Thursday, September 25, 2014

Maple Leafs Training Camps of Yesteryear


Training camp methods have certainly changed over the years, I did some google.news digging and found some good descriptions of Toronto Maple Leafs training camps from years gone by.

1930
The Leafs have encountered wintery conditions in the Parry Sound district. On Sunday some of them attempted to motor to that town, but had to turn back after reaching the Muskoka district because of the snow drifts on the highways. Most of the players took their golf sticks to the camp, but reports from there tonight are that unless mild weather comes soon, the outlook for golf is poor indeed.
Come to Parry Sound for camp, bring your golf sticks, enjoy the snow drifts! 

1938
"Yesterday was the last rehearsal for fancy-skating. Sonja Henie has her partner."
This read the not posted in the Leafs hotel lobby by Maple Leafs coach Dick Irvin after a lacklustre practice by his men.
Apparently this "burned up" his 15 Maple Leafs, 16 Syracuse Stars and the six amateurs invited to camp. The Canadian Press described, "in two bruising practice games at nearby Galt Arena the hockeyists bounced each other around with no quarter asked or given. Many a battle threatened in the fast going as tempers flared after stiff body-checks.
Forget fancy stats of nowadays, the Leafs were fancy skating over 70 years ago, much to the displeasure of coach Irvin. "Sonja Henie has her partner." I love it.


1962
The Stanley Cup Champion Toronto Maple Leafs had better not be too many pounds over their respective playing weights when they arrive at their Peterborough training camp Sept 7.
The Leafs general manager will allow his charges seven pounds grace. But they must be able to do a minimum of 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups and 30 knee-bends.
Imlach gave the order yesterday and also announced that Leafs will play a 15-game pre-season exhibition series across Canada and in the Western United States. The tour would take place from Sept 14 through Oct 4 stretching all the way from Kitchener, Hull, Victoria, Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland, Chilliwack, Edmonton and Calgary.
I assume Phil Kessel can do 20 push-ups, I hope. A 15 game, cross-continent pre-season tour, I wonder if the NHLPA would go for that these days.

1985
The two-hour practice  was barely over and the veteran players of the Toronto Maple Leaf were back in the dressing room doing 10 km sprints on stationary bikes. The rookies were relaxing, drinking juice. "Come on, let's show these goddamn kids," screamed mustachioed defenceman Brad Maxwell.
Head coach Dan Maloney was in his in his office, sizing up the 1985/86 Leafs for a sparse audience of only four reporters-only one from Toronto. At that precise moment, a dozen kilometres southwest at Exhibition Stadium, the Kansas City Royals were practising and there more local reporters on the field than players.
Imagine, only four reporters at a Leaf camp. Kind of makes today's expert intermission analysis of a split-squad game a bit of an over-kill. 


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