Apps, Charles Joseph Sylvanus

Charles Joseph Sylvanus Apps, Syl, hockey player (b at Paris, Ont 18 Jan 1915; d at Kingston, Ont 24 Dec 1998). Syl Apps is regarded as one of the greatest-ever TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS captains. He initially excelled at football and represented Canada in pole vaulting in the 1934 British Empire Games (gold medal) and at the 1936 Berlin OLYMPIC GAMES. Conn SMYTHE, noticing his all-round athlete ability but knowing nothing of his skating skills, signed him to the Leafs after watching him play football at MCMASTER UNIVERSITY. He played centre for the Leafs (1936-43 and 1945-48), winning the CALDER TROPHY (1937) and scoring 201 goals and 231 assists in 423 games and a further 25 goals and 28 assists in 69 playoff games. In 1940 the team named Apps as their captain, and in 1942 Apps led the Leafs to a STANLEY CUP victory over Detroit. In 1943 he joined many of his teammates in serving in WWII. When the war ended in 1945 he returned to the Leafs, helping them to 2 additional Stanley Cup victories in 1946-47 and 1947-48.

Apps entered politics in 1940, pursuing it with the same skill and determination that he brought to hockey. He ran as a federal CONSERVATIVE PARTY candidate in the 1940 election but lost to the Liberal incumbent. Apps made his retirement official in the summer of 1948, after which he entered politics full time. He was later elected Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston in 1963 and was in the Cabinet in the Ontario legislature, serving as Minister of Correctional Services from 1971 to 1974.

Apps retired from politics in 1974 and was named to the ORDER OF CANADA in 1977. He was later elected to the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME in 1961. He also raised an athletic family; his son, Syl Jr, played 10 seasons in the NHL in the 1970s; his grandson, Syl III, played college hockey for Princeton University in the US; and his granddaughter, Gillian Apps, played on the gold medal-winning women's hockey team at the 2006 Olympic Games.