Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Open House

It is the kind of event a kid in the late 1960s could only dream of attending. Imagine sitting in Maple Leaf Gardens and watching your hockey heroes being put thru their paces.

In 1967, that situation became a reality for youngsters who followed the Toronto Maple Leafs. The period between Christmas and New Years was a perfect time for the Leafs to stage an open house. The event was sponsored by Dominion Stores.

On December 29, 1969 the third open house took place with 15,000 screaming kids in attendance. The line-up outside 60 Carlton Street began forming at 8:00am, some 2 hours prior to the proceedings start time.

The first part of the festivities had Brian McFarlane and Leafs general manager Jim Gregory explaining the fundamentals of hockey. Then, King Clancy, substituting for coach John McLellan, conducted the Leaf practice. This was followed by a  scrimmage and penalty shot competition.

Was there any better way for a kid to spend the Christmas break?

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