Gregory was promoted to basic supervisor of the Maple Leafs at age 33 in 1969."Jim was the general manager back in 1970 back when I was drafted by the Leafs," Sittler said Wednesday. He was a good friend to so many within the game-- the Leafs, the league, the Hall of Fame and beyond," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a declaration. The NHL worked with Gregory as its director of Central Scouting quickly after his termination from the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs hired Gregory to coach their minor league affiliate in Vancouver for the 1967-68 season.

Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Gregory, who served 10 years as basic manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to investing decades as an NHL executive, has passed away. He was 83.

The NHL validated Gregory's death in a press release Wednesday.

Gregory was promoted to general manager of the Maple Leafs at age 33 in 1969. He was amongst the first general supervisors in the NHL to sign and import players from Europe, including Hall of Fame defenceman Borje Salming.

He was also crucial in obtaining future Hall of Famers Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald.

"Jim was the general manager back in 1970 back when I was prepared by the Leafs," Sittler said Wednesday. "He was really important in putting an actually excellent team together of good players like Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams, Borje Salming, Mike Palmateer and Errol Thompson. We were all young men that grew under his assistance. He was just a terrific male."

Fired by Leafs in 1979

The Maple Leafs certified for the Stanley Cup playoffs eight times during Gregory's tenure, however he was fired after Toronto was swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the quarter-finals of the 1979 playoffs.

"Jim was among the fantastic gentlemen of hockey. He was a good friend to so numerous within the video game-- the Leafs, the league, the Hall of Fame and beyond," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan stated in a declaration. "His relationships and contributions to hockey were so deeply rooted. He was a living, breathing piece of hockey history. He will be significantly missed."

The NHL employed Gregory as its director of Central Scouting quickly after his termination from the Maple Leafs. He was named executive director of hockey operations in 1986 and later on ended up being senior vice president, hockey operations and supervision.

Gregory and Brett Hull share a make fun of Hull's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

"It is impossible to reveal the level to which the National Hockey League household adored Jim Gregory and the loss we feel as a result of his passing," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a declaration. "Jim was among the first to welcome me to the NHL practically 27 years ago and I have valued his relationship and trust his wisdom every day considering that. Nobody loved the video game more. No one ever served it much better. We will miss him extremely."

Born in Port Colborne, Ont., on Nov. 4, 1935, Gregory matured in nearby Dunnville and relocated to Toronto to participate in St. Michael's College School in 1953.

He won the Memorial Cup as general supervisor of St. Michael's Majors in 1961 and as coach of the Toronto Marlboros in 1964, then presumed a supervisory role with the Marlboros and guided them to the Memorial Cup again in 1967.

The Maple Leafs hired Gregory to coach their minor league affiliate in Vancouver for the 1967-68 season. He signed up with the Leafs as a scout in 1968 and was promoted to general manager a year later on.

Gregory also worked as chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee from 1998-2014, with the exception of a health-related lack in 2007, when the remaining members of the selection committee voted him into the Hall as a builder.


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