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Leaf fans are absolutely everywhere; meanwhile the team strives to get to “4”

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed about hosting this web site over the past now almost two full years has been the feedback from regular followers as well as those who drop by the site from time to time.

Thoughtful Leaf fans and how they have responded to the site make this a worthwhile effort.  We won’t always agree but the bottom line is that people love hockey, they support the Leafs and simply want the team to do well again.  And for us as fans, being able to express and share opinions is hugely important.  The tone of the conversation here is great and I appreciate that very much.  People are respectful as they share their opinions and observations and everyone contributes to making this a comfortable place to visit and talk hockey.

What has maybe surprised me, though, is just how broad interest in the Leafs still is, despite all the talk about (and the reality of) “no Cup for 45 years…”.  We all know that hockey is part of the Canadian fabric for a lot of people and the Leafs, love them or hate them, are a constant topic of conversation.  But interest in the blue and white is year-round and so widespread.  It's remarkable.  (I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised.  When I was a young guy in  my teens, back in the late ‘60s and into the 1970s, I often talked with my buddies about the Leafs in the summer.  We were always discussing who they might trade, etc.  (An example:  The summer we got Bill Flett from the Flyers and Gary Sabourin from the Blues, I figured that was going to be huge.  They were good players but had had their best years already, unfortunately, by the time they got to Toronto...)

While the majority of visitors to Vintage Leaf Memories come from Canada and the U.S., we also see a lot of traffic from the U.K., Australia, Sweden, Germany and Russia.  In fact, the last time I checked, visitors from 124 countries had stopped by the site.  That just demonstrates how interest in the Leafs is stronger than ever, despite their struggles.  I’m sure other, larger Leaf sites that have been around longer see the same kind of pattern emerge.  No matter where you are in the world, if you enjoy hockey and are a Leaf fan, you like to read about and share your thoughts on what is happening with the Leafs.

It’s summertime and there’s been, yet again, no lack of things to write about.  Actual news (draft picks, signings, trades), speculation, wishful thinking and the possibility of further signings or trades make this a fun team to follow.

Some days are quieter than others, of course.  But sometimes, it’s the calm before the storm.  The Leafs have done plenty over the past few months and we may even see additional tweaking before or during training camp.  This management team is always looking to improve the club.  For me, the Leafs, in breaking down the team from the goal out, are (on a 1-5 scale) between a 3 and a 4 right now—a team likely on the cusp of making the playoffs, but still, for my liking, too thin up front to be in the legitimate “4”.  (I’ll write more on this in the next few days.)  I’ll call them a low “3” right now.

But this is why they play the game, to see who will improve, what teams will actually fulfill their hopes and aspirations- not just on paper.  Predictions, while enjoyable, simply don’t matter.  There have been lots of personnel changes and there will be plenty of young guys fighting for precious roster spots with the Maple Leafs.  Before you know it, it will be training camp and then the games will begin to matter again.

In the meantime, we should enjoy the summer.  Goodness knows, we wait all winter for it…


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