadian amateur hockey. We played for the love of the game, the fellowship and the occasional beer,” Tom Wood said.
The Worlds in Paris
After playing other games in Europe as preparation, the team coached by Dick Gray and captained by Hec Negrello arrived in Paris for the 1951 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship that took place 9-17 March at Palais des Sports. 13 countries came to the event and were split into two groups, a seven-team round robin battling for the title and six teams in a challenge group that would later become the B-Pool and Division I.
The World Championships started on 9 March 1951 with the opening ceremony for the 13 countries that brought with them 225 hockey players. The goaltender from each team carried their country’s flag and led their team’s procession.
Goalie Mallie Hughes led the Canadians onto the ice. The team followed the goalie in rows of three. The nations entered the arena in alphabetical order and someone yelled to Mallie, "Hold our flag high Mallie, it's a pretty good flag".
At that time Canada didn’t have the red-and-white maple leaf flag we know and was introduced in 1965 but the Red Ensign containing the Union Flag as used in the flag of the United Kingdom. But the maple leaf was on the jerseys of the players since they used their club logo.
Teams from Austria, Belgium, Canada, the United States, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and the hosts from France all skated around the ice in front of a battery of cameraman, newsreel cameras and TV cameras. After lining up in order, La Marsellaise was played and IIHF President Dr. Fritz Kraantz welcomed the countries.
The Lethbridge Maple Leafs went on to defeat Finland, Norway, Great Britain, the United States and Switzerland before meeting Sweden, which was also undefeated in five games, on the last day.
The Championship Game
A full house of 17,000 packed the Palais des Sports in Paris to watch the championship game between Canada and Sweden. The Lethbridge Maple Leafs from Canada emerged with a 5-1 win and the World Championship!
The Swedish team decided to play a very defensive strategy. Even if they lost the game, if they limited the number of goals Canada scored, Sweden would get the silver medal and the European Championship title on goal against average over the Swiss, who also had nine points. While they were determined to win, they did not want to let Canada score many goals against them.
The Maple Leafs’ Don MacLean scored the first goal early from a Bill Gibson pass. Then Gibson set up a goal from Captain Negrello to put the Maple Leafs up 2-0. The third goal was Mickey Roth's from a Bill Flick setup. Sweden then got on the score sheet with their only goal. The crowd had started off favouring the Swedish team as underdogs. However, after MacLean scored his second goal to go up 4-1, the crowd started to admire and cheer the Canadian team. Roth finished off a play from Denny Flanagan and Flick to end the scoring.
Stan Obodiac wrote: "All of a sudden the game was over... we were world champions. We hugged each other like a bunch of school boys. There were movie cameras and a battery of cameramen all about. Then they played ‘O Canada’ and raised our flag for the victory. We all faced it as it rose to the top. Bill Gibson had a tear in his eye. Tommy Wood said it was the happiest day of his life.”
The World Championship trophy was presented to Captain Hec Negrello on a pedestal at centre ice, Sweden won silver and Switzerland bronze. The Maple Leafs then carried the trophy on a victory lap around the rink to the applause of the large crowd.
In the six World Championship games, the Leafs scored 62 goals and only allowed 6 goals against! The victory brought their winning streak to 40 straight.  
So ended the greatest days of our life!"  Obodiac wrote.
Experience of a Lifetime
The players started out as a group of players with a love for the game organizing an exercise team in a Lethbridge, a small city in western Canada. They endured an exhaustive travel schedule away from home, illnesses that resulted in the few losses, money issues including lost wages, politics resulting in several line-up changes and harsh weather conditions. However, they also received overwhelming hospitality and welcome from the countries, great support from home, enthusiastic support from hockey fans everywhere, saw post-war Europe and many world-class tourist destinations. And they enjoyed great success on the ice. The players ended with the experience of a lifetime and the Lethbridge Maple Leafs ended as World Champions and one of the greatest “Cinderella” teams for Canada. They arrived home to a hero’s welcome with banquets, parades and many platitudes.
Click on the right (desktop version) or here to watch a video on the 1951 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Paris, the last one held in the French capital that in May will co-host the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Go to for a complete history of their journey including photos, stories, newspaper clippings, first-hand player accounts and more.
We would like to thank James Sinclair, Lethbridge Museum and Archives and the Obodiac family for permission to use many of the references and photos on our site
References written and maintained by Trevor Esau and Darcen Esau.
Obodiac, Stanlee (1922-1985) [info]. No substitute for victory: The story of the Canadian world hockey victory. Yorkton, Sask.: Printed by The Redeemer's Voice Press, 1952.  To read this book click here.

