Daniel John “Johnny” McLellan

Section S, Lot 263C
Pine Hills Cemetery

Born in South Porcupine, Ontario (now part of Timmins) on August 6, 1928, Johnny McLellan was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs and brought to Toronto to play for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in 1945–46, and then the St. Michael’s Majors. He played on the team that won the Memorial Cup in 1947 (The Memorial Cup is a junior ice hockey club championship trophy awarded annually to the Canadian Hockey League champion.) As a senior, McLellan played three seasons with the Toronto Marlboros, winning the Allan Cup in 1950 (The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada.) Both of McLellan’s cup victories came under Coach Joe Primeau. McLellan turned professional in 1950, and played most of the next four seasons with the Pittsburgh Hornets, the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate. In 1950–51, he also played for the Tulsa Oilers of the United States Hockey League. McLellan was called up to the Maple Leafs for two games in 1951–52. They were his only games as a player in the NHL. McLellan was traded by the Leafs to the AHL Cleveland Barons in September 1954, and played there for four years. In May 1958, the Barons told him he could make his own deal to join another team. For the 1958–59 season, McLellan was reinstated as an amateur and played for the Belleville McFarlands. The team represented Canada at the 1959 Ice Hockey World Championships, winning gold. McLellan played in other minor professional leagues through the rest of his career before retiring as a player and becoming coach of the Nashville team. After two years coaching in Nashville—winning the league championship both seasons—McLellan rejoined the Maple Leafs organisation in 1967 as the head coach of their top minor league affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. He spent two years in Tulsa and was then brought back to the NHL in 1969 to succeed the fired Punch Imlach as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. McLellan was coach of the Leafs for four seasons—missing 15 games in 1971–72 due to a duodenal ulcer. He was voted NHL coach of the year in 1971. McLellan resigned as coach in 1973 to become the Leafs' assistant general manager. In 1977, Imlach offered him the head coaching job with the Buffalo Sabres, but McLellan declined. The two were briefly reunited in Toronto when Imlach rejoined the Maple Leafs in 1979. Just a few months later, on October 27, 1979, the 51-year-old Daniel John McLellan died from an apparent heart attack at his home in Agincourt, Toronto.

 Story Archives »