Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin naturally garnered the most fan support Sunday during the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic.
Pavel Bure was a close second.
Everywhere you looked in the arena, and throughout downtown Toronto all weekend, Bure has been well represented by fans of all ages and races from all over the world.
To get a feel for who these fans are and what Bure meant to them, we took a few snapshots.
Occupation: Owns his own painting business
Special power: The ability to wear Vancouver’s third Duraflame log jersey with pride.
Spotted: Buying beers at the Air Canada Centre prior to puck drop of the Legends Classic game Sunday afternoon.
Back story: Originally from Nova Scotia. Was a hockey fan but didn’t have a team until his parents bought him a Pavel Bure Vancouver Canucks jersey when he was seven-years-old. Lived in Vancouver for four years a while back before moving to Ontario.
Favourite Bure memory: “That toe move on a breakaway against Boston, I swear nothing beats that. It was amazing. Just his speed was great and he’s just got everything you’d want in a player; he’s everything I wasn’t. I’m hoping to see some breakaways today, this will be the first time I ever see him play live.”
Michael Carey – “like Mariah Carey, but no absolutely no relation.”
Occupation: Personal trainer
Special power: The ability to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play 41 times a year as a season ticket holder.
Spotted: Heading into a gift shop at the Air Canada Centre before the Legends Classic game Sunday.
Back story: From Toronto, but called Vancouver home for a stretch in the early ‘90s. That’s when he attended his first hockey game, Canucks versus LA Kings on March 27, 1994; Pavel Bure recorded a hat trick in a 4-3 Canucks win, Wayne Gretzky had two assists in the loss for the Kings.
Favourite Bure memory: “That game. It was one of the most epic games I’ve ever seen and I’ve been attached to hockey ever since. Mostly I remember the battling between Bure and Gretzky, they were just going back and forth with offence at each end; it was the most amazing hockey game to see. Still to this day there’s no one with that skill set that Bure had.”
Occupation: Financial analyst
Special power: The ability to translate Буре, which is on the back of his CCCP jersey, into Bure.
Spotted: Checking out a silent auction table of NHL merchandise moments after entering the Air Canada Centre Sunday.
Back story: This Hamilton, Ontario, native remembers watching highlights of Pavel Bure’s first game with the Vancouver Canucks against the Winnipeg Jets and that was that. He’d never seen anyone skate so fast and his love of Bure took off from there.
Favourite Bure memory: “I was actually lucky enough to see Bure score his 50th and 51st goals in Hamilton, against Buffalo, which was really special. He was just a special player and I wanted to honour him with a special jersey, so I picked this one up online. It’s from his days in World Juniors when Mogilny and Fedorov were teammates of his and they won it in ’89. I love this jersey, it’s different, like he was.”