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.

Friday, November 26, 2010

CHAMPIONS: Canada Against Sweden, Final Game of the 1951 World Amateur Hockey Championship, Part 28

Lethbridge Maple Leafs vs Sweden

The day finally arrived.  In the Maple Leafs final game of the tournament, a win against Sweden and they would be world champions.  It had been a long journey. They were tense the entire day. Obodiac wrote, "We were almost afraid to go to the rink."p. 127
However, they were very determined.  A full house of  17,000 packed into the Palais Des Sport in Paris.  The Swedish team decided to play a very defensive strategy.  They hung back in their own zone all evening. If they limited the number of goals Canada scored they would get the European Championship title on goal against average from the Swiss. They were determined not to let Canada score many goals against them.

McLean soon scored the first goal from a Gibson pass.  Then Gibson set up Captain Negrello for another goal.  The Leafs were up 2 -0.  The next goal was Roth's from a Flick set-up. The Leafs  were up 3 -0 when Sweden got on the score sheet with their first goal. The crowd had started off favouring the Swedish team as underdogs.  However after  McLean scored his second goal to go up 4 -1,  the crowd started to admire the Canadian team. Roth finished off a play from Flanagan and Flick to end the scoring.  The Lethbridge Maple Leafs from Canada emerged with a 5 -1 win and the World Championship! 

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 said there was a tear in his eye.  Tommy Wood said it was the happiest day of his life" P. 128

The world championship trophy was presented to Captain Hec Negrello on a pedestal at centre ice.  The Leafs then carried the trophy on a victory lap around the rink to the applause of the large crowd.
The victory was the Maple leafs 40 straight game without a defeat.  They were being called the greatest team ever to show in Europe! 

"So ended the greatest days of our life!" 

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