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From the Branches: Happy Pride Parade day, Toronto!

What questions will the Maple Leafs inspire in us today?!

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The parade wraps up a month of Pride festivities in Toronto, which saw entertainment heavyweights like George Takei and Lindsay Lohan participate.

But the month has also been shadowed with grief. In early June, 49 people -- who were predominantly LGBTQ people of colour -- were killed in a mass-shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The month's celebrations were dedicated to the victims of the massacre, and there will be a moment of silence during today's parade to remember them.

The shooting also means security will be higher than normal at this year's parade. (Source)

How Pride Toronto members react to messages of hate — ‘it’s hard to hear’ | The Star
"Every day, Pride Toronto receives hate mail. Usually it’s from anonymous people who don’t believe in Pride’s mission. But when it’s read aloud, as this video attests, it reveals how hate can hurt."

Forget sneakers - these LGBT refugees are learning to rollerblade for Toronto Pride | CBC
The Bahamian man tentatively rolled along the pavement earlier this week, testing out the skates he'll use to propel himself along the parade route, something he said he considers a sort of coming out moment in the country he'll now call home. "It will be the proudest moment of my life."

Bike Share rolls out Pride themed bikes in Toronto | BlogTo
Now that the rain's cleared up, it's going to be a beautiful Pride weekend in Toronto. And what better way to get around than on a bicycle, especially a rainbow bicycle?

Toronto Pride parade kicks off | The Star
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make history as the first Canadian prime minister to march in a pride parade." The Toronto Pride parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, the final glorious, glittering march that caps off a month of celebrating the LGBT community in and around the city.

7 Pride events to check out this weekend | The Star
"Toronto will be awash in a rainbow of Pride events this weekend. Here’s a look at the sights (or the detours) you may want to be aware of."

Conservative leadership contenders to join Toronto Pride parade | CBC
"Kellie Leitch, Michael Chong and Maxime Bernier to march on Sunday in support of gay rights."


On this fine Sunday, let us pause and read the words of Lou Lamoriello, as spoken to Maple Leafs Hot Stove.

"As we said all along, we are extremely happy with where we are and the direction we’re going. We’re not going to change unless we could add something that would help that process; help support that. That’s what we were able to do today." -- Lou

Maple Leafs welcome back Roman Polak via free agency | The Star
Toronto signs veteran defenceman and says goodbye to P.A. Parenteau, who signed with the Isles.

Will Maple Leafs make splash in free-agent pool? | Toronto Sun
"On July 1 a year ago, the wrecking ball swung hard into the walls of the Maple Leafs dressing room and hockey department."

Justin Holl signs one-year NHL entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs | Hot Stove
"This is a move that should secure some much-needed help for a currently-thin Toronto Marlies blue line."

Tickle Me Okposo to wear ‘21’ for the Sabres | DBDB
He's seriously the cutest.

‘Give the game back to the players’: Subban, Hall too creative for boring era | Globe and Mail
'The game, as it is played these days, is more often unwatchable than enjoyable. There may be no available statistic for those "hard-core" fans – including those who played the NHL game and covered the NHL – who have tuned out, but they are legion.'

And on the other hand we have an article by Steve Simmons about the issue, entitled "Trading P.K. Subban for Shea Weber a smart deal for Canadiens." I won't link to it here but if you want a laugh you can google.

" C’est un talent de classe mondiale, un gars impressionnant qui est agréable à regarder, s’est rappelé l’ancien arrière lors d’un entretien avec La Presse. Le manque de constance était son problème, à ce moment-là. Certains soirs, on le voyait, d’autres soirs, non… "

Lavoie: Canadiens management unhappy with Subban skate incident | SN
"It's really that day I said to myself, 'Uh-oh. Something will happen here.' "

NHL Free Agent Frenzy: Puck Daddy’s Winners and Losers of Day 1 | Puck Daddy
"This is your friendly reminder that Yzerman would be the Red Wings’ general manager if Ken Holland had agreed to move upstairs."

Stars GM Jim Nill has to know goalie tandem and carrying eight defensemen aren't great ideas, right? | Heika
"So when Stars general manager Jim Nill says he's fine with bringing back the same two goalies and also thinks carrying eight defensemen is a great idea, you cringe a bit."

Lightning, Devils and Sharks earn high free-agency marks, but Islanders, Ducks have work to do | ESPN
But, I mean, it's easy when all the 'free agents' are already on your team.