Lyle Roth is the last living member of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs

Thanks again to James Sinclair for sending us the following  report and photos on the status of the Lethbridge Maple Leaf teams:

"I also have some sad news to report...
I've had limited contact with the Three (3) Ontario Players that were sent over just prior to the 1951 Championships in Paris.

(The Famous "Flick, Flanagan, Roth" Line that Dominated Ontario Senior Hockey in the 50's)

After Shorty Malacko's passing - these 3 players were the last living remaining Players..
But I've found out that Bill Flick passed away March 20th 2018 he was 91 yrs old & Dennis (Dinny) Flanagan passed away on Nov 25/18..he was 88 yrs old

Just Leaves Micky (Lyle) Roth as the last living Player from this Team.
Unfortunately,  Time Marches on,,,,

Thanks James

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Steve Raz Information

Thanks to Karen Dill for  responding  to our request for more information about Steve Raz. 
Karen wrote:

"It appears he played for the Native Sons - see attachments
In early 50's he played for Michigan State University.  He was married to my cousin."

Further Information:  Newspaper article  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mystery Player: Steve Raz

James Sinclair forwarded these articles to post on our site.   Maxine Malacko (Jim Malacko's widow) found this newspaper among her late husbands' hockey collection. 

The articles present a mystery player.  Steve Raz's picture appears in the paper  but he does not appear in any further Lethbridge Maple Leaf information.  James writes, "I was shocked/surprised to see a picture of "Steve Raz" in this paper. I have never heard of this name before, I don't recall any of the former players ever mentioning this fellow?"

James speculated that  Don Pilling of the Lethbridge Herald probably had to send this article out to "Ice Hockey World" Newspaper in London, England weeks, if not months in advance in order to get published in time for the Maple Leafs arrival. 

If you have any information that sheds light on Steve Raz's playing days with the Lethbridge Maple Leafs, please contact Trevor at  Thanks

Thanks to James Sinclair and Maxine Malacko

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lars Ingels Sent Us a Lethbridge Maple Leaf Newspaper Clipping rom Sweden

Thanks to Lars Ingels from Leksand, Sweden. 

He emailed us recently and said his dad collected all of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs players autographs when they played there in 1951. Lars still has the autograph book.

Lars also sent us this  newspaper clipping from the game. He translated the headline as: 

“The canucks impossible also in the Leksand game. Good resistance but loss da capo”

Monday, April 17, 2017

New Photo From the James Sinclair Collection

James submitted this great photo of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs in close quarters in a very small dressing room they encountered on their journey to become World Champions!

L-R Mallie Hughes, Jim Malacko, Bill Chandler, Whitey Rimstad, Lou Siray, Tom Woods, Stan Obodiac..
Photo Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

Thursday, April 13, 2017

IIHF Posts The Story of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs World Championship Journey

Thank you to Martin Merk and the IIHF staff  of the  International Ice Hockey Federation for posting our Lethbridge Maples Leafs story on their web site. To read it go to IIHF Post, Lethbridge Maple Leafs: Canada's "Cinderella" Team

The IIHF has also posted this video showing film footage of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs winning the 1951 World Championships in Paris, the last time France hosted the World Championship.

Thanks also to James Sinclair for the coordination and photos from his collection.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Message From Trevor Esau and Darcen Esau

Trevor Esau left with Darcen Esau
It is a great pleasure to continue to maintain our site. Over the years, we have been enriched by our contact with the players, players families, and the many fans at home and around the world.  The Lethbridge Maple Leafs World Championship victory has just  past the 65th anniversary of their win in Paris, France in 1951.  Now, 66 years later, Paris, France will host the World Championships again.  The International Ice Hockey Federation  (IIHF) has asked us to write an article summarizing the Lethbridge Maple Leafs and their incredible journey. We will post a link to the article  when it's published on their site.

