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As the 3-year anniversary of VLM approaches, a big “thank you” to a lot of thoughtful posters here at VLM….

As the father of five (four living) sons with my wonderful wife (our 34th wedding anniversary today), I have learned over time that you shouldn’t have “favourites” among your own children. This is not to suggest that I have not been asked by some of our children, on occasion (including to this very day), who is indeed the "favourite". (Side note:  it changes day to day...)  I of course sidestep the question, with good reason.  I love them all deeply.

But truthfully, as a parent, you sort of come to see through trial and error, I guess, that constantly "comparing" or raising, say,  the positive attributes of one of your offspring in front of their siblings would only potentially lead to some kind of emotional scarring.  If not quite scarring, in our case at the very least, one of the boys might just, say, beat the crap out of the others (and possibly take a fair amount of pleasure in doing it) so I learned that positive reinforcement was best done privately- and not within earshot of the others.

Avoiding comparisons just makes for a healthier experience all-round, though my now grown sons may remember my parenting skills in this regard quite a bit differently than I do.  But hey, it's not their blog.  Too bad for them.

So I’m perhaps hoisting myself on my own “petard” (I better check and see what that word actually means—I’ve heard the expression countless times and I assume it is a) french in origin and b) a harmless reference, kind of like impaling yourself on your own sword…I hope I’m right!) when I say I want to particularly thank a number of people who make this site so enjoyable for me.  (This is all a long-winded way of suggesting that, by citing specific individuals, I may offend those I don't  mention....)

Why do I do this?  Well, I enjoy positive feedback as much as the next guy and sometimes these kinds of posts trigger that.  I also genuinely appreciate the really outstanding discussions we have here, though I realize this site is somewhat limited because we don’t really have back and forth “conversations” as such.  But people do discuss, debate and respond to one another, and 99% of the time it is thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and that’s very important to me.

I also raise this now because, well, let’s face it, if there were legitimate hockey and/or Maple Leaf news to bat around, we’d be doing that, right?  I usually have no lack of topics to bring forward, but even someone such as myself (who loves to write) has found the last few weeks rather mind-numbing, hockey-wise.  CBA. Empty speculation.  CBA. Empty speculation.  CBA....and the cycle continues. I guess the really good writers rise about that and raise topics and issues no one else is even thinking about.  While I strive to do that, achieving that has been beyond me of late, in the absence of authentic “triggers’ that get my juices going.

Also, in less than a month I’ll (God willing) “celebrate” a birthday and also have three years behind me of hosting the Vintage Leaf Memories site.  For those who are relatively new to VLM, the site began in late September, 2009.  (if there’s no hockey by the end of this September, I may be reduced to posting “the best of…”.  At least I’ll try to convince myself that some of the almost 1,100 columns I’ve done fit into that kind of supposedly select category…)

I haven’t reached that three-year mini-milestone yet, but during this quiet time, hockey-wise,  I wanted to thank a number of people—by actual name (at least what they refer to themselves here as) or moniker—who inspire a desire to continue writing and providing what I hope continues to be a thoughtful forum for Maple Leaf (and overall hockey) dialogue, discussion and tidbits, with a dash of history and a lot of personal memories thrown in, too.

Who are these people?  Well, believe me when I say I appreciate all the posts here, but some of you have taken the time to comment here on a regular or semi-regular basis, and that helps make the site work.  Just like radio talk shows need good callers to make any given "show" at least mildly entertaining and perhaps even relevant, the VLM site is better when more of you not only stop by and visit (which I do appreciate) but also initiate or actually join the discussion.

At the risk of not mentioning some people who deserve a thank you, I’ll name a few of those who spring to mind that I have engaged with here over the past few months (and in some cases, years…).   I know none of you/them “personally”, though I have corresponded by e-mail with a few of you/them.  I have high regard for their contributions here.  I do interact with a few of these individuals on Twitter, as well, and enjoy it thoroughly.

I know I’ve probably lost some people as regular visitors here, but, unfortunately, I guess that happens sometimes when people may not like my opinions on certain subjects. I understand.  I try to present my views genuinely but that won't always be popular.

