Reading to your kids is a treat. You use that time to be with them, cuddle with them, and indoctrinate them all at the same time. Those few minutes before bedtime are crucial for developing a bond with them and instilling a love of reading from an early age.
One of my oldest son’s favourite books when he was two years old was a board book illustrating that immortal piece of Canadiana: The Hockey Song.
We read this story every night and after a month or so the kid had the song memorized, and he had absorbed the pictures so much that he believed the story to be true: The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup in 1993.
Stick with me, because I’m 67% sure that’s what the book is about.
We kick off our tale while being greeted by a TV announcer. He doesn’t resemble anyone I know, but he could be the US announcer. His Palm tree and sunshine tie makes me assume he is, and is using his clothing to subtly make us appreciate sunbelt hockey teams. At the time this is just the Tampa Bay Lightning, LA Kings and San Jose Sharks, but the next season, 93-94, we’d see the Dallas Stars and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim join the league. Some nice and subtle manipulation of our precious Canadian minds.
We see our first on ice action and it’s the evil Canadiens scoring first. What could be number 8 or 3 is scoring. There was no 8 or 3 on the Canadiens that season, but Denis Savard wore #18 and yes that fits my theory nicely. He didn’t score in the playoffs that year, but in a series versus the Maple Leafs he did.
The goalie being scored on is #1, and that year the Leafs acquired Darren Puppa from the Sabres and he wore #1. The question here is why isn’t Felix Potvin in net? He must have been injured earlier in the playoffs, not that I’m saying the Habs would run a goalie on purpose...
The defenseman who is looking worried is #8, Bob McGill, a waiver claim at the start of the season from Tampa. He would only play 18 games with the Leafs but somehow got himself into a Stanley Cup Final game.
A family is watching the game, and our Leafs fan is the youngest daughter, not impressed with the Leafs. The father is wearing a Habs cap, the mother is cheering the goal, and we have our source of conflict in the story. The baby is pulling the cats tail because babies are jerks.
The announcer is now in the crowd at the start of the second period, the crowd is mostly Leafs fans, and this would make sense since the uniform rules in 1993 had the home team wearing white, so this is taking place in Maple Leaf Gardens.
Oh, also the next page says the home team is trailing, and the Leafs are trailing the game...
The Leafs roar back to tie the game, and we see it is not Patrick Roy in net for the Canadiens. He must have also been injured, or he walked out on the team. You never know with that guy. In net for the Habs is #1, Frederic Chabot. He only played one game that season with the Habs, but after Roy walked out, regular back up Andre Racicot must have been taken to the hospital with a terrible sunburn on his neck from the goal light behind him, and Chabot was called up.
Our Leafs goal scorers got past Habs defender #5, Rob Ramage, and they are #2 Sylvain Lefebvre and #...6? There was no #6, but it could be #16 Nikolai Borschevsky, someone already known that year for his big playoff goals.
Back to our family, the cat is destroying the couch, the dog is eating the popcorn, the baby is racking up long distance fees, (because babies/pets are jerks), the Habs fan parents are nervous and our Leafs fan is enjoying the game. No Leafs fan! The playoffs are just pits of despair!
If this is indeed the last game of the playoffs, it’s game 6. The Habs would have home ice over the Leafs since they finished 7 points up in the standings.
Our Leafs fan is dreaming of the dream we all have, playing for the team and winning a cup. Though in my dreams it wasn’t Bill Berg, Bob McGill and Lefebvre I’d be celebrating with...
LEAFS WIN! LEAFS WIN! LEAFS WIN!
The Maple Leafs have defeated the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup!
We are treated to Bob McGill, who must have been the illustrators favourite Leaf, and a numberless mustachioed Leaf from 1993 celebrating the win.
Back at home the Leafs fan is celebrating the victory, the ending of a 26 year long cup drought, and the return to their rightful place on top of the NHL.
The dad is probably going to go to the garage, flip over her bike and set it on fire.
And that, is the story of how the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup in 1993.
For a more realistic look at the 1993 playoffs, you can pick up the book "Wendel and the Great One", if you’re unsure you can check out the review by Down Goes Brown.
No, it doesn’t centre around a high stick and non-call.
Thanks for reading and be sure to join me in my next book review, discussing the economic and social ramifications of allowing common street birds to hold the position of mass transit driver.