George “Punch” Imlach

Plot 15, Section 6, Lot 47
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

George “Punch” Imlach was born in Toronto in 1918 and received his unusual nickname when, while playing for the Toronto Goodyear Seniors hockey team, he ran into an elbow and was knocked out. When Imlach came to, he began punching his own trainer who had come onto the ice to help him. As a young man Imlach worked as a bank clerk and his ambition was to be an accountant. During the Second World War, Imlach spent much of his time coaching army hockey teams. After the war he coached Quebec amateur teams before moving into professional hockey as manager-coach of the Boston Bruins’ American League affiliate, the Springfield Indians. In 1958 he was hired away from the Boston organisation as the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team’s assistant manager becoming manager in October of that year. He fired coach Billy Reay later in the year and assumed that position as well. Under his tutelage the team began winning, and in 1963 ended the season in first place over the other five teams. Imlach took the Leafs to the top and the team won the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964, and again in 1967. When the National Hockey League expanded following the 1966-67 season the Leaf team began to slip, and on April 6, 1969 the Leaf coach was fired. Hired by the new Buffalo Sabres organisation, Imlach stayed with that team until 1978. The following year Imlach returned to Toronto and was team manager for two years until replaced by Gerry McNamara. In his later life, Imlach suffered serious heart problems. He died of a heart attack on December 1, 1987.

Mike Filey
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded

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