My guess is there are a lot of current era Maple Leaf supporters who first fell in love with the blue and white in the early 1990s. At the time, Toronto was coming off a pretty discouraging decade (the mostly awful ‘80s) in hockey terms, with not much in the way of playoff appearances—much less playoff success.
With fiery ex-Montreal coach Pat Burns behind the Leaf bench, Leaf fans that spring were about to witness something most of us simply didn’t expect. The Leaf roster was filled with guys who knew their role and embraced it. Wendel Clark (right) was certainly an important factor but he was far from alone in making a difference. If any young Canadian hockey fan was undecided about where their future rooting interest might lie, that spring of ’93 may well have tipped the scales in favour of the Maple Leafs. Their playoff run was that exciting—with three consecutive seven-game series that left us all holding our breath.
I try to outline some of the elements that made it all work for Burns and the Leafs in the latest Vintage Leaf Memories podcast—Episode 19. (Please note: there seems to be a delay in iTunes posting this Episode- it should be up eventually!)
As always, here's how to find the VLM podcasts on iTunes:
You can also listen to the podcast, and subscribe through other services, by visiting the URL of the RSS feed: