Few fans get to be as lucky as I've been. While working on the 'Toronto Maple Leafs: Official Centennial Publication,' I interviewed about 100 players, past and present, and finished each conversation with, "What did it mean to play for the Maple Leafs?" The answers were quite incredible: childhoods cheering on the Blue and White; equating the Leafs to hockey's answer to baseball's New York Yankees... it went on and on. A few of them were used in that book, but I realized that there was something very special so decided to write 'VOICES IN BLUE AND WHITE: PRIDE AND PASSION FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS.' Through the last few years, I interviewed or researched almost 500 Leafs, management, broadcasters and celebrity fans, and as of this month, made the book available to fans. The early feedback has been sensational!
I decided to try self-publishing, so the book can only be purchased through me at www.kevinsheahockey.com or email me at [email protected].
Here's a sample of what you'll find on the pages of VOICES IN BLUE AND WHITE:
Years with the Toronto Maple Leafs: 1984-1988
Regular season games played with the Maple Leafs: 309
Playoff games played with the Maple Leafs: 29
My Dad was a huge Leafs fan, so I automatically became a Leafs fan myself. Saturday nights were the only nights that we were allowed to eat in front of the television. I don't think my mother and sister came down, but my Dad, Geoff (also an NHL alumnus) and I would watch 'Hockey Night in Canada' and he would make us stand for the anthem and then we would eat hamburgers and homemade French fries. Most of the time it was the Maple Leafs playing and then we'd play knee hockey.
My Dad was a really good hockey player but his rights belonged to the Detroit Red Wings. He played one year pro and then quit and started working in the mill because back then, you could make twice as much working in the mill as you could playing hockey. When I started playing hockey when I was three or four years old, I played at Memorial Arena in Victoria, British Columbia and we were called the Maple Buds. We had home and away Maple Leafs uniforms, white and blue. I was a Maple Bud when I first started playing hockey and I got drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. My Dad's favourite team was the Maple Leafs, my favourite team was the Maple Leafs, my favourite player was Borje Salming. It was almost meant to be. Unfortunately, my Dad passed away when I was 13 so he never saw me play for the Leafs.
I turned pro after the '84 Olympics. I had just got back from Sarajevo and we played a tournament in France after the Olympics. I got called up, so I flew from our home in Victoria to Vancouver (for a road game against the Canucks) and I played (for the Maple Leafs), jet-lagged and all. My Mom was there. In my first game, Tiger Williams hit me hard behind the net.
You can imagine having that experience being a Maple Leaf fan, getting drafted, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and then getting traded to the Montreal Canadiens. My first game as a Montreal Canadien, I was just about to put my jersey on and I looked up to Heaven and said, "Sorry, Dad," and then put the jersey on.
This is book number 19 for me. Besides the Leafs' Centennial Publication, I've written 'Barilko: Without a Trace,' 'Derek Sanderson: Crossing The Line--The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original' and 'The Hall: Celebrating Hockey's Heritage, Heroes and Home.' Researching and writing books is my passion, but hockey is my life. I am the Education and Publication Facilitator for the Hockey Hall of Fame, teach a hockey course through Toronto's Seneca College, teach two leadership courses based in hockey to Canada's remote Indigenous communities, am one of the principals in an event called Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer (we've raised $23 million for cancer research through the 9-year history of this event!), sit on the Toronto Maple Leafs Historical Committee and moderate a highly popular weekly hockey-themed Zoom call.
Thanks for this opportunity! So pleased to be able to introduce myself and my book to your forum!