We especially enjoy contact from fans who may have seen the Lethbridge Maple Leafs play during their journey.   Ylva Lindstrom (maiden name Hakansson) was just 12 when the Maple Leafs came to town to play her team Leksand IF in Sweden. She sent us her memories and photos including autographs collected from the Maple Leafs. To view her photos and read her story click on:  Ylva Lindstrom's Story

If you have memories or photos from the Lethbridge Maple Leafs journey please contact us  We would like to post them on this site. 
Darcen Esau discussing the Maple Leafs journey with Tom Wood
during the 60th Anniversary game.  Tom wrote a personal
 account of his experience for us that we published on our  site!
 Trevor Esau interviewing Mr. Andrew "Nap" Milroy at the 
Lethbridge Museum and Archives artifact display about 
his memories of the journey and championships!  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Mr. James "Shorty" Malacko - May 27, 1930 - December 25, 2016: Our Sincere Condolences to the Malacko Family

On behalf of Trevor Esau and Darcen Esau of the and we would like to express our sincere condolences to the Malacko  family. Jim "Shorty" Malacko passed away on December 25, 2016.

Jim "Shorty" Malacko pictured first on the left
Photo courtesy James Sinclair

Jim was a World Champion with the Lethbridge Maple Leafs, winning the gold medal at the World Amateur Hockey Championships in Paris, France in 1951. You can view his on-line tribute here, James Irvine Malacko Obituary

Jim "Shorty" Malacko, second row, second from the left

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thank you

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being been so helpful and supportive in our effort to bring the Lethbridge Maple Leaf story to the world. 

We continue to receive page views from all over the world and occasionally we receive stories and photos from our readers.  Thanks to all of you! 

In particular, we want to thank honourary Lethbridge Maple Leaf, James Sinclair, pictured below.  James continues to be the Number 1 fan of the Leafs and he has contributed many photos, videos, comments and background information to this site. James also played a large role in organizing the family night for the Hurricanes replica jersey celebration.  Thanks you James!

Don McLean's Daughters Diane and Cheryl 
With James Sinclair in a Replica Jersey

We would also like to thank the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta. Many of the photos are provided courtesy of the Galt Museum and Archives and especially Collections Technician- Kevin MacLean, pictured left.  Kevin continues to alert us to collection donations from the Maple Leafs. Kevin also had a photographer take pictures of the collection for us to post.  Thank you Kevin!
Photo Courtesy Galt Museum and Archives

We would also like to thank the Obodiac family for the use of the many references and quotes of Stan Obodiac's great book, No Substitute for Victory, ! The digital version is made available through the consent of the  Obodiac family  to the University of Alberta Library's Peel's Prairie Provinces, a resource dedicated to assisting scholars, students and researchers of all types!

We would also like to thank those who encouraged us and promoted the site:  Gregg Drinnan, Sports Editor, Kamloops Daily News;  Phillip Pritchard, Hockey Hall of Fame; Terry Vogt, CTV News Lethbridge; Bob Nicholson, Executive Director,  Hockey Canada; the Lethbridge Hurricanes for partnering on the anniversary night at the Hurricanes game,  and many more! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lethbridge Hurricanes Donate Original Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Clippings to Lethbridge Maple Leafs would like to thank the Lethbridge Hurricanes for donating original Lethbridge Herlad clippings of the Maple Leafs to us.  The clippings had been  compiled and preserved in a scrap book at the time of the word championships.  A Hurricane fan dropped the collection off at the Hurricanes office.  The photos below represent the many pages of Herald articles and photos in the collection:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ylva Lindstrom Sent us Photos, Autographs and Memories of The Maple Leafs Game Against Leksand IF!

We were very fortunate to receive an email from a fan at one of the Lethbridge Maple Leaf games in 1951! 

We would like to thank Ylva Lindstrom (maiden name Hakansson) who was just 12 (pictured below) when the Maple Leafs came to town to play her team Leksand IF. Mrs. Lindstrom provided the pictures below and the following email telling us her story!  She also collected the autographs of the Lethbridge Maple Leaf players and provided us with a scan of them, below!

