It was a decent idea in theory. To honour the 10 members of Toronto’s 1963 Stanley Cup champions attending Saturday’s 50th reunion, they’d put the old-timers in shiny convertibles, two to a car.
They’d drive the ragtops onto the Air Canada Centre ice surface to a rousing pre-game ovation. It’d be just like those ticker-tape parades all those decades ago. It’d be nostalgic gold to befit a golden anniversary.
Maybe, for some, it was. Maybe the rare sight of reclusive Dave Keon, the transcendant hero of Leaf-ian generations gone by, was enough to ensure lumps in throats and chills down spines.
Still, it would have been far better if the gaping empty rows of platinum and gold seats that greeted the greats were actually filled with respectful throngs. It would have been nice if those throngs offered a rousing and lasting ovation. No less an authority than Keon, only the greatest Leaf, has called the 1963 champs the best Leafs team that ever was.
Sadly, the significance of Saturday’s ceremony, whether because of bad messaging or short notice, seemed mostly lost on those who made the snowy trip to the Leafs-Senators match. The pre-game crowd was sparse; the current Maple Leafs players, who’d stayed in their dressing room for much of the pomp, only emerged to see the tail end of the motorcade — this after even the visiting Senators had taken to their bench to pay their respects.
Maple Leaf legends deserved better from fans, team
Toronto Star | Feb 17