Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cheering for Toronto Maple Leafs

With the Wilkie Outlaws of the Saskatchewan West Hockey League racking up a 17/1 season, Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League winning 52 of 72 league games and in Round 2 of the Playoffs, and the perennial losing Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League clinching a playoff spot, my hockey teams are doing pretty well.

Wilkie is my home town and if I lived there I would be an active supporter.  As it is, after 5 decades away, several of the family names on the team are still familiar.  Having spent most of my adult life in Regina, I was aware of the Regina Pats but never went to a game.  Now I have hockey fans as family and friends so I at least pay attention to the standings and quietly cheer them on.

Back in the 50's, Montreal Canadiens were a dynasty; Maurice Rocket Richard was in his prime, as were Bernie Boom-Boom Geffrion and Jean Beleveau. Jacques Plante was in the net.  The kids at school, especially the ones I did not like, cheered for Montreal.  So I became a Leafs fan. The Leafs were contenders in those days.  Johnny Bower was in the net, George Armstrong was Captain, Tim Horton and Al McNeil on defense and guys like Bert Olmstead and Frank Mahovolich on the wings. It was even before the days of Eddie Shack.

Rivalry was fierce between Montreal and Toronto.  1966-67 was the last year of the original 6.  Montreal and Toronto went 6 games in the Stanley Cup finals before Toronto beat Montreal 3-1 on home ice. That was 50 years ago.  As Pierre Berton called it "1967: the last good year".  Maybe the Leafs can do it again for Canada's 150th birthday.

Terry Sawchuck and Johnny Bower 1966



I have cheered for other teams once the Leafs are out of the running.  Montreal in the 70's, then Edmonton Oilers in the dynasty days of Gretzky, Messier, Coffee and Fuhr. Now, not so much.  I just secretly hope for the Leafs and endure nasty memes on Facebook

6 comments:

  1. I was a Habs fan in the 70s too when I was a teenager. I still have a soft spot for them and I adore their current super goalie, Carey Price. But Ken Dryden summed up the current Canadiens' situation best when he said that someone once said of him that "Ken Dryden was a good goalie on a great team. Carey Price is a great goalie on a good team." Yeah, I think that assessment is right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Montreal was a fantastic team back when Ken Dryden was in the net but I disagree about Dryden. He was a great goalie on a great team.

      Delete
  2. Hooray for the Leafs for getting into the playoffs. And the Raptors too, and they play in the same location so it's going to be a busy time around the Air Canada Centre. And the powers that be are planning to do some major road construction in that area too..... so I think the traffic might be a bit of a problem for hockey and basketball fans. And it's the MLB Blue Jays home opener at the Rogers Centre today.... Toronto, what a sports city right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now if the Argos could ever figure out how to play football, Toronto would be an all star city

      Delete
  3. Hooray for your teams! I enjoy watching sports, but with no spare time for TV I don't follow any teams regularly. Most of the players on the "big" teams aren't local boys anyway, so it must be much more fun to cheer on your local team!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mostly now I pay attention to playoffs only. You are so right, Local teams are much more fun to cheer for.

      Delete