Hi Trevor,

Hi,   in 1951, as a young girl, 12 years of age, I watched a home game for my team Leksand IF. I took the opportunity to take the autographs of all the players in both teams. When I looked at them today I found the reference to your team Lethbridge Maple Leafs and googled it. Thank you for keeping the blogg since it gave me the background information for the reason of my autographs.

I do not have any memory from the game itself. What I recall is though that it was a big event for the small town of Leksand. I got the autographs during on of the breaks of the game while the player's were resting in the locker room.

I went to the game together with my father Nils Hakansson who was very interested in ice hockey. I was also a great fan. My father was a doctor and if anyone got injured at the game he was probably the one that attended to it.

About the attached pictures:
001: contains a picture of myself (june 1951) and two photos by professional photografer Olle Sellner. I must have bougth those pictures after the game. It shows the poster for the games (besides Leksand on Feb 27th at 8 pm, a second game must have been played in nearby city of Mora Feb 25th at 5 pm.). The tickets was on sale from Monday Feb. 19th. On the poster it also says that your opponent was Dalarna. It is the name of the county where Leksand is situated. There is also a picture of the outdoor arena 'Siljanvallen' in Leksand.

On picture 002 there is a nice dedication to myself from your captain Stan Obodiac.
On picture 005 there is a signature by your teams swedish guide Ebbe Sandberg.
A link to the history of Leksands IF

The team of Leksand in 1951:

Best regards
Ylva Lindstrom (maiden name Hakansson)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mr. Andrew "Nap" Milroy 1923 - 2012: Our Sincere Condolences to the Milroy Family

Mr. Andrew "Nap" Milroy, 1923 - 2012
Photo courtesy James Sinclair Collection
On behalf of and Just Group we would like  to express our sincere condolences to the Milroy family. Mr. Andrew “Nap” Milroy passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2012.  

It was our honour to meet and interview Mr. Milroy as part of our research into the journey of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs to the World Championships in 1951.  We were privileged to feature Mr. Milroy in several posts, below. The international hockey community has lost a true champion.


Trevor Esau
Darcen Esau

World Champion "Nap" Milroy Inspects Hurricanes 1951 Lethbridge Maple Leaf Replica Jerseys

 "The Handshake" A Great Hockey Moment Across the Generations: Mitch Maxwell and Nap Milroy

More Photos of Lethbridge Maple Leaf Replica Jersey Night and Tom Wood and Nap Milroy Puck Drop

Video of the Lethbridge Hurricane Ceremonial Puck Drop Honouring 1951 Lethbridge Maple Leafs: Nap Milroy and Tom Woods Drop Puck

 Lethbridge Maple Leaf Team and Families Honoured By Lethbridge Hurricanes At Home Game

Trevor and Mr. Milroy inspecting the Lethbridge
Maple Leaf collection at the Galt Museum.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

IIHF U20 World Hockey Championship 2012- Lethbridge Maple Leaf Display: Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Canada put on an excellent show at the 2012 IIHF U20 World Hockey Championship 2012 in Calgary!

One excellent part was the Hockey Hall of Fame display! HHO and Hockey Canada brought in the Lethbridge Maple Leaf and Edmonton Mercury dispaly!'s Trevor
Esau at the Display

They did us proud!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

60th Anniversary Today-March 17: Congratultions to the Lethbridge Maple Leafs on the 60th Anniversary of your World Championship Victory! The Story in Pictures!

Today is the 60th Anniversary of  the Lethbridge Maple Leaf World Championship Victory, March 17, 1951 in Paris, France.

The Lethbridge  Maple Leafs began the journey in early December 1950 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Including games in Canada they played 62 games. They won 51, lost 7 and tied 4.  This included an amazing 44 game unbeaten string in Europe. By the time they were getting ready for home they had traveled close to 30,000 miles by bus, train, ship, airplane and car and played before about 400,000 people in 14 countries.
In the 6 World Championship games, the Leafs scored 62 goals and only allowed 6 goals against them.  A truly dominating performance!

