February 03, 2009

I forgot to say...

Thank you.

I'll be honest, there was some wellage of tears during #93's tribute on Saturday night.

I was proud, not emotional, when Wendel Clark's number was raised to the rafters. But I found myself dabbing the corners of my eyes when Doug Gilmour was immortalized. I still maintain that all the dust, you know, in my mom's basement had something to do with it, but I can't lie to you. Gilmour was worth the tears. After all, the pride of Kingston, Ontario was one of the main reasons I got into hockey. 

Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be the second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. Roberto Alomar was my hero, my idol, my God; my everything. Until Gilmour arrived.

After Cliff Fletcher brought Dougie to town, he was quick to capture the heart of my older brother. Thinking back, I was one of those annoying kids who followed his big brother around, and wanted to be just like him. In no time, Gilmour had my heart in his hands as well.

All these years later, it's tough to look back. The Gilmour years were magical. Straight magical. Some of my fondest memories as a Leafs fan come from that era, when Gilmour ran the Leafs, and ruled this city. But he left with unfinished business. Like so many before him, and like Mats Sundin after him. 

Gilmour came back, though. He found his way back home. I was at the Saddledome in Calgary, with my brother, back in 2003, when Dougie donned the blue and white once again. It was like a dream. Until he blew out his knee, and missed the playoffs. It then became a nightmare. For Gilmour, for the Leafs, and for us, the fans, it simply wasn't meant to be. And I will never, ever forget that collision.

Those who know me, and I trust that many of you who read this space regularly do by now, know what Mats Sundin means to me. But there was something special about Gilmour. Sundin was fantastic as a Maple Leaf, statistically the best ever, but he was no Gilmour. I'm not sure we'll see the likes of #93 around here again.

Gilmour arrived in 1992. He was gone by 1997. In only five short years, he left his mark on the collective soul of a hockey mad city. Although he was never able to get there as a Toronto Maple Leaf, his number now rests where it rightfully belongs: at the top.

Thanks, Dougie...

8 comments:

deelikemenmorethanpizzapizza said...

Greatest Leaf ever...in honor (or honour for your readers),i wear that number in my mens league. If we watch some of the younger guys, you'll see a little dougie in all of them. take a look at how scott gomez skates through the neutral zone. i think he did some dougie watching when he was young.

#93

blurr1974 said...

well said...

Anthony Woods said...

I remember watching that Calgary game, I was living in Edmonton at the time. I watched a lot of Calgary games(still do) because I still have a mild hate for the Oilers. I really wanted to hate Lowry for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dougie didn't even get to play a full game before blowing up in front of our eyes. I was also in a dusty room for Dougie's jersey raising dealie. As a side note, Brian Burke can suck it on the jersey number thing. Can you imagine remembering Dougie as good old number 21?

eyebleaf said...

@ DeeLikesMen: Now that you mention it, Gomez does remind me of Gilmour. I think he employs the jersey tuck which Gilmour rocked, as well.

@ Blurr: Thanks dude.

@ Anthony: That collision with Lowry was so God damn innocent, yet it was how we lost Dougie forever. What a way to go out. Something like four minutes into his return. Just awful. And, seriously, what's up with all these dusty rooms?

Bhattorious said...

#93, i was just 16 years old when he gave me one of the greatest moments of my hockey watching life....wrap around on Joseph...i was estatic...he was and is my favourite Leaf of all-time...i wish i was Cherry so i could get a kiss from Gilmour...oops, did i write that out loud...

showcase29 said...

"Toronto goal scored by #93, Doug Gilmour" can be heard at the 4:26 mark:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=q4Ud2Kn4bGA

eyebleaf said...

@ Bhatti: I wouldn't mind a peck from Dougie, either. SWOON.

@ Brother: His name is Paul Morris. Did his thing from 61 to 99. Of course, in typical Leafs fashion, they didn't offer him a job when we moved to the ACC. Idiots. Andy Frost sucks.

fantasybaseballmacbookpro said...

Oh Dougie! A little man who was bigger than any brawler could ever be. Loved it when you shattered the penalty box glass.