So, in no particular order, thanks go out to everyone who visits VLM, but especially:

  • Ed—A Leaf fans since the 1940s. What memories he has.  He only posts once in a while but it's always great reading.
  • Mark Ascione—A fine hockey writer; you can see his stuff primarily via The Hockey Writers site.
  • Mills—posts irregularly, but is always thoughtful.
  • Gerund O’Malley—Gerund O’ as he is known to me, a long-time and realistic Leaf follower. Wonderful posts here.
  • InTimeFor62—Was born just before the Leafs won the Cup in 1962, but only really was “sentient” in hockey terms by 1968, missing the glorious ‘60s championships.  A fine contributor here.
  • KiwiLeaf—With a strong New Zealand connection, as his moniker implies.  So he provides a true international perspective.  A Leaf enthusiast only for the last decade, but very insightful.
  • DP—Absolutely on top of everything that’s going on in Leafworld.  Shares information and video links here regularly. Always appreciate his posts.
  • Jim- Has posted here a fair bit, especially recently and has been a tremendous addition to the VLM discussion. Another treasured contributor.
  • Pete Davies- Not frequent but always solid posts from Pete.
  • Willbur—Willbur (with two “ll”s) brings a no-holds barred perspective; hopeful Leaf guy but honest and fair.
  • The Meatriarchy—Doesn’t post a lot, but always worthwhile.
  • SurrealMcCoy—I always enjoy Anthony’s posts and he’s a Twitter friend, too.
  • TML__fan—Another thoughtful individual, Don consistently provides an interesting perspective on the issues of the day.
  • Alex C—Dentist by day, and a Leaf supporter in Sabre country!  I look forward to his unique every-once-in-a-while posts.
  • Seandelville—Sean Pratt is an actor and Leaf fan who makes really solid contributions here and on Twitter.
  • Bobby Craig—A superb writer, Bobby C.’s (as I refer to him) meticulous posts here are worth a read (and a re-read) every time.
  • CGLN—A long-time Leaf follower, from Finland.  He has a wonderful perspective to share regardless, but his Finnish roots add even more credibility to his commentary.
  • Pete Cam—A very long-time Leaf supporter, who remembers the good old Leaf days and always brings interesting ideas to the table when he finds the time to post.
  • BMaximus—Another solid poster here.
  • JD Ashworth—Doesn’t comment often, but it’s always good stuff.
  • RLMcC—A real long-time Leafer, now residing in the U.S., if I’m not mistaken. Absolutely excellent posts each and every time.
  • Blue Sasquatch—Beyond the unique monikor, always provides strong posts here.
  • cbh747—Brad is another favourite of mine.  He seems to chime in just when I’m looking for something good to respond to.
  • Peregrine—Each post is worthwhile.
  • Longsuffering Leaf fan—I won’t hear from him for a while, but whenever he surfaces, he always raises great points and drops some relevant (and wonderful) old-time names and memories.
  • BlueandWhite—I recall many of his posts fondly.
  • Caedmon—I always look forward to Caedmon’s posts.  Clear, solid, really well-written.
  • Darryl—Top-notch posts.
  • Hogie—It's always refreshing when I hear from Hogie.
  • Merreee1—One of the nicest people out there, Mary is a recent Leaf/hockey follower from the U.S., but is a big Leaf supporter
  • Curt S—Consistently excellent posts.
  • Faeldam—Doesn’t post here often, but a great Leaf observer.  See him on Twitter, too.
  • Alex Spicer—Contributes here on occasion and it’s always solid stuff.
  • Alexandra—Posts infrequently but right on the money and well-spoken.
  • BC Leaf Fan—Thoughtful voice in a sea of Canuck fans out west.
  • WendelsMoustache—Love his stuff.
  • freshwind- Well-named; always brings a fresh perspective with their posts.
  • Skii2Envy—Another superb poster here.  Every comment is well-crafted.
  • furcifer-An excellent contributor.
  • Elizabeth Brinton is a fine writer living in Idaho.  Onlposts only once in a while, but as the grand-daughter of Canadian legend Conn Smythe (who started it all as far as the Maple Leaf legacy is concerned) and the daughter of Stafford, her voice is welcome here any time.

There are other names I can mention, but I realize that first names in isolation may not mean much.  That said, Robert, Adam, Doug, Aaron O., David, Luc, Adrian and Alex all drop by and contribute on occasion.  There are many others, too, who pitch in with great commentary.

In short, everyone has helped make this work, and the individuals I’ve noted above stand out because they have posted here not only often, but for me, also memorably.  One of the things I enjoy most about hosting VLM is the opportunity to interact with those who post here.

There are so many outstanding Maple Leaf and hockey blogs out there, I appreciate those who make VLM a regular stop.  Along those lines, I’ve actually been thinking of getting together in the Toronto area (Real Sports bar, maybe? I don't know much about the Toronto 'night life' these days…) some time this coming season, not necessarily on a game night, just to meet some of the people who live around the GTA and post here or simply enjoy the site.  We could hoist a glass to hockey and the history of the Leafs—and hopefully a great future.

