Maple Leafs practice at Trinity Bellwoods Park
The Toronto Maple Leafs held their annual outdoor practice this morning, this time in my neighbourhood at Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Rona Canada put $125,000 into refurbishing the park's rink, including installing new boards, and clubhouse renovations. Hopefully the washroom won't be as disgusting as it's been in the past when I start playing softball again there (on the diamond that was used as a parking lot for cars of fans who came to see the practice) in the spring.
There was a healthy-sized crowd in attendance, and it looked like a lot of young kids took the morning off from school to attend.
The Leafs were on the ice for less than 45 minutes in a practice that consisted of light skating, a shootout drill and a three-on-three scrimmage with no hitting. I hope this was just for the benefit of the children watching, because if the team normally doesn't practice any harder than this for coach Ron Wilson, it's no surprise that it's so bad. Well, that and the distinct lack of quality talent that Brian Burke has assembled.
I went to Tim Horton's beforehand to get a coffee to keep me warm while I was watching the practice. Luckily for the Leafs, Tim's doesn't sell waffles.
The city councillor for my ward, Mike Layton, was on hand and spoke over the public address system. His voice sounds a lot like that of his father, federal NDP leader Jack Layton.
Rob Ford also attended and addressed the crowd. Considering how little electoral support he received in this ward — which has long been Joe Pantalone's turf — I was surprised that I seemed to be the only person booing our 300-and-some-pound mayor.
I was given a Leafs toque, which I can now accessorize with the Leafs scarf I've had for years. I don't lose toques as often as the Leafs lose games, but I misplace them often enough that it will come in handy.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone who reads this.