September 10, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 7  

Front Page >> Sports > Dougie Gilmour retires as a Leaf

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SPORTS

Dougie Gilmour retires as a Leaf

Under review
Ian Denomme
Sports Editor

After 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, Doug Gilmour announced his retirement on Monday.

With the announcement came the end to an incredible career which started by being drafted in the seventh round of the NHL Draft in 1982.
After five years in St. Louis and a stint in Calgary where he won the Stanley Cup, Gilmour was then dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 10-player blockbuster deal. I still remember that night.

It was Jan. 2, 1992 and I was eight years old. Everybody knew the trade was a big deal but nobody knew how big it would turn out to be and how it would change the entire franchise.

During his time in Toronto Gilmour rewrote the Maple Leafs record book and guided the team, almost single-handedly, closer to the Stanley Cup than they had been in 37 years.

Gilmour's style of play made him an instant fan favourite. He combined scoring touch with an unparalleled commitment to defense, along with his feistiness and heart. He always played bigger than the 5'11", 175 lb. he was generously listed.

Turning an otherwise dismal team into a Stanley Cup contender almost overnight made him even more appealing to fans and media.
I share the same birthday as him, exactly 20 years apart, which made him even more of a hero to me. When I was 11-years old, I wrote Gilmour a letter inviting him to my birthday party.

He didn't show up.

However, I did get a letter back and an autographed picture. Few things in my life thus far compare to the excitement I felt when I got a letter in the mail in a Toronto Maple Leafs envelope.

Gilmour was so loved by Toronto fans that after he was traded in 1997 he was still adored. Even when playing for hated rivals the Montreal Canadians, Gilmour was loved in Toronto.

Although he was able to finish his career as a Maple Leaf it didn't end the way he wanted.

Hoping to be an integral part of a long Leafs Cup run, Gilmour's latest stay in Toronto ended after just under five minutes. In his first game back with the blue and white, Gilmour collided with Calgary's Dave Lowry.

The innocent looking collision ultimately ended his career. Instead of seeing Gilmour hoisting the Cup, our last images of him as a player are him crawling off the ice.

Gilmour's next stop will no doubt be the Hockey Hall of Fame. Over his 20 years, he averaged nearly a point a game. Gilmour finishes his career with 450 goals, 964 assists for 1,414 points in 1,474 games.

Gilmour was the saviour the team needed and he came along at the perfect time. After a decade of embarrassing seasons throughout the `80s, the Leafs needed the shot in the arm he gave them.

Were it not for some guy named Wayne Gretzky, the Leafs would've beat the Los Angeles King's in the 1993 Conference Final and gone on to win the Cup.

 

 

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