Consistent, durable and hardworking were the hallmark descriptions of a 21-year career for George Armstrong in the National Hockey League, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Armstrong joined the Blue and White full time in the 1952-53 season and captained Toronto to their four most recent Stanley Cup championships in the 1960s.
Armstrong played in 1,187 career games for the Maple Leafs, which is the most games played in franchise history while serving the longest tenure of any captain in team history from 1957 to 1969. His club record for seasons played with the Leafs, 21, was spread out over parts of four decades beginning in 1949. The right-winger is among the Maple Leafs all-time leaders in many statistical categories ranking sixth in goals (296-tie), sixth in assists (417), fifth in points (713), and 19th in penalty minutes (721). Over his long career, he collected 15-or-more goals in a season 11 times.
Armstrong played in a Maple Leaf team record 110 playoff games, during which time he accumulated 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists), including 22 points over six Stanley Cup Final appearances. The strong two-way performer was regarded as a player that would deliver in key games and many fans will fondly remember his empty-net goal that sealed the 1967 Stanley Cup victory over the Canadiens.
Armstrong played with the Toronto Marlies in the late 1940s and, later, after his playing career, he coached the team to Memorial Cup championships in 1973 and 1975 before accepting a scouting position with the Quebec Nordiques in 1978. "Chief" briefly coached the Maple Leafs (47 games in 1988-89) after joining the team's management and scouting department in 1988. Armstrong's dedication to the Maple Leafs can be measured by his 50-plus years of service with the hockey club as he continues to scout amateur players throughout Ontario for the Maple Leafs.
In the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Armstrong is among a select few gentlemen to be saluted with a banner to honour his sweater number and also a statue along Legends Row outside of Air Canada Centre.