Our Readers Share Their Tales

On Christmas Day, THW re-published a narrative I wrote about one in every of my favourite recollections with my father. He was a minor league hockey participant himself in St. Catherines when he was younger; and, once I was about 10 years previous, he took me to Toronto to see Maple Leafs’ Gardens. In his opinion, the Gardens was the middle of the hockey historical past, and he wished to point out it to me.

NHL recreation circa early Sixties. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Chicago Black Hawks, Maple Leaf Gardens. Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ron Murphy and Eric Nesterenko Chicago Black Hawks. (Alexandra Studios, CC BY 2.0 – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 – by way of Wikimedia Commons)

As I keep in mind now nearly 65 years later, the sector was locked. Nonetheless, he knocked on the door and a custodian allow us to in. When he instructed the custodian that he wished to point out Maple Leafs’ Gardens to his son, we have been allowed into the constructing and walked round a largely empty area the place so many legends have performed.

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Clearly, studying that story spurred the recollections of THW readers, who within the dialogue part of posts additionally shared their very own tales. 

I beloved these tales and requested The Hockey Writers’ Managing Editor if I would share a few them. He agreed, so I’m joyful to share the tales from two THW regulars. Right here they’re, with solely somewhat modifying – largely to assist them match the format for a publish.

Thanks upfront for sharing your tales.

Story One: “The Day I Met Tim Horton” (and Different Maple Leafs’ Greats)

Shared by gcogome 

Pay attention up my Leafdom brethren; when there is no such thing as a Leaf hockey we should regale ourselves with our greatest Leafs’ recollections….I’ll go first. My entry to this long-standing New Years’ Eve custom is entitled: “The day I Met Tim Horton.”

Defenseman Tim Horton
BOSTON – 1960’s: Defenseman Tim Horton of the Toronto Maple Leafs strikes in to test Hubert ‘Pit’ Martin of the Boston Bruins. (Picture by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Photographs)

He (Horton) autographed a hockey stick I used to be awarded for some made-up achievement in novice hockey. Not solely Horton but additionally Jim Pappin, the 1967 Stanley Cup-winning aim scorer. Mike Walton and Bob Pulford additionally autographed the stick. We met them shortly after the cup-winning recreation on the opening of Barry Cullen’s automotive dealership on #8 freeway between Grimsby and Winona. 

Collectibles weren’t a factor again then. Contemplating that each one 4 of them proceeded their autographs with the identical phrase, “Good luck together with your hockey profession,” I figured that they had signed my stick for good luck. 

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I took the stick out the following day and performed highway hockey with it. I broke it enjoying highway hockey 9 days later. It served as a bean-row stake in my mom’s backyard for a few years after that. 

Joyful New Yr, everyone.  

Story Two: Assembly Bobby Baun, Darryl Sittler & Eddie Shack

Shared by W J Bignell 

Within the late 1970’s, I labored for a monetary companies firm that did the financing for automotive dealerships. I needed to make a name to a Toronto dealership and instructed the receptionist I used to be there to see a Mr. Baun. 

Two minutes later, Bobby Baun got here out to greet me! 

I used to be astonished. As a child, I had watched this NHL hard-rock defenseman rating the game-winning aim in Recreation 6 of the Stanley Cup finals on a damaged ankle. Baun was downright diminutive!

He was an excellent good man and he carried on like we’d been associates for years. 

Toronto Maple Leafs Bobby Baun
Bobby Baun

A number of years later, I met a number of NHL gamers at a fundraiser organized by Daryl Sittler in his home-town St. Jacobs, Ontario. Sittler went to grade faculty with my spouse, so she launched us. Once more, Sittler was an excellent good man. 

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However what was so memorable was I had figured he and I have been about the identical measurement (round 6-foot and 200 kilos). I swear he couldn’t have had greater than a 30″ waist, and his shoulders have been twice the dimensions of mine. Once I shook his hand, it was like grabbing a facet of beef. (These gamers aren’t constructed like us mere mortals!)

Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs
Darryl Sittler, Toronto Maple Leafs, circa Nineteen Seventies (Picture by Bruce Bennett Studios by way of Getty Photographs Studios/Getty Photographs)

The fund-raiser I discussed (organized by Sittler) was the primary recreation by what grew to become the Molson Professional Stars, a staff of NHL gamers who took time throughout their summer time to play video games in opposition to native fastball groups as a technique to elevate funds for native charities. 

One other Leafs’ legend, Eddie Shack took half. Shack was a loopy prankster. In concerning the third inning he hit a single. He took an extended lead off however was checked a number of occasions. 

Being of fine measurement, and the first baseman being a tad small, Shack picked the man up and ran towards 2nd. The pitcher had thrown to 1st base and, in fact, there was nobody there to catch the ball. Shack was dominated protected at 2nd. 

Later within the recreation, Shack hit one other single. The native staff was on to his antics, so he ran throughout the infield on to third base (bypassing 2nd altogether). They dominated him protected at third. 

Eddie Shack Toronto Maple Leafs
Eddie Shack, Toronto Maple Leafs, September, 1974 (Picture by B Bennett/Getty Photographs)

Eddie was hilarious; an actual showman. (You possibly can’t make these items up!)

Thanks Readers for Sharing Your Tales

I’ve usually famous how a lot I respect THW readers and the way a lot I study from their feedback concerning the staff. So, I thank each gcogome and W J Bignell once more for permitting me to share their tales with different readers. 

Associated: Maple Leafs Trivia: How Properly Do You Know Staff Historical past?

When you’ve got related tales and wish to share them, simply add them to the dialogue part of this publish. And, if there are sufficient readers who do, I’ll be joyful to share them with the entire remainder of us who’re Maple Leafs’ followers.

As W J Bignell writes, “You possibly can’t make these items up!”