Taking training camp on the road is a great tradition for hockey teams. Taking it somewhere that doesn't get live NHL hockey much is an even bigger treat. This weekend, from September 18-20, the Toronto Maple Leafs headed east and began training camp in Bedford, Nova Scotia, to the delight of many locals.
You couldn't get tickets in advance so fans were lining up hours before the first day of scrimmage and practice. James Mirtle reported that some fans were skipping school and sleeping in cars. At 6:00 am when head coach Mike Babcock arrived he couldn't believe the sight. After screaming in delight for the scrimmages, and getting some autographs, the fans were told to "meet him "in the sunshine" to keep signing jerseys and T-shirts in front of the building."
If you weren't on the ice as a player, you were out in the parking lot as am ambassador.
Players would spend time after getting off the ice to sign for the fans.
Babcock would hold media sessions at the end of each day and after that...
Michael Grabner was popular on the first day of camp. The day summed up in his own words:
Mitch Marner, Stuart Percy, and Lupul also had some press time.
On day two of camp some Maple Leafs alumni arrived to keep those fans in line happy.
Everyone wanted to know the details of camp, and how they kept in shape all summer. No one was safe.
It wasn't all work and no play, throughout the trip inactive players toured around their host city by hitting up tourist spots (in style!) and the HMCS Fredericton.
After day two of camp Bozak, Robidas, Kadri, and Matthias all chatted with the media.
On Sunday, they only had a half day on ice, and the Maple Leafs hosted a community BBQ to help raise money for KidsSport Nova Scotia (All admission fees to camp also went to them). The weekend would raise $13,803 for the charity.
Players were also back out there with the fans, having lunch and signing autographs.
After camp, 16 players were cut:
|Stephen Desrocher||Oshawa (OHL)|
|Cody Donaghey||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|Martins Dzierkals||Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)|
|Eric Faille||Toronto (AHL)|
|T.J. Foster||Toronto (AHL)|
|Justin Holl||Toronto (AHL)|
|Aiden Jamieson||London (OHL)|
|Justin Johnson||Toronto (AHL)|
|Michael Joly||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|Max Nicastro||Toronto (AHL)|
|Lucas Peressini||Kingston (OHL)|
|Jack Rodewald||Toronto (AHL)|
|Matt Rupert||Toronto (AHL)|
|Ryan Rupert||Toronto (AHL)|
|Nikolai Skladnichenko||Toronto (AHL)|
|Brady Vail||Toronto (AHL)|
Marlies camp is set to open next weekend.
The Leafs are back in action tonight, playing two games versus Ottawa (split squad).
And if you haven't entered yet...