Protest or not to protest

As many of you out there who know me, know Im a big Leafs fan. I’ve talked about them ad nauesem with everyone over the last little while, especially since the beginning of the season.

Let me give you a bit of history. I was once a Habs fan!

*Collective gasp*

Yes indeed. In my younger years I was what you called a Habs fan. My dad grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens on CBC week after week playing against his HATED Maple Leafs. Yvon Cornoyer, Serge Savard and other Habs were heroes in our house. My dad grew up on Rocket Richard and other all time greats and his enthusiasm was infectious to say the least.

My favourite Hab at that time was Guy Lafleur. Number 10 could do no wrong. He bolted up the ice on the right wing so fast, the defensemen didn’t see him coming. Goal after goal I was impressed by both him and other players like Larry Robinson and Steve Shutt.

I don’t really know when it happened or what game it was on Hockey Night in Canada but they were playing the Leafs and I happened to notice this amazing goaltender by the name of Mike Palmateer.


Now, at that age having someone famous named “MIKE” was pretty darned cool, so I watched the game intensely. Save after save he made had me open my eyes. Ian Turnball and another all time Leaf fave of mine Daryl Sittler caught my eye and before I knew it…I was a LEAFS FAN!

To my fathers dismay I made immediate demands for a Leafs jersey with the number “29” for my Christmas present, and with the help of my aunt who worked at Maple Leaf Gardens (God I miss that place) Santa had one under the Christmas tree that year. I was a convert.

Now with my criticism of the team in the last few years, and my growing admiration of the Vancouver Canucks (my west coast fix for hockey) I’ve been asked, am I going to convert from a Leafs fan to someone else.

Let me tell you I would have to put aside a fair amount of money for therapy if I was going to do that. Good or bad, I cheer them on. Sometimes quite loudly as my screams of horror and dismay were heard throughout the house with the game against Atlanta earlier this week. Pat had to call down at times to tell me to keep it down as I grumbled and groaned at each missed play and even worse when I saw Pavel Kubina jump out of position YET AGAIN which leads to the oppositions goal scoring totals.

It’s not as bad as that … yet.

I feel that given the Leafs ownership situation and their apparent inability to do ANYTHING about the current state of the team, I need to do something. Goal tending isnt really an issue here. Toskola is a good goaltender and so is Raycroft. Im one of the few fans out here that think Andrew Raycroft should be given more of a chance than he has. Instead the braintrust at the Leafs Nation HQ decide by coin toss it seems, who is to go in net on a nightly basis. No chance of building momentum is there. Bryan McCabe isnt the problem either. Sure hes overpaid. $7 million plus a year? Who’s to blame for that? Surely McCabe isnt. Oh ya, like anyone out there would turn down that salary.

“No really John Ferguson Jr….I’m not worth that. Please pay me $2 million.” You would accept it and you know it.

Defense is the problem. Its inconsistent and at times, non existent. Players are out of position, they seem tired and run down and God forbid they have a lead going into the 3rd period as the gas tank seems to be on “E” at the start of the 3rd.

So what does a fan do?

I don’t buy tickets to games…that’s a fact. I cant afford to take a mortgage payment to take the family to the ACC for overpriced beer and bad seats to cheer them on. The odd time I buy some merchandise for Anthony or get it as a gift. So I cant really hurt them in the pocket book now can I?

I could call all the radio call in shows and complain but when the topic of discussion is the Leafs the lines are full and everyone squaks ab0ut them anyways…so I cant help out there.

I can do something though. I can say, enough is enough. Why should I as a Leafs fan put myself through 60 minutes of hockey that only ends up in heartbreak at the end of the night. Why should I take the time out of my night, sit back and watch Kubina run around the ice like a moron, get out of position and give the other team a chance for a goal?

So I think I’ve decided to stop watching the games until they give me a reason to watch them. I picked a hard night to do it, what with the Leafs playing Pittsburgh and who doesnt want an opportunity to see the best player in the NHL in Sidney Crosby play.

I had thought about it long and hard after the last Atlanta game that saw the Leafs fall in a shoot