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The mid-'70s: When Leaf season’s tickets were available to the every day guy…even me

In October of 1975, I was my fourth year at the University of Toronto, working in underwhelming fashion toward a rather average undergraduate degree. (I was studying English literature…)

I was living with five other guys in an old rented house in the King and Dufferin area of Toronto.  One Saturday morning, one of my buddies was reading the sports section (I’m guessing it was the Toronto Star, could have been the Globe) and noticed there was a small ad indicating that Leaf season’s tickets were available.

This was actually a notice from the club itself, not someone looking to sell their own seats.

We hustled on down to Maple Leaf Gardens right away that morning.  There was no line up or anything to speak of.  Before you knew it, we were signed up for season’s tickets in the “greys”—seats which were above the greens, which were above the reds, which were above the exclusive gold seats (‘golds’ being the most expensive tickets…maybe $12 a seat at that time, but I could be wrong..).

So yes, the seats we purchased were “up there”, in the nosebleed section, for sure, but at $4 a seat, we thought it was a bargain.  They were located maybe half way up the grey section, between the blue line and red line (closer to the blue line) behind the Leafs bench side.

We saw some wonderful games from those seats.  I remember the night Wayne Thomas made a great save in the dying seconds against the Habs to preserve a hard-fought 1-1 tie.  I was in those seats the night Sittler put up his remarkable 10-point night against Don Cherry and the Bruins.  It was a fun time.

We maintained possession of those seats for probably four seasons, until the early years of my radio “career” took me to places well outside of Toronto and it just wans't realistic to keep the seats any longer, as personal priorities were also changing.

We had (at the same time we purchased the seasons seats up in the greys) put our name in for green seats.  It was a long waiting list, even in those days, just to move up a "section" at the Gardens.  Tickets stayed in families for years and years and very few people gave their tickets up.

Some years later I got a phone call one day, saying our names had come up on the waiting list.  My friend and I decided the time had passed, as, like most of our friends, life was taking us in different directions (in my case, a young family) with different responsibilities.

But for the time that we had those tickets, it was neat.  Especially following the team when they had some battles against the Flyers in the playoffs.  It was great just to be in the building some nights.  Going up the old escalators to our nosebleed seats on game night was always a thrill, every single time. 

I would be interested in hearing from readers who may have had similar experiences.  I know it’s always been considered awfully difficult to get Leaf season’s tickets, including in those olden days, but I guess on occasion some “new” people like myself were able to get their chance.

1 comment:

  1. I envy you your experience. Unfortunately I never did get to see the Maple Leafs play at the old Gardens or The ACC, yet.

    I have enjoyed watching the Leafs play at the Old Montreal forum, Calgary and Edmonton. And I have fond memories of each game.

    Thank you for sharing.