My history in the Leaf’s Centennial

domingo, 11 setembro 2016 Deixe um comentário

Brendan Shanahan announced the start of the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season with an special exhibition at NHL Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. This made me think in writing about how I became part of the Leafs Nation, mainly because I’m not even born in North America or Europe, the biggest markets for ice hockey, I was born in Brazil, a country with no knowledge or culture of hockey.

This is my history and it is also part of the 100 years history of this franchise as it is not only the history of the team located in the center of hockey universe, but a team that developed a Leafs Nation all around the world!

Back in January 2002, just months after the 9/11 terrorist attack took place, I worked for a consulting company in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and as I grew up playing basketball and watching Los Angeles Lakers games, Magic Johnson Era, I was excited to have my first travel to US to a one week training, when I would also go to Philips Arena and watch a Los Angeles Lakers @ Atlanta Hawks. It was just amazing! At that time, it wasn’t possible to buy tickets in internet, so just after one friend and I got to Atlanta on a Saturday, we went directly to Philips Arena and bought tickets for the game of our dreams! It would be played on Tuesday. The game was awesome! Watch players as Shaquile O’neal and Kobe Bryant on the court was great! That was an unbelievable night!

You may be asking why am I writing about basketball, but this fact will take me to the beginning of my love for Hockey.

Unfortunately we had nothing to do on Wednesday night and started to search what was available to do in Atlanta. At the same venue, Philips Arena, there would be an NHL game and all information I had ever had about hockey was that they played on ice, there were fights and it was an sport Canada loves. I didn’t even know the teams or the rules. At the end we bought tickets to Toronto Maple Leafs @ Atlanta Thrashers on January 30th, 2002. At least I was expecting a good game since a team from Toronto should be a good team, based in my sparce hockey knowledge.

We went to Philips Arena and although the seats were far from ice (we bought cheap tickets as we were not hockey fans at that time), but the experience was amazing for me! I saw a team on the ice with players I have never heard of as Mats Sundin, Curtis Joseph, Alexander Mogilny, Tie Domi, Gary Roberts, Brian McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Mikael Renberg, Jonas Hoglund and Tomas Kaberle. Hockey fans were also amazing, passionate and I just became one of them right in my first game! There was a lot of energy in the air! It was an awesome feeling! The score was a shutout by 6 goals for the Leafs. I was so amazed that I started to look for more information about the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Internet e it was when I got to the NHL website and the mapleleafs.com. It was love at first sight and I became a Maple Leafs fan.

I returned to Brazil and unfortunately there were no NHL game broadcasts here on that time, so the only way to follow the team was through the Internet. I was always looking for the Leafs’ game scores and I just consumed all NHL content I could. After some years, I guess in 2005, there were some NHL games broadcasted by ESPN, but they were not live and usually only were transmitted at 02:00am. It was almost no TV coverage.

There was the lockout in 2004/05 and it was very said to have the season totally cancelled and no hockey at all, even through websites. After that, the Leafs started a period where the team did not even classified for the playoffs, but at least the team had Mats Sundin, my Leafs legend of all time, playing for the team, and his 500th goal, in overtime while short-handed, completing a hat-trick, was awesome! It just shows the kind of captain he was to the Leafs and the rock solid effort he had in every game he played! I will still have a Leafs jersey autographed by him! I know the list of Leafs Legends are endless, but as I’m a Leafs fan for the last 14 years, he was the only I was fortunate to watch playing! Obviously Johnny Bower, Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler, Doug Gilmour and Curtis Joseph were stellar players and I’m proud for everything they did for the Leafs’ history.

I was fortunate to go to Toronto on vacation (October 2008) and watch a Senators @ Leafs game, the famous Battle of Ontario. From the begging it was just amazing to be at Air Canada Centre and feel how it is to be in a place where everybody knows the game you love and shares the same love for the team! Even before the game, I was coming from the Union Station and getting to the Air Canada Centre and I saw a place to buy the game program (a Leafs Magazine). It was being offered by CAD 5.00 and for my luck, when you bought one you would win an autograph from Darryl Sittler! Yes!! He was just there! Obviously I got it and also took a picture! That was unbelievable! For me, a fan from Brazil, to have the opportunity to get an autograph from a Leafs legend, it was a dream come true! It was the first time I felt I was part of the Leafs Nation!

