The Leafs. Rev. ed.

Description

299 pages
Contains Photos, Index
$24.95
ISBN 1-55263-075-7
DDC 796.962'64'09713541

Author

Publisher

Year

1999

Contributor

Reviewed by Albert Stray

Al Stray is manager of the Port Credit Public Library.

Review

This revised edition of a book first published in 1994 includes updated
color photos and three new chapters that take the reader from the end of
the 1993–94 season to the end of the 1999 Leaf playoff series against
the Buffalo Sabres.

Batten recounts familiar stories, such as how Conn Smythe acquired the
team and changed its name and colors from the Toronto St. Pats (green
and white) to the Maple Leafs (blue and white). The Ballard years are
well documented, as are the glory years under Punch Imlach, the near
misses (including the 1994 playoff series against Los Angeles), the
trades, and the personalities that dominated Maple Leaf Gardens until
its demise as an NHL rink on February 13, 1999.

“Retooling,” the first of the new chapters, documents the changes
in Leaf personnel after the 1994 season with brief profiles of the new
management (Ken Dryden, Mike Smith, and Anders Hedberg) and such players
as Sergi Berezin. Batten reminds us of the people who moved on—some to
Stanley Cup victory (Bob Rouse and Jamie Macoun), others to Stanley Cup
aspirations (Doug Gilmour). He also talks about the change in game
philosophy epitomized by Finn Alpo Suhonen.

The final chapter in the original edition, “Future Business,” is
expanded on in “Steve Takes Charge,” which includes more information
about Steve Stavros’s acquisition of the controlling interest in the
Gardens and the Leafs, and about the new company Maple Leaf Sport &
Entertainment Ltd. (which would include the Air Canada Centre and the
Toronto Raptors). The third new chapter, “The Playoffs,” brings the
1999 Leafs playoffs back to life with a play-by-play account of the
highlights from many of the games; Batten ends the chapter with the
Leafs fan lament, “There is always next year!” His book includes
detailed table of contents and a comprehensive index.

Citation

Batten, Jack., “The Leafs. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8267.