The Toronto Maple Leafs paid tribute to their 1967 Stanley Cup winning team on Saturday,marking the 40th anniversary of thelast time the club took home the trophy.
Several members of the team that won the 1967 Stanley Cup were honoured by the club in a special ceremony prior to the Leafs' home game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Among those in attendance were Dave Keon, Ron Ellis, Jim Pappin, Bob Baun, Red Kelly, Bob Pulford, Johnny Bower and Frank Mahovlich — all of them key members of the 1967 championship team.
"I was very appreciative of the people. They were always very good to me when I played here and tonight was no different," Keon told Hockey Night in Canada after the ceremony.
"It's nice that everybody got together. We're not getting any younger … it's been very special," added Keon.
After years of refusing to take part in any team-related activities, the 66-year-old Keon agreed to participate in the anniversary celebrations after being contacted by current Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr.
"John called and said they wanted to pay tribute to the '67 team and asked if I would take part," Keon recently told CBC Sports Online hockey columnist Scott Morrison.
"I said I would think about it and I did. It's a tribute to our team, it's for our team and I want to be a part of it."
One of the most popular Leafs of all time, Keon has not forgotten or forgiven past transgressions by the organization, dating back to his controversial departure in 1975 courtesy of late owner Harold Ballard, who questioned his leadership and refused to offer him a contract.
And he still does not agree with the club's policy of honouring, not retiring, numbers. But he felt Ferguson was trying to do something good by reuniting and recognizing the Leafs last Cup winner from four decades ago.
"I think they're doing it right," said Keon, who was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP in 1967.