Good morning Maple Leafs fans!
The team was travelling to Detroit yesterday for tonight’s game, so there wasn’t much news for us to look at. Overall the NHL had a kind of boring Sunday.
So, to inspire our chat, I thought we could talk about some memorable games we’ve been to. I don’t mean just Leafs games, maybe there was a night at the local JrB team that you spent with a sweetie and snuck in a smooch. Or maybe something so unbelievably weird happened at an AHL game, like the mascot fighting a fan.
I have a few I can share to kick things off:
When I was a kid, we would go to St. Catharines Falcons games. They play in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, a “B” level junior league with teams around Niagara and Hamilton. I would constantly get lost in the old Jack Gatecliff Arena. Which is shameful because it was a simple oval. I knew one side had a big portrait of the queen, one had all the championship banners. I still took a long time to find my seat after getting popcorn.
Another at a Falcons game, was in high school while doing camera work for a public access TV broadcast. Local figure skating classes would perform during intermission, but it seems like one thing they didn’t teach the skaters was closing the doors to the rink properly. Second period starts, one big hit is thrown in the corner and a member of the Pelham Panthers gets tossed down the hall into the change rooms. Fantastic.
My first NHL game was Florida Panthers at Buffalo Sabres in 1996. The Panthers were ready to go to the Stanley Cup Final, the Dominator was dominating. We had seats on the glass at the old Memorial Auditorium. Amazing game, the Panthers won but there were plenty of fights and we even got to see Hasek toss around Panthers left and right. The tickets were a bonus prize from my cousin’s Boxing Day hockey tournament. What I actually won was a game used hockey stick from the LA Kings, signed just before Gretzky was traded to St. Louis. They were late getting the stick, so they gave me some tickets as an apology.
My sister and I found out if we pushed on the glass hard enough we could make it wave down the boards. The usher didn’t like that and threatened to kick us out. A couple of kids onto the mean streets of Buffalo.
My first Leafs game was a pre-season game prize I won from Coke Zero. A tour of the arena before the game, watch warmups from the penalty box, and then a dressing room tour/meet & great after the game. The Senators win handily, 5-1 I think, but it was free so I’m not complaining. Also, the dress code was Leafs gear only, so my Habs fan wife donned a Leafs sweater. She was fine with it, Kris Versteeg forgot about the tour and ran through the changing area we were in naked. She still talks about it to this day.
So, what are some of the memories you’ve made at a hockey game or two? Did you get to play against some alumni? (I once scored on Billy Smith!) Do you remember your first game winning goal? Maybe you saw a game with your dad finally after all those years of him working late. Cats cradles and what not.
Chat about it, get ready for tonight’s game, and as always, Go Leafs Go!