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Memories of Maple Leaf Gardens: Episode 13 of “The Vintage Leaf Memories Podcast”

It’s an understatement to say I was excited the first time I walked into Maple Leaf Gardens but I’m surely not the only hockey/Leaf fan who shook a little at even the idea of getting to see ‘their’ team play for the first time at a hockey shrine.

For me, that “first time” was in the mid 1960s.  I was still just a youngster at the time (11 years of age), but the feeling it evoked lasts with me to this day. This was the building after all that helped trigger the legacy of Conn Smythe, and was home to all-time Leaf greats like Syl Apps and Teeder Kennedy. They were before my time, but I was well aware of their impact on the Maple Leaf franchise because my Dad was a devoted hockey fan.  Though my Dad was a Habs fan, he shared a deep knowledge of hockey with me that has shaped my perspective on sports throughout my life.

Individuals like Smythe and Kennedy (and many others then and since, of course) are the reason why the Leafs still matter to this day. That's a wonderful old photo of Kennedy (above) with the Captain's "C", along with teammates Tod Sloan on the far right and Sid Smith in the middle.

The Leafs won the night I first attended a game at the Gardens, but as I mention on the program, I believe the game I saw in person was actually also the anniversary of a rather famous (infamous?) game in Leaf history. I try to provide a little background during the podcast!

I provide just a few snippets about the Gardens from my memory bank throughout Episode 13.  There are so many other highlights I could have mentioned or spent more time on, but hopefully I was able to convey a little bit of that feeling that a fan would get every time they had the privilege of entering that great old building.


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  1. Wonderful podcast once again, Michael. Thanks for your work. We all appreciate it.

    I wondered if you were aware of the battle going on in the regarding, as usual, Phil Kessel. There are certain writers we have learned to avoid. Their posts are filled with personal attacks, innuendo, words spoken out of context, and negative spins on everything. There's never any mention of hockey. Pension Plan Puppets (satire-- Gosh I hope fans get it! ) and Curtis Rush have taken them to task and exposed them for what they are. Thank Goodness for competent, dedicated writers like you, Michael, and James Mirtle. C.N.

    1. Thanks for kind words about the VLM podcast, Colleen.

      Yes, I'm somewhat familiar with the Kessel discussion. I try to see both sides...the media have a job to do and they need to create a story every day. Sometimes it's unfair but it is what it is.

      When I work with clients (professional coaches/athletes) who are in the sports field, I try to remind them that performance criticism comes with the job. If and when things become personal, that's another question.

      Media outlets need to "sell". How they do it, whether relating to the world of sports, politics, finance or anything else always raises questions of competency, ethics and credibility.

      I try to stay away from the daily clamouring here and provide, as best I can, a 'take a step back' approach to discussing hockey and the Leafs. That said, my job isn't on the line and I'm not "competing" with anyone for stories. Thanks Colleen.

  2. Ooops! I goofed. Not Curtis Rush but Tim Bayer. Rush's ridiculous story started the whole thing. C.