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19 Mar 2017

It’s the “Puck of the Irish” as the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate their Irish heritage on St Patrick’s weekend

The Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team has been celebrating its Irish heritage – specially for the weekend that was in it!

Prior to being called the Maple Leafs, the top professional hockey team in Toronto was known as the St Pat’s – named after the Toronto St Patrick’s Ontario Hockey Association team – from 1919 until 1927, with strong Irish connections. So, following the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Toronto on Friday, the Maple Leafs kept the festive spirit going for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (18 March) – by sporting their retro green-and-white St Pat’s jersey from the 1920s, honouring that St Pat’s era and their Irish heritage. 

Minister of State for Financial Services, eGov and Public Procurement, Eoghan Murphy TD, who was in Canada as part of the ‘Promote Ireland’ programme around St Patrick’s Day, attended the hockey game with Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, and Dana Welch from Tourism Ireland, where they met with the president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan – of Irish heritage himself. Minister Murphy also attended the ‘greening’ of several sites around Toronto which were part of Tourism Ireland's 2017 Global Greening initiative – including the Futalognkosaurus (dinosaur) in the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto sign and Casa Loma (museum). 
  Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland; Brendan Shanahan, president of the Toronto Maples Leafs; Minister Eoghan Murphy; and Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, before the weekend ice hockey game in Toronto between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks – when the Leafs celebrated their Irish heritage, by sporting their retro green-and-white St Pat’s jerseys.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 220,000 people.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 19.37 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 18 million visitors in 2016.

Previous Press Release

18 Mar 2017

OX Belfast goes to London!