- The Beginning: Iafrate was drafted fourth overall by the Leafs in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, behind Mario Lemieux, Kirk Muller, and Ed Olczyk. He would step into the NHL immediately as an 18 year old with the Leafs, appearing in 68 games during the 1984/85 season. By his fourth season (87/88) he would find his game, scoring 22 goals and adding 30 assists. During the 1989/90 season Iafrate would again pass the 20 goal plateau, but on March 24, 1990 he suffered a devastating knee injury which would derail not only his season, but the Leafs' season as well (the Leafs would go 2-7 the rest of the way, including being eliminated in 5 games in the first round of the playoffs).
- The End: Iafrate's injured knee would not allow him to start the 1990/91 season on time, and when he was able to re-join the Leafs by the fourth game, it was clear he was not ready. Once a puck rushing defenseman who was not afraid to join or lead the offensive rush, Iafrate rarely carried the puck past center ice. As a result, his offensive numbers suffered a dramatic decline and Iafrate's injury, as well as injuries to other regulars, caused the Leafs to start the 1990/91 season with a 4-21-1 record. This put the team in danger of coming in last overall, which would have been extra painful as the Leafs had traded away their first round pick in the 1991 draft the season before (for Tom Kurvers). A last place overall finish would mean that New Jersey would have the first overall pick in the 1991 draft - otherwise known as the Eric Lindros draft. In an effort to avoid this fate, Floyd Smith began a series of trades including trading Iafrate to Washington for Peter Zezel and Bob Rouse, on January 16, 1991. The Leafs would ultimately finish in 19th overall and the Devils would draft Scott Niedermayer. For a fantastic summary of all that went wrong for the Leafs during the 1990/91 season, I recommend this recap. Iafrate's injured knee would plague him for the rest of his career, though from 1991 to 1994 he would clear 50 points all three seasons. He would miss the entire 94/95 and 95/96 seasons, then he would finish out his career with 59 games with San Jose across two seasons (96/97 and 97/98).
- The Jersey: Home style of jersey worn by the Leafs from 1970 until 1992, though changes along the way include switching from a tie-down neck style to the V-neck style for the 1972/73 season and then for good in 1975, and then adding names to the backs of the jerseys in the 1977/78 season.
- The Wear: Size tag is missing but laundry tag remains. Small unrepaired hole to top left of Leaf crest. Washed out stick and slash marks across front and both sleeves. Visible stick/ slash marks on both sleeves. Significant board burn and two smaller board burns on lower half of the blue part of the left sleeve. Sweat stains around collar, shoulders, and cuffs. Washed out blood stains to the left of, and below, the Leaf crest, and in jersey hem. Significant interior pilling in the elbows. Rust and salt deposits show in the fight strap.
- The Season: Iafrate would appear in 65 games during the 88/89 season with the Leafs, scoring 13 goals and adding 20 assists, which led all Leaf defensemen. The Leafs would finish last in the Norris Division with a 28-46-6 record. Only the Nordiques and Islanders had fewer points. During the summer the Leafs would fire Floyd Smith and hire Cliff Fletcher.
- Acquired: July 15th, 2017.
- Source: Collector.
- LOA: None.
- Photomatch: This jersey has been acknowledged as "late 80's", however a review of images provided by Graig Abel suggests it is specifically from the 1988/89 season based on the pattern of the CCM block lettering on the rear hem. For example, the top left photo is from a game on December 19, 1988 - a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. In that photo, as with this jersey, the CCM letters are blue. The top right photo - with the same CCM pattern - is from a game against Boston on November 2, 1988. Other photos provided showing a CCM block logo with a reverse colour pattern (i.e. the white space within the blocks is filled in with blue and the letters are white) are from games during the 1989/90 season. A potential photomatch is found with the image below left - the marks on the left sleeve are in a similar position to marks found on the jersey, though I would not categorize the match as definitive.
November 2, 1988
December 19, 1988
February 18, 1989