In the beginning of 2009, I knew various blogs in Brazil focused on NHL hockey teams and there was even an online magazine for all information about hockey (www.theslot.com.br). They were all created by fans that got to know the NHL by very different ways, from NHL video games to vacations in North America. The guys were very well informed and followed their teams with passion. They were sharing their passion for the sport, news about the legends of the game and explaining the rules.

There was not a blog for the Maple Leafs, so I decided to start one, to provide all information I could about the Leafs. In February 2009 it was created the MapleLeafsBrasil.com, a blog to the Portuguese speaking fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. And counting back, it is seven years covering every Leafs game, player negotiation, draft, history, change in the management, change in the coach and its staff. During these seven years of the blog I also used Twitter (@mapleleafsbr), that allowed me to get in contact with very special Leafs fans all around the World and understand that I was part of a Leafs Nation that truly has fans from Brazil, Croatia, Great Britain, Germany and so on!

Here in Brazil, I’m always trying to get my friends and colleagues to watch games on TV! My wife became a NHL fan, but cheering for the Blackhawks (I can say she is 99.9% perfect! Hehehehehehe). I’m always trying to explain NHL rules, the NHL teams and Leafs history to my friends, but at the end, I feel that I’m an apple in a basket of bananas! This is the soccer country and I’m a NHL fan, owner of a Leafs blog!

I thank God everyday I was fortunate to go to Toronto and New York and I have been able to buy tickets and watch the game and the team I love! I even have a canvas of James Reimer I got during one of my vacations in Toronto. He was just outside the Hockey Hall of Fame store, signing the canvas and I could not let this opportunity pass away! Reimer was very kind and to have a picture of a guy I just have seen on TV playing for the Leafs was a gift I was not even hoping for! I was able to visit the Legends Row and it was also amazing! Of course I took a picture besides Sundin’s statue!! Hehehehe

Nowadays, ESPN has the rights to broadcast live NHL games to Brazil and I also sign the NHL Centre Ice, so I can watch every Leafs game in the season! It would be awesome to have the opportunity to sign Leafs TV, as I would love to watch it’s contents, but it is not possible, not even through the Internet.

This is my history. A history of how a Brazilian guy became a Leafs fan! A history that is a little part of the 100 years history of this team! A history to be shared!

Mark Hunt é designado como Assistant General Manager

segunda-feira, 05 setembro 2016 Deixe um comentário

Os Leafs promoveram Mark Hunt, o guru dos Leafs para escolha e desenvolvimento de jogadores, para Gerente Geral Assistente, Assistant General Manager. 

Isso apenas demonstra o valor que Hunt tem e o reconhecimento dos Leafs pelo ótimo trabalho que vem realizando! 

Parabéns Mark Hunt! 

Brandon Prust é convidado pelos Leafs pra o training camp

quarta-feira, 24 agosto 2016 Deixe um comentário

Brandon Prust, um jogador bastante físico e com 10 anos de experiência na NHL, jogando pelos Rangers, Canadiens e Canucks, foi chamado pelos Leafs para mostrar seu valor e conseguir um contrato com o clube dependendo de sua performance no training camp a ser realizado em Setembro.

Prust pode trazer um pouco mais de truculência a uma equipe ainda muito jovem, mas isso também vai depender de alguma possível troca que os Leafs possam desenhar, afinal a equipe está com uma lista de jogadores muito grande disputando as posições no ataque e, talvez, seja hora de Joffrey Lupul ser trocado, quem sabe.

Vamos aguardar para ver.

Minha opinião é que Prust é um bom jogador para a terceira ou quarta linha dos Leafs.