To celebrate the Anniversary day, has picked our favourite photos from the blog  to tell the story ( Please scroll down through the blog to see the entries that accompany the photos and credits for the photos):

Photo Courtesy of the Galt Museum and Archives

Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

From Sat Obodiac's book, No Substitute For Victory
Courtesy Obadiac Family

Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

Courtesy James Sinclair Collection
Courtesy James Sinclair Collection
Courtesy James Sinclair Collection

Courtesy City of Lethbridge Enmax Collection
Donor: Dick Gray
Courtesy of the Galt Museum and Archives

Add caption

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lethbridge Maple Leafs CTV News Story: Leaf Don McLean Discusses Receiving Championship Rings on the 50th Anniversary

Lethbridge Maple Leafs Championship Rings:  A Symbol of Lifelong Friendship.   Lethbridge Maple Leaf Don McLean discusses how the Leafs  finally received championship rings in 2001,  50  years after their world championship win.  This "Ring Story" was featured on Lethbridge CTV News with Terry Vogt reporting in 2001.  The drive to have the players receive the rings was spearheaded by long time Leaf fan James Sinclair. James was a key organizer of the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2001.  In appreciation for his work the Lethbridge Maple Leaf team members made James an honourary Leaf team member and he also received his own Leaf  ring. 

Video Posted with Permission:  Courtesy CTV News Lethbridge
News Director Terry Vogt

Friday, March 4, 2011

CTV News Lethbridge Maple Leaf 60th Anniversary Story Featuring Player Nap Milroy

CTV News Lethbridge ran this story featuring Leaf Nap Milroy to highlight the Lethbridge Maple Leafs 60th Anniversary and the replica jerseys the Lethbridge Hurricanes wore in WHL league play. Heath Brown and Terry Vogt of CTV news with the story.

Video Posted With Permission- Courtesy CTV News Lethbridge
News Director- Terry Vogt

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hockey Hall of Fame Invites Donations to Their Lethbridge Maple Leaf Collection and Exhibit! VP and Curator Phillip Pritchard Extends Invitation!

If you are a 1951 Leaf player or you are a family member or friend of a 1951 Lethbridge Maple Leaf player and have documents, pictures, diaries, jerseys, rings, trophies, medals and other hockey equipment of the 1950/51 season, the Hockey Hall of Fame would be very interested in preserving the artifacts in their collection as a way of celebrating the 60th Anniversary!

HHOF Vice President and Curator, Phillip Pritchard wrote to us saying: 
 The Hockey Hall of Fame prides itself on having the premier hockey collection in the world and none of this can be done without the assistance of people like yourself and the people of Lethbridge.
I wonder if any of the family members have jerseys from the teams the played in Europe (as a lot of teams traded jerseys then) or jerseys from other teams that might have played for prior to or after the Maple Leafs.
As you can appreciate the Hockey Hall of Fame tells the whole story of hockey, not just the NHL, World Championships would be great to add to the story by talking about players that played for the Maple Leafs and where they played prior to the World Champions and then afterwards.

If you have a donation would be happy to coordinate the gathering and delivery.
Send us an e-mail at:  Thanks -Click on the poster below twice to enlarge.

Prepared by the HHOF

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Hockey Hall of Fame Joins Us in Honouring the Lethbridge Maple Leafs: Photo of the HHOF Display

Hockey Hall of Fame's Craig Campbell left and
Phillip Pritchard right.
Photo Source:  Hockey Hall of Fame
 We are excited to be working with the Hockey Hall of Fame!  It was great to hear from Phillip Pritchard, Vice President and Curator and Craig Campbell, Manager, Resource Centre and Archives of the Hockey Hall of Fame.  

Mr. Pritchard e-mailed today saying, “Once again congratulations on the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Lethbridge Maple Leafs.” We had quoted from a letter from Mr. Pritchard in an earlier post where he congratulated the Leafs on their 50th anniversary in 2001.  We had requested a picture of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s display that features Stan Obodiac’s jersey which he also sent (see photo below).

The Hockey Hall of Fame would like to build up its collection of the Lethbridge Maple Leaf Championship team and players. Both of them gave us examples of what they are looking for in the collection. will support  this and post  more about it soon! Stay tuned!

Hockey Hall of Fame Display  with Stan Obodiac's Jersey
Photo Courtesy Hockey Hall of Fame:
D.K. (Doc) Seaman Hockey Resource Centre

Finally, Mr. Pritchard  also commented on our site, “By the way, the site looks great...great photos!  Great job again, looking forward to working with you on this”.