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What made you a Leaf fan?

Most of us have a memory of a time, or a moment, that imprinted us as hockey fan- and for a lot of us, Maple Leaf fans.

I’ve written in the past about how I was drawn to the blue and white at a very young age in the late 1950s, despite the rather oppressive (in sporting terms) influence of two much older brothers and a ferociously loyal Montreal fan for a father.  (Click to see that earlier post).

I’ve also recalled some players who stood out for me in my “development”, players and names that, to this day, still mean Maple Leaf hockey to me.  Names like Eddie Chadwick, Dickie Duff, Frank Mahovlich and Dave Keon, among others. (Click on their names to read some earlier stories…)

It’s the “off-season” now, but I’ve heard countless people, despite the glorious summer weather (at least where many of us are located), mention how much they miss hockey and the Leafs and how they are anxious for the new season to get underway.

So on a relaxing summer weekend, can you recall—what was your trigger?  When were you drawn to joining the Leaf “flock”? Did you have a “first” favorite Leaf, or NHL player? Have you ever wavered in your faith?  (Remember, to doubt is not to deny your allegiance!)

Send your thoughts, and comments…


  1. actually funny thing. It was the call of Joe Bowen and Gord Stelleck on 1430 that got me into the Leafs as a kid. Joe made everything sound exciting ...

  2. I came to Canada May of 1989. In Serbia, where I come from, you cheer for your local team. It's very unusual to cheer for a team from another part of town or god forbid another city entirely. My dad took me to Serbian hockey games when I was young even though hockey there is about as popular as beach volleyball is in Nunavut. Naturally when it came to choosing a team to cheer for, the Leafs were the only choice. Plus I really loved the jersey and their history. Oleksandr Olehovych Hodyniuk better known as Alexander Godynyuk was my fav leaf on paper because I felt an eastern European connection with him. After I realized we had a better Slav in Ed Olczyk after the first game he instantly became my fav. That is, until I saw a guy with a handlebar moustache killing everything and everyone in sight while pumping goals. My allegiance forever switched.

  3. I am a second generation Leaf fan. I lived in Ontario for just shy of two years, from the time I was one until I was two years old--the whole rest of my life I lived in Western Canada. Despite this, I have always been a Leaf fan, thanks to the man who introduced me to the game, my father.

    I think my earliest favorite player was probably also my father's, Eddie Shack (I remember this, because I had a 'Clear the Track for Eddie Shack!' lunch pail as a kid). I was also a big fan of Darryl Sittler.

    I can't really say that my faith in the Leafs has waivered, as much as my faith in the NHL as a whole. In the early 90's I became a lot more involved with Major Junior hockey in Canada, which I do still consider myself a bigger fan of than the NHL.

  4. The St. John's Maple Leafs.

    Growing up, my father was a huge Habs fan, having watched them since the 50's. But I fell in love with the Baby Leafs from attending their games at the old Memorial Stadium, and then later at Mile One. From loving the AHL team, I just grew to love the NHL team as well.

  5. Peter de Chatham here

    It was thanks to TV for me, specifically the Leafs Hockey on Global in the early 1990's, and also Hockey Night in Canada. I didn't have too much to do on weeknights, and the Leafs had the local TV rights.

    I became a hardcore fan after graduating university and getting my own apartment, which allowed me to order up a Sportsnet and Leafs TV subscription. Then I found the Barilkosphere in the last 2-3 years or so; that took it to a new level for me.

    Yep. Pretty bland story.

  6. Moved to Canada during the height of Dougie-mania. First Canadian TV commercial I remember was the Doug Gilmour Milk commercial where he's wearing cow print leggings. First playoff's I watched in Canada (really my first taste of hockey) pretty much ended with a Gretzky slash, robbing us of a finals that everyone was telling me would have been epic (I didn't really understand the Habs-Leafs rivalry yet). We've had some lean years since, but I knew that summer that I'd be a Leafs fan for life.

  7. Born and raised in Toronto, I remember being allowed to stay up on Saturday nights to watch HNIC, in black & white. They actually won Cups in those days, so it was easy to cheer for them.
    I'm still cheering for them after all these years, through thick & (mostly)thin.

  8. living in Syracuse, NY you'd figure i'd be either a Sabres or Rangers fan since im smack dab in the middle of New York State, but our cable provider in the early 1990's did not have MSG as a network, but what they did give us was CBC and HNIC. From then on, I was more a fan of the Leafs, who were on constantly and were a workin' mans team, than to the Rangers/Sabres whose games I could never see as a kid on tv. Thank you Syracuse NewChannels!!!

  9. My Grandmother was a huge Leafs fans, and I used to go over and watch games with her before I can even remember.

  10. Watching the '93 playoff run on ESPN hooked me for life. Hockey fans are rare in my home state of Alabama, so my passion is unusual around here. When my family went to Toronto, the border agents asked our reason for visiting. His face was priceless hearing our accents.

  11. It was the morning after the Leafs won the 1967 Stanley Cup. My best friend Joseph S. was walking to school with me, his feet not touching the ground from the sheer euphoria of describing the Leafs winning. I said to myself that I wanted to feel exactly like him and probably it would be the next season. I was a Habs fan because of "Boom Boom" and then a Hawks fan because of the "Golden Jet". Well, not quite the next season, but for over 40 years, I have been saying, "wait 'til next season" I will know that feeling probably within the next two years. If that aint a true Leafs fan, then I don't know what is.

  12. My Dad was a leafs fan so I sort of just became one like him. Watching games with him growing up was one way that I could manage to stay up past my bed time, and cheering for the same team helped. My love for the team just grew from there

  13. Dougie Gilmour and the Epic Run was my first real exposure to hockey ever. My dad is a bitter (ex?) Leaf fan, but that year he wanted to believe again. My parents wouldn't even let me watch all the games in the playoffs, but I remember being overjoyed when we beat Detroit in game 7, the satisfaction of finally "solving" Curtis Joseph, and a heated rivalry with a kid on the bus who was a Kings fan. I didn't even see the infamous game 6 of that series but I am not ashamed to admit I cried when we lost game seven.

    I really did think if the team as "we" and at that age I really thought if I cheered hard enough it would somehow make a difference.

    ...I sorta hope in some parallel dimension what seemed like destiny really did happen and the Leafs and Habs met in the final