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Ace Bailey
Ace Bailey (left) shakes the hand of Eddie Shore at a game at Boston Garden on March 6, 1934
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
160 lb (73 kg)
Teams Toronto Maple Leafs
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born July 3, 1903,
Bracebridge, ON, CAN
Died April 7, 1992 (age 88),
Pro Career 1926 – 1933
Hall of Fame, 1975

Irvine Wallace "Ace" Bailey (July 3, 1903 – April 7, 1992) was a player who competed for the Toronto Maple Leafs during eight seasons, from 1926–1933.

Playing Career

Born in Bracebridge, Ontario, Bailey grew up in Toronto and played junior hockey for Toronto St Marys in the Ontario Hockey Association. He played senior hockey in Peterborough for two seasons from 1924–1926 and in November 1926 was signed by the Toronto St. Patricks of the National Hockey League, renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs in his first season with the team. He was the leading scorer and goal scorer in the NHL in the 1928–29 season, with 22 goals and 32 points in 44 games. He was again the Leafs leading scorer in 1929–30 and was just one point short of repeating in 1930–31. After three consecutive 20-goal seasons, his offensive production cooled off notably with the 1931–32 season. However, Bailey still helped Toronto win the Stanley Cup in 1932.

Bailey's career came to an abrupt end on December 12, 1933, when he was hit from behind by Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins, apparently in retaliation for a hit Shore had received from King Clancy moments earlier, and hit his head on the ice, fracturing his skull. It was feared that Bailey would not survive after severely injuring his head. Following the incident, Shore was suspended for 16 games by the league, and was tried for attempted murder. Bailey did recover, but never played hockey again. An all-star benefit game was held at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 14, 1934, which raised $20,909.40 for Bailey and his family. Bailey and Shore shook hands and embraced at centre ice before the game began. Thirteen years later, the NHL introduced an annual all-star game.

Bailey's #6 jersey was the first ever to be retired by an NHL team, and is one of only two to have been permanently retired by the Maple Leafs. (The other being Bill Barilko.) Bailey, however, would later ask Ron Ellis to wear the number. Over his career, Bailey totaled 111 goals and 82 assists in 313 games.

Post-playing Career

Following his career-ending injury, Bailey asked the NHL if he could work as a linesman, but he was turned down. He coached the University of Toronto from 1935 to 1940 and again after World War II from 1945 to 1949, winning three Ontario University Athletics championships. He also worked as a timekeeper at Maple Leaf Gardens from 1938 to 1984, when the 81-year-old Bailey was told by Gardens owner Harold Ballard that his services were no longer needed. Bailey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975. He died in 1992 at the age of 88. From being near-death at the age of 30, Bailey was thought to be the oldest living Leaf in the year before his death.


External Links

Preceded by
Howie Morenz
NHL Scoring Champion
Succeeded by
Cooney Weiland