Go Leafs Go e boa sorte Brandon!!! 

Leafs contratam Jhonas Enroth por um ano

quarta-feira, 24 agosto 2016 Deixe um comentário

O Toronto Maple Leafs anunciou a contratação do goleiro Jhonas Enroth por um ano, num contrato de 750 mil dólares.

Dessa forma os Leafs passam a ter uma dupla de goleiros (Dinamarca e Suécia) para sua equipe nessa temporada. A dupla será Frederik Andersen e Jhonas Enroth. 

Isso deixa Garret Sparks e Antoine Bibeau aguardando oportunidade nos Leafs enquanto acumulam mais experiência na AHL, provavelmente. Mas ainda temos Kasimir Kaskisuo … 

Será que veremos um desses goleiros mais jovens sendo negociados junto com alguns outros jogadores antes de a temporada iniciar? 

Go Leafs Gooo

Martin Marincin assina por mais 2 anos com os Leafs

segunda-feira, 01 agosto 2016 Deixe um comentário

Martin Marincin, o defensor de 24 anos, que veio aos Leafs vindo do Edmonton Oilers, era o último Restricted Free Agent – RFA dos Leafs e tinha achado a primeira proposta dos Leafs abaixo do que julgava justo, o que levaria o time e o jogador para um tribunal de arbitragem, para a definição do salário que Marincin merecia, ou não. Essa decisão seria tomada na próxima quinta-feira, mas não será mais necessária, pois os Leafs e Marincin chegaram a um acordo por si só. 

Marincin assinou por mais 2 anos com os Leafs por um total de 2,5 milhões de dólares, sendo 1,2 no primeiro ano e 1,3 no segundo. 

A defesa dos Leafs ficou um pouco congestionada de jogadores, mas vamos ver o que acontece até o início da temporada. Ainda podemos ter alguma troca utilizando esses jogadores. 

Go Leafs Gooooo

Contratações recentes: Connor Carrick, Peter Holland e Frank Corrado

quarta-feira, 27 julho 2016 Deixe um comentário

Os Leafs anunciaram nos últimos dias que fecharam novos contratos com Connor Carrick, Peter Holland e Frank Corrado.

Connor Carrick fechou contrato por dois anos com os Leafs, enquanto Peter Holland e Frank Corrado, que estavam para ir para o processo de arbitragem, quando um juiz independente analisa a questão salarial e define o valor a ser pago ao jogador, pois o clube e o jogador não chegaram a um acordo, fecharam por um ano.

Não sei se Holland e Corrado serão mantidos nos Leafs ou se veremos mais negociações num futuro próximo, afinal, os Leafs podem usá-los para conseguir outros jogadores que possam contribuir mais para a equipe.

Vamos aguardar!

Go Leafs Goooooo

Centenário dos Leafs começa com remoção dos Banners antigos

sexta-feira, 22 julho 2016 Deixe um comentário

O Toronto Maple Leafs começou a utilizar banners para homenagear jogadores que se tornaram lenda jogando pela equipe, em 1993. No total são 18 banners com nomes como Ace Bailey e Bill Barilko ( dois jogadores que morreram em acidentes enquanto jogando nos Leafs), Syl Apps, Tim Horton, Doug Gilmour, Johnny Bower, Borje Salming, Ted Kennedy, Darryl Sittler, Wendel Clark e Mats Sundin, o banner mais recente. 

Ontem todos os 18 banners foram baixados para serem enviados às cidades natal de cada um dos jogadores nela homenageados! Os Leafs vão subir novos banners no Air Canada Centre como parte das comemorações do centenário da equipe. 

Wendel Clark estava presente ontem e citou que ver seu banner sendo retirado não teve a mesma emoção de quando ele foi homenageado em 2008, mas que sua cidade natal vai ficar muito feliz em receber esse presente do Toronto Maple Leafs e que a comunidade toda se reúne no rink de hóquei e curling no inverno! 

Que comecem as celebrações do centenário dos Leafs!!! 

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