John Ferguson is entering his fourth season as general manager of the Maple Leafs. Ferguson became the 12th person in team history to hold the role when he was introduced August 29, 2003.
I can’t say that I’m surprised there has been so much interest in Saturday’s reunion of the 1967 Stanley Cup-winning Leafs.
There has been tremendous interest and I think rightly so.
We’re very excited about the chance to honour and celebrate that team. I also think we can learn a lot from them.
They’re the last Toronto team to win the Stanley Cup. They did it through tremendous teamwork and they won it here, in front of their home fans.
I want our players to watch these men. I want them to take note of the way they comport themselves, the class and the confidence they show.
That team won even though they knew there would be tremendous turnover that summer. They were all able to put aside any anxieties they may have had about the future.
That Leafs team had great leadership. Many have said that Cup wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership they got from their captain, George Armstrong. You don’t win the Stanley Cup without great leadership, all the way through your lineup. Championship teams often thrive on younger players who prove themselves to be great leaders.
The same thing can be said for goaltending. I don’t think any team should apologize for having great goaltending, it’s part of the game, and those Leafs teams had great goaltending in Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk.
That’s why I think Saturday should be a great night, a chance to say welcome, a chance to say thanks, a chance to learn from the very best.