vic braknis obituary

Toronto man who was a fixture at Maple Leafs games for 29 years has died

If you've gone to see a Toronto Maple Leafs game at Scotiabank Arena sometime over the past three decades, then chances are you remember the warm and welcoming presence of long-time usher Vic Braknis. 

Braknis has been a fixture at Maple Leaf games in Toronto for many years, and the city's hockey community is in mourning after the sad news of his passing at age 81 this week. 

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Vic Braknis, who ushered the Leafs onto the ice before every period," wrote the Toronto Maple Leafs on Twitter Thursday.

"An usher at MLSE for 29 years, Vic's smile and positive attitude will be remembered by all the fans and players who had the pleasure to meet him. He will be missed."

In his nearly 30 years as an MLSE usher, Brankis was known for guarding the Maple Leafs' dressing room and their east end rink gate at nearly every game, and he was often there to maintain a sense of calm during stressful situations involving heated players or members of the media. 

But beyond his impact on the players themselves, Braknis was also beloved for his willingness to chat with nearly every fan he encountered during games, especially children. 

Following the news of his death, social media users have been taking the opportunity to recount their many fond memories of the adored usher, including the time Junior Team Canada staff brought him out onto the ice for a photo with the players on Christmas Day. 

Others are meanwhile remembering his "kind words and hearty laugh," as well as the fact that he was someone who truly loved what he did. 

And some hockey fans are simply sharing memories of their short yet sweet encounters with Brankis over the years. 

"Such sad news. Vic was a constant presence at Leafs games," wrote Sportsnet reporter Christine Simpson of his death on Twitter. "Will miss his smile whenever we're back in the building."

Lead photo by

Toronto Maple Leafs


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports & Play

This is what ski hills in Ontario were like the first week of reopening

Toronto is getting a massive wellness club with an ice room and Himalayan salt lounge

Toronto musician goes viral on TikTok for lake surfing in freezing weather

Someone in Toronto just did a bike tour of all the Tout Est Possible graffiti around the city

All National Sports stores in Canada are closing down for good

Proposal to transform Toronto's public golf courses includes new parks and mini-putt

This Ontario soccer fan traded maple syrup for 113 team scarves from all over the world

This Toronto beach has transformed into a massive skating rink