I have great memories of my first NHL game wearing the Blue and White. It was in Philadelphia during the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1976.I was so ready for this game, and then it happened: Kate Smith started her singing of ‘God Bless America’ with 15,000 fans singing with her, and staring across at me from the other blueline were the likes of Schultz, Holmgren, Kelly. I can honestly say I do not remember what I was thinking at that moment, but being there on the ice in Philadelphia was a combination of fear and excitement, realizing that it does not get any better than this. Game on!
I scored my first NHL goal on March 16, 1977 in a 4-4 tie with the Colorado Rockies. Darryl (Sittler) and Lanny (McDonald) gave me the puck after the game, and wished me lots more goals. I gave the puck to the trainer, Guy Kinnear, and Guy informed me that there is a Leaf tradition for players scoring their first goals. At the start of training camp the next fall, Johnny Bower called me into the coaches’ office and proceeded to tell me that I had a good training camp and that Mr. Ballard had something for me. The Leafs had mounted the puck. There it was, from that game in Colorado, encased in a silver frame and mounted on a dark blue cloth with the inscription: 1st NHL GOAL, TORONTO 4 COLORADO 4, MARCH 16, 1977. I am staring at the mounted puck as I write this!
What does it mean to wear the Blue and White? The people in the Leafs’ organization and my teammates from those years would be my answer.
Bob Warner, Player, 1976-1977
Feature photo courtesy Michael Green Sun| Flickr
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