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How the birth of the "Leaf Matters" podcast (now available online) came to be...

For the past few months—long before the lockout created a bit of a vacuum in terms of current and timely hockey talk—I have been thinking about ways to broaden the scope of Vintage Leaf Memories here just a bit.  I enjoy hosting the site and appreciate the tremendous response  I have received over the past three years as well as the many thoughtful observations posted on VLM from fellow Leaf supporters.  The back and forth conversation with so many of you is a huge part of why I enjoy doing this.  (I do wish even more readers would post and add to the discussion...)

I love writing about the old days, for sure (my favourite thing, if I’m completely honest) but I try to focus on current Leaf news because my instincts (and lagging readership “numbers” when I post about the Leafs of yesteryear!) tell me that is what readers want to sink their teeth into the most.  Current Leaf fans want to talk about what’s happening now with the team- not about something that happened fifty years ago.  I get that.

One of the considerations has been launching some sort of regular podcast.  A few of you may know that in the first couple of years after I was developing VLM, I did conduct a few interviews with former Leafs, including Jim Dorey, Paul Harrison, Hall-of-Famer Dickie Moore, Pat Quinn and long-time New York Ranger (and Leaf) great Andy Bathgate.  (Those interviews are available for listening—I trust that the links still work!—on the right hand-side of the site under "Categories" and "audio".) But I’ve been contemplating how this podcast notion could realistically work, when the founder of We Want A Cup, Matteo Codispoti  and I started chatting a bit.  Some of you may recall I did a guest spot with Matteo for his site about a year ago—a wide-ranging conversation about the Leafs, past and present.  We chatted about quite a broad range of issues.

We seemed to have a nice camaraderie at the time and that is probably why we both felt comfortable   considering the concept of working together on a Leaf-oriented podcast.  We Want a Cup is a really good Leaf site—quite different in look and feel from Vintage Leaf Memories, but that made the 'marriage' all the more appealing to me.  I’m pretty dull, while Matteo is a very passionate guy, a father of very young children and a strongly opinionated Leaf fan.  I’m a fair bit older than Matteo, my kids are all grown and my site is pretty basic—VLM isn't funny and doesn’t deal with stats. I don’t do any research.  It’s just me sharing memories of what I actually witnessed myself in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, along with my views and observations on the state of the Leafs today.  I realize that doesn’t exactly create excitement in an era when people want funny video clips and controversy.  So I've been looking to do something more, and maybe a bit different.

There are plenty of really good Leaf sites out there—Pension Plan Puppets, Leaf Nation, Hope in the Big Smoke, Blue Chip Prospects, MapleLeaf Hot Stove and TMLFans are just a few example of the solid hockey writing that is out there.  Those, and other, sites hold up against mainstream media outlets, in my view, when it comes to analyzing the blue and white.  And We Want A Cup is one of those quality sites.

At the end of the day, I just enjoy holding down my small part of Leafworld as best I can.  But I knew VLM could be more than it is, and this podcast concept was too good an opportunity to pass on. So  Matteo and I created “Leaf Matters”, a podcast that will feature weekly Leaf talk and will be available, I’m told (the technology is still quite beyond me; I have to ask my adult sons what it all means, but that’s OK, I guess I’m a simple guy in many respects) on something called ITunes (?).  I believe the plan is to make this a regularly available listening option for those who might be interested in Maple Leaf talk with a twist- and not the same old voices we hear all the time.

The first few will no doubt see us working out some wrinkles and a few of the kinks that are always present when you are trying something out for the first time.  But hopefully, if your expectations are modest (and I hope they are), you might enjoy the opportunity to sit back and listen, at your convenience.  For the most part, it will be just two guys “talking Leafs”.

