Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) announced that Toronto Maple Leaf legend Ted Kennedy will be among the first players to be honoured with bronze statues as part of “Legends Row” outside Air Canada Centre (ACC).

The two other honourees will be announced during the team’s Fan Fest from Sept. 5-7.

The monument in Maple Leaf Square outside the ACC will take the form of a 30-foot granite bench on which additional statues will be added leading up to the franchise’s 100th anniversary. It will be unveiled on Sept. 6.

The players were chosen by the the Toronto Maple Leafs historical committee, comprised of local industry and hockey experts. The criteria included leadership, on-ice performance and contributions to the community.

“Legends Row will be a fitting tribute that honours many of the greatest players to ever wear the Maple Leaf while giving our fans the chance to feel a part of that history,” said Brendan Shanahan, president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“We are thrilled to include Ted Kennedy, a player who always gave everything he had to his team, and two other Leaf greats, as the first three players to be recognized.”

 

Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, who has been viewed as one of the great captains in the team’s history, played for the Leafs from 1942 to 1957. He won five Stanley Cups and was a five-time All-Star, including winning the Hart Trophy in 1955. Kennedy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

The statues for players on Legends Row will be created by sculptor and artist Erik Blome, who also created the statue of Wayne Gretzky at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“We were thrilled when informed of the idea of Legends Row and even more honoured when they said that Dad would be among the first players to be included,” said Kennedy’s son, Mark Kennedy.

“I know that the idea of being immortalized in his number 9 Maple Leafs sweater, alongside some of the best players to ever play for this great franchise, would bring a tear to his eye.”

 

The Toronto Sun reports at least three Leaf greats will be added every year leading up to the centennial in 2017-18.

There has been talk of building such a monument since the ACC opened in 1999, but the idea was pushed to the forefront by MLSE boss Tim Leiweke, who is planning on turning the Leafs’ centennial into a massive celebration.

Who else should be inducted? Tell us in the comments.