The deadline to write a fan post about this ended on Tuesday, but I thought you all might still like to read my 5 reasons. I think #5 is unique to me! If you don't really care about this, just scroll down and click the jump to read today's links.
5. Hot, Sweaty, Sexy men: This one ranks lowest to me because, well, I'm a bit ashamed of it. But it's still there - I find men in hockey gear to be extremely sexy. When I first started dating my now-husband, I went to see him play a game and he was decked out in full Washington Capitals gear (the old style eagle jersey) and pleasantly reminded me of a young Pronger, and I was hooked. Things like the cover of Men's Fitness featuring Mike Modano , Markus Naslund in an ad for Harry Rosen and well, pretty much any picture of Vincent Lecavalier get me excited. Especially so when they can go out on the ice and look just as sexy scoring a goal.
4. Athleticism and Speed: When I was much younger, I was a baseball fan. My brother played baseball, my dad coached baseball, and by the time I was 6 I could list off stats and knew every single phrase involved in baseball. I lived and died by the Jays. And then they had a lockout, which gave me time away from baseball to find other sports. And I never went back once I found hockey. When the NHL had their lockout, I found other sports too - but it wasn't the same. The athleticism and speed in hockey far surpass any other sport and a year without it was hard. Once it came back, I embraced it like never before.
3. Sibling Bond: My love of baseball was really rooted in it being my brother's primary sport, but I was very lucky that he was also a Leafs fan. At first, I would watch Leaf games with him just to be with him - I didn't really know what was going on, nor did I care. But that time with him was great - neither my dad nor my other brother really cared that much, and my mom certainly didn't - so Leafs games were time that my favourite brother and I spent together. This effect slowly made the Leafs more and more important to me, leading to me loving hockey in general. As an interesting aside, my neice loves watching hockey with me for the sole reason that it is with me, so I am confident that I can translate a love of hockey to her, as well.
2. Regional Pride: As I mentioned above, I really embraced hockey post-lockout. Prior to that, I had mostly been a fringe fan, paying some attention during the regular season, and full on bandwagoning during the playoffs. In university, I started to get more into it, but my 4th year was the lockout year when I realized I really missed hockey and that I wanted to know more, everything I could, about it. It became a running joke among my friends after graduation that my secondary career would be a sportscaster, because I suddenly knew more about hockey than everyone else. Then, I moved out to Vancouver and began to embrace the Leafs as a piece of my identity, and to do that I needed to learn still more about hockey. Facing fans of the Vancouver Canucks on a daily basis, who had all inexplicably grown up hating the Leafs, they demanded that I defended my fandom at every turn. When I think back on it now, I wonder why, because now that I know the history of the Canucks franchise, I really should have been demanding they defend their fanhood, but despite that, me being proud of being from Ontario, and the GTA in particular, is one reason I really grew to love hockey.
1. Mats Sundin: There's not much to say about this one. I love Mats Sundin. Mats Sundin is really what made me fall in love with hockey. His power, dominance, how he could take over a game on what seemed like a whim. Seeing him out there, in the Leafs uniform, behind the net... it was magical. The calls to trade him made me sad, even though I saw the logic of the situation. Gillis' obscene offer of $10 million dollars a year for two years to play for the Canucks made me rage in a way I have rarely ever done. Seeing him put on a Canucks uniform broke my heart. The only benefit to that was that it finally gave me the opportunity to see him play in real life. I was at one of his first games as a Canuck, against the Phoenix Coyotes. If I remember right, the Canucks lost, and Sundin looked old and slow out there. But it didn't matter, I finally saw my Mats play in person. I'll forever be indebted to him for showing me how beautiful hockey can be when played by the best.
Well now that I'm done with that, here are your links!
USA Hockey to honour Brendan Burke
USA Hockey has founded an internship in Brendan Burke's honour.
Maple Leaf media memories
Louis Cauz wrote in to Dave Shoalts to tell him what it was like to cover the Leafs back in 1967
Leafs now guaranteed to finish bottom three
Mirtle tells us something that I think we've all known for a while...
Top 10: Games lost to injury
The Hockey News looks at which teams were hurt the most by injuries this season whether injuries effected their ability to make the playoffs.
The NHL’s top defensive defencemen
Mirtle took a look at the best defensive defensemen in the NHL. Unsurprisingly, there's not a single Leaf defensemen anywhere near the top 30 - but I do think you'll be surprised at the age of the top two defensemen.
As he retires from NHL, why we appreciated Keith Tkachuk
Keith Tkachuk announced last night that this year is his final season in the NHL, so Puck Daddy took a look at what he appreciated about Tkachuk.
Unlikely Hero Christensen Carries Rangers to Win
NHL fanhouse takes a look at last night's game.
Howie Meeker would like to do your taxes
Vintage Leafs has some new photos, starting with this timely one of Howie Meeker.
The MSM Vs. Blogger Debate AGAIN
TSM has his take on Eric Smith's blog about MSM vs. Bloggers.
Ignore the Ranger loss: Would you rather be a Flames’ fan?
Vintage Leaf Fans muses on last night's loss and takes a look at what Flames fans have to look forward to.