Archive for August, 2012

Pass the Buck, hockey’s back at MLG

- August 13th, 2012

Pass the Buck, hockey back at MLG
lance.hornby – August 13th, 2012 (Edit)
As a young fan, Andrew Buck picked Wendel Clark as his favourite Maple Leaf, emulating everything about him right down to wearing No. 17.
But in a few weeks, Buck can take a page from Clark’s book he never thought possible – captaining a hockey team that plays out of Maple Leaf Gardens.
Buck’s Ryerson University Rams will begin work in the new Mattamy Athletic Centre, with a 3,000-seat pad built a few storeys above the original ice at the Carlton St. Cash Box. Most vestiges of the Leafs, and the Gardens’ name and logo have been scrubbed clean as part of the recent legal settlement with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. But just one look at the famous domed roof, hidden from public view since 1999, made public governance student Buck a bit spaghetti-legged on his skates.
“There might be a bit of pressure on us the first few games,” joked Buck, joining RU women’s team counterpart Kyla Thurston for the Aug. 13 ceremonial faceoff with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mayor Rob Ford. “That was a surreal moment out there with the Prime Minister. But we want to get past our first couple of games and do some amazing things here the next couple of years. Hopefully win a national championship.”
Buck, who is from Newmarket, recalls coming to the Gardens with his late grandfather George Moxey and late uncle Rob Dicintio, once or twice a year in the 1990s.
“I was here for Doug Gilmour’s 1,000th point and all the Leafs went on the ice with him. A couple of buddies reminded me I’ll be the first captain to play in here since (Mats) Sundin, but I was really a Wendel fan.
“It’s still going to be the Gardens to me, like people still call Rogers Centre the Skydome. A lot of people coming here will still call it the Gardens, too. I’d have liked to see that big Leaf stay on the top (of the exterior). But Ryerson has done such an amazing job putting this whole thing together.
“We don’t want to come in here and not have a great season. We had a good one last year, some good guys are coming back and we’re capable of some great things.”
The two hockey teams of note in the Gardens since its opening in 1931, the Leafs and junior Marlboroughs, both won many championships. Toronto’s last Stanley Cup was here in 1967.
Ryerson president Sheldon Levy reminded the audience at the puck drop that the other five Original Six NHL rinks have been either razed or completely renovated and that MLG is the only one still with ice, more than 80 years after construction.