We have no axe to grind (well, Matteo may have some small axes to grind, but it’s because he loves the Leafs and he’d like to see the team again be what it once was, so his kids can enjoy following a proud franchise with a crest that means something).  We will talk about the good things the Leafs have done under Burke, as well as the areas where they have come up a bit short.  But we will look to be fair and objective.  Over time, hopefully the podcast will grow.  I’d love to see us involve more and more Leaf fans as we establish a place in the audio “Barilkospehere” with this endeavour.

For those interested, here is the link to the inaugural episode:

If that doesn’t work, visit We Want a Cup- the link is prominent there (and they understand technology!).  Also, if you go to the right-hand side of this page, there is a box with "Leaf Matters" imbedded.  The link should be there as well.

Thanks to all of you who have stayed with Vintage Leaf Memories even when we disagree on the issues of the day—and during this protracted CBA (and now no Winter Classic) mess as well.


  1. Thanks,

    I like podcasts. I like listening to them while working and doing other things.

    I have the Marlies game on for the third period. I hope others are watching.

  2. Hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to listen, DP.

  3. Great podcast.

    I, personally, do not know a single other Leafs fan at face level. My personal friends include a Flyers fan, two Bruins fans, a Penguins fan, and a bunch of people who think Gretzky and Kurri still play for the Oilers, so they're "fans" of the franchise.

    Just listening to this podcast kinda gave me a new purpose as a Leafs fan. So thanks for that.

    But in closing, I don't think $8M per year Bettman is crying or losing sleep over the current state of a game or the flagship league of it he neither understands or actually cares about.

    He's just not that guy.

  4. I'm really glad to hear that the Leaf Matters podcast struck a chord with you, CGLN. I'm hoping it can become an audio meeting place of sorts for a lot of Leaf fans, though I recognize there will always be plenty to disagree about.

    As for Bettman, he can never have the passion that a true, long-time hockey fan/observer has. He will always be the classic hired gun. I guess we have to accept it's just a job for him.

  5. We have to realize it, sure, but do we have to accept it?

    He's probably the most overpaid lawyer on the planet. He turned the Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix Coyotes. Hartford Whalers into Carolina Hurricanes, although the latter did win the Cup on a year nobody wants to talk about.

    He gave us shootouts. He has given us three stoppages, and his wages have skyrocketed more than anyone else's in the league since.

    Not a big fan.

    But Michael, please keep writing the stories of the "olden days". I always love to read them, even though I find them difficult to comment on, as I wasn't there to witness the proceedings.

  6. I'll aim to post on the olden days as well, CGLN. I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea, but if enough people are interested, I'd love to keep posting on my memories from the past, for sure. Thanks CGLN.

  7. You have a good voice for broadcasts Michael!

    I think you both have so much to say that the interactions will get even better as you gain 'on air' familiarity with one another.

    John is a talented finger-pickin' guitar player. I enjoyed his musicality and commentary. It was a good idea to bring him on board for your podcast.

    It was good to hear what Matteo had to say about his public missing hockey gatherings. I was kind of surprised that others denigrated the idea, but I suppose that has something to do with the clash between the virtual and the real world. Some people don't seem to think that a real world presence has merit any more, whereas the NHL and PA are probably feeling pressure from the sea of voices that have risen up in the virtual world.

    I wonder if the lockout plan expected there to be so much pressure 'rising up' from fandom. It may be the only thing that could shorten the plan by any significant amount. If nothing else, they are hearing how perturbed we are about the whole thing, whereas during the last lockout we weren't even a blip on their radar.

    Ah... the virtues of a disorganized resistance...

    Not my term, though I can't remember where I saw that, it stuck in my mind and seems appropriate in this context. There are different voices being heard on this lockout and they don't have to agree in order to put pressure on those who take us for granted.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the initial "Leaf Matters" podcast, InTimeFor62. And I agree, it will take a while to build that natural "chemistry", but I really enjoy working with Matteo and over time we will mesh even better, hopefully.

    Well said, as always, InTimeFor62. I completely agree as well with your last comment- it matters little if the fans' voice is in lock step. The messages can be sent many different ways. Thanks.