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A brief History of Vintage Leaf Memories

Vintage Leaf Memories was launched as a web site in September of 2009, though it’s fair to say it’s been more than fifty years in the making.

Despite being born into a thoroughly pro-Montreal Canadiens atmosphere, and a father who was devoted to Aurel Joliat (see photo at right), Howie Morenz, “Butch” Bouchard, “Rocket” Richard, Doug Harvey and many other all-time Hab greats, I chose, at a very early age (my late father said I was 4) to go in another direction. I was just being contrary, evidently, as I outlined in "How I became a Leafs fan".

I became a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs circa 1958.  It started with Frank Mahovlich, Eddie Chadwick and names that may mean precious little to a new generation of Leaf supporters, but they still mean a lot to me.

In the early years it was exciting stuff to be a Leaf fan.  By the time I was not yet 9, the Leafs had captured their first Stanley Cup in my lifetime, in the spring of 1962.  I remember watching as left-handed, mask-wearing back-up goalie Don Simmons won Game 6 right in Chicago to secure victory and the championship against Hull, Hall, Mikita, Vasko, Pilote, ex-Hab Dollard St. Laurent and all the great Black Hawks of that wonderful era.

It was good times in those days. Being young in simpler times, supporting a team that was always in the playoffs, perennially in the hunt, with a bonus Cup thrown in, in ’67.

But the road got bumpier after that, and as Leaf fans well know, potholes remain to this day.

But fans live in hope.

And this site is intended to provide, if not hope, necessarily, at least reflections on a sport I have enjoyed and a team that has been a part of my life one way or another for more than fifty years.

If you are new to the site, check out the menu bar on the right.  There you will see stories on a variety of players, moments and teams.  On occasion I add a new interview to the mix.  So far, I’ve spoken with Hall-of-Famers Dickie Moore (left) and Andy Bathgate, both of whom played with the Leafs in the mid-1960s after outstanding careers elsewhere.  I’ve also chatted with 1960s (and early ‘70s) Leaf defenseman Jim Dorey, late 1970s Toronto netminder Paul Harrison and legendary hockey writer Red Fisher about his recollections of Maple Leaf teams and players.

Just recently I spoke with long-time Maple Leaf coach and General Manager Pat Quinn about his playing career with the Leafs in the 1960s, including his time in youth hockey in his native Hamilton and his Memorial Cup days with the old Junior A Edmonton Oil Kings, as well as the minor leagues.

I try to mix my memories of the olden days with thoughts about the current Leafs.  Sometimes things that are happening now trigger memories about a former Leaf, or hockey in the ‘50s, ‘60 and '70s.

I look forward to hearing from you at

I hope you enjoy visiting the site.

1 comment:

  1. Michael-
    Awesome, and thanks for sharing and all that you do.