Again, apologies to those who I have (inadvertently) not mentioned today—those I did “forget”, it was absolutely unintentional.

Thanks.  I hope you'll keep visiting.


  1. MIchael,

    You know that all of us love your site and the way in which you present your thoughts on the Leafs. Thank you very much for the acknowledgement above. It was a really nice thing for you to do.

    I personally will continue to share my thoughts, as long as you would like me to, or as long as your blog continues on the web.

  2. You're more than welcome, Jim. Your input will always be welcome here. Thank you.

  3. To be hoist upon one's own petard, I believe, is to harm yourself with your own weapon. A petard was an anti-personnel bomb, I think in WWI. How appropriate that it would take the godless Frenchmen to experience such an embarrassment and thus coin the term. Sounds a lot like a Scott Gomez contract when you think about it.

    Cheers for the recognition, old son, it is (as I'm sure all your regulars would agree) entirely my pleasure to be here. I think of you as my favourite publican, polishing the glasses behind your yard of oak and chipping in your snippets of wisdom while the rest of us sit together over a pint in the buttery light and bemoan the perfidious natures of referees and Habs fans.

    So Prost! to us all and especially to you, Michael. Thanks for providing such a stimulating environment.

    Glenn Kirker.

  4. Thank you for the lovely and unexpected shoutout Michael! It is a rare blog where almost every comment gets a response and it turns into a true discussion, which is one of the things that makes VLM special. Here's to having more to talk about than 'best of' very soon!

  5. Thank you for the 'glove tap' as your third year is concluding in this 'forum' (thinking of your father's team, perhaps I should say 'garden' or 'centre').

    I'm sure your appreciation for and acknowledgement of 'commenters' has a lot to do with the quality of people you have attracted to your blog. As they say, "you get what you give"... I first commented in order to encourage you when you seemed a little down about what you were doing here and I hoped to speak for other silent readers about our appreciation for you.

    Congratulations on your anniversary celebrations and know that my heart goes out to you respecting the loss you have experienced... perhaps that is part of the reason that you always take the time to show your appreciation for others on this site. You are a fine fellow, indeed. Hope to meet someday!

  6. Glad you're part of the furniture here, Sean. And yes, hopefully we'll have some real hockey stuff to bat about soon.


  7. Thanks for the clarification on "petard", Glenn (KiwiLeaf).

    Can always appreciate a reference to Prost! And yes, the Habs. I was raised, as I've posted here many times, in a family full of insanely devoted Hab fans. It was, to say the least, an emotional vortex of sorts for me.

    Sincere thanks, Glenn.

  8. Thank you for the kind words, InTimeFor62, and for your reference to the loss of our son, now many years ago. He is still a big part of the family, though he was with us only a very short time.

    I well recall your initial post here, indeed at a moment when I was perhaps asking myself if the blog was connecting with folks the way I had hoped it would. The encouragement I received at the time suggested I was on a good track, and should continue along, which I've tried to do,

    I, too, hope we can meet some day.

  9. Hmm. Nice article, but the opening is a bit 'off'. Given that you've always assured me that I'm your favorite (and that I'm your favorite because I'm the best), I'm not quite tracking what you're talking about in the first few paragraphs.

  10. Hmmm.....ah, Dave, as per the opening paragraphs, these internal family discussions are, of course, as they say on sports broadcasts, not intended for broader public use.....under threat of legal action, or something.

    I'm trying to recall the precise moments when I "said" what you suggested. Perhaps, as Roger Clemens mentioned before Congress, we have both "mis-remembered" certain discussions.

    Don't tell your brothers....

  11. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I have always enjoyed reading articles and lately blogs about hockey in general and the Leafs in particular but I have never felt moved to send in a comment until I encountered VLM.

    I find your blog an oasis of reason in this age of sound bytes and in your face articles and discussions. Your blogs are always crafted to provoke rational discussion the way I always taught my students to present their arguments; logically and rationally.

    Part of the charm of VLM is the quality of your readership that you have attracted. I look forward to their comments and check back during the day to read them. Your post comments are icing on the cake and I especially look forward to them.

    I feel, as I'm sure many of your readers do, that your blog is nonpareil.

  12. Sincere thanks, Pete Cam. As I acknowledged in my post, I of course appreciate hearing positive comments about VLM. But for me, the fact that the site has quietly evolved into something more than I envisioned three years ago, precisely because of the profoundly interesting comments posted here, is what makes it most worthwhile.

    To be able to have a discussion about sports at a certain level, for lack of a better word, is healthy, invigorating- and a lot of fun.

    My thanks to everyone noted today, including you, for sure, is quite genuine.

    The tone of the discussion that we have here is so important to me and I think to those who visit. And in that regard, to your reference above, I'm guessing you've influenced more than a few students for the better over the years.

    Thanks Pete Cam. Stay in touch.

  13. Thanks Michael.

    Really appreciate the time and effort that you put into this site. The topics are always thought provoking and you seem to attract a great bunch of posters. Can't tell you enough how refreshing it is to visit your blog.

    Keep up the great work!


  14. Thanks a lot, Brad (cbh747). Those who take the time to post provide the impetus to continue, so thanks again to you- and to everyone who contributes here.

  15. Thanks Michael.
    I always enjoy visiting your site. I may not comment too often but I sure am a faithful reader. I am constantly amazed at all the topics you can come up with for discussion. As I read your comments on the contributors today, I found myself nodding agreement with each one. I like the insightful comments provided by your readers and the dialogue that results.
    Keep it going! Thanks to you we are all having a good time indulging our passion for the Leafs!

  16. Michael, each of the names you've mentioned above has provided me with hours of stimulating Leaf conversation, fond memories and incisive commentary - and that's all thanks to you and this blog. Congratulations on creating a "daily destination" spot - and a let me join in your shout out to the many fantastic posters you've attracted. I always look forward to your - and their - perspective on the state of Leaf Nation.

  17. Thanks Ed, and thank you for taking the time to post today. I was glad to include you on the above list. Well-deserved.

  18. Kind and much appreciated. Thanks, Gerund O'!

  19. Thank you for the stick-tap Michael! I just discovered your site this past spring, and even posted anonymously for a bit. For the first time, I felt compelled to become part of an Internet "family" here and got myself a gmail account to truly become part of this. This is in no small part due to the professionalism that you and all of your posters show. Keep up the great work!

  20. I'm really glad you found the site when you did, Pete- and thanks for sticking with it.

  21. Michael,
    Thank you so much for including me in your post. I do not feel worthy to be mentioned with your other knowing hockey fan readers. I have learned much about Maple Leaf hockey and hockey in general from reading your posts. I appreciate your efforts and all your memories you share with us.
    I wanted to wish you and your wife a very Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary and a Happy Birthday to You on your upcoming birthday.
    Thank you again for your nice words. I plan on coming back to read your interesting and informative posts. Keep up the great work.
    Mary : )

  22. Thanks for the kind words, Mary- and thanks as well for your warm wishes on the two anniversaries!

  23. Glove tap, Michael, and many happy returns on your anniversaries.

    Apologies for keeping quiet lately, I've kept visiting but most of my NHL-related thoughts have not been exactly fit for publishing, due to the fact that the CBA-negotiations don't seem to be going anywhere. Here's hoping we won't lose the entire season, although I can't say I'm exactly optimistic about even that at this point.

    Anyway, best wishes once more, and I hope you'll keep doing your thing for years to come!

  24. Understood, CGLN. It's difficult to warm up to Leaf topics when the labour climate is so gloomy.

    And thank you for the kind wishes, CGLN. Glad you're part of VLM.

  25. Hi Michael,
    A belated happy anniversary!
    I found your site a year or two ago, and try to check in once or twice a week.
    I'd love to meet up for a pint or two, but Johannesburg is rather far from Toronto. There isn't even a direct flight!
    Mike Stroud

  26. Thank you for the anniversary wishes, Mike. South Africa is indeed a long way from Toronto, but I appreciate that we can connect in this way, at least. Stay well, Mike- and I hope you can keep checking in- and posting when the mood strikes...

  27. Michael,

    It's a tremendous compliment to be included in this list.

    Congratulations on 3 years with VLM. It is one of the best places to connect with a wide variety of Leaf fans – young, old, optimistic, cynical, the gamut really. The responses are thoughtful, though still reflect the passion of 'fandom'. I believe that's a credit to you and the posts you write. Your knowledge and sincerity engender that kind of thoughtful response.

    Again, I thank you for the compliment you pay me, and I hope you know the feeling is mutual.


  28. Sincere thanks for the kind thoughts, Mark. I very much appreciate your contributions here- I look forward to your posts whenever you can find the time. Take care. See you on Twitter!

  29. whoaaaaaaaaaa! i certainly didn't anticipate a shout-out from my favourite blog! thanks so much michael... your posts are part of my daily routine!

  30. I was happy to include you, Alex! And thanks for your continued support.