Since retiring, Keon has returned to take part in ceremonies to hail the 1960's Stanley Cup winning teams. However, he has refused to participate in an individual tribute. This stems from his firmly held belief that his former team should retire player numbers and not employ their policy of having honoured numbers.
The Maple Leafs only have two retired numbers - #6 for Ace Bailey and #5 for Bill Barilko - hanging from the rafters at the Air Canada Centre.
|Left to Right: Barb Tushingham, Brendan Shanahan, Dave Keon and Jeri Horton-Joyce|
Since Keon wasn't going to be part of any gathering to honour his number 14, the Leafs found another way to acknowledge their former captain. On January 23rd, Keon was front and centre in a pre-game ceremony to salute the latest members of Legends Row. Joining Keon at centre ice was Barb Tushingham (representing her father, Turk Broda) and Jeri Horton Joyce (representing her father, Tim Horton).
And how did Keon land the number that he feels so strongly about?
The story begins at his rookie training camp prior to the 1960-61 season. During camp, Keon wore two different numbers - 8 & 24. His request to permanently wear 24 was refused and number 14 was assigned to him.
During a press conference between periods at the ACC, Keon explained his reluctance to wear number 14.
"I didn't want it fourteen was the number given to every guy coming up and down from Rochester (the Leafs AHL farm team). For a month or two weeks you wore 14 and you were gone again. That's not a good sign."
As history shows, Dave Keon put an end to that tradition.