For as long as I can remember, I have been a Maple Leafs fan. As a kid growing up in Northern Ontario, it was kind of forced upon me. Every year, my parents always got two sets of tickets to Maple Leaf Gardens, one set against the glass in the gold section, and one set of center ice reds.
It was the 1992 season, and I was sitting with my dad against the glass at the Gardens during the Leafs warmup. At the time, my heroes on the team were similar to other fans, as they boasted the likes of Gilmour, Clark, and Potvin. This day was a bit different however, as a lesser known player, Mike Krushelnyski, didn't know that he would change a kids life with a small little gesture.
As the players were skating around, I was banging on the glass and yelling out all of the players names as they went by. When Mike went by, I couldn't pronounce his name, and I guess he heard because he tapped on the glass with his stick as he went by. I asked my dad how to pronounce it, and when he came by the next time, I yelled it out properly. Once again, he must have heard, because he winked at me when he skated by, went and picked up a puck, and threw it over the glass to me.
When I told my mom what had happened, she told me that I should write him a letter thanking him for what he did. Little did I know then that it was a general letter that was sent back from the Leafs, but included was a signed photo of Krushelnyski. I got the picture framed and it still sits in my room to this day with the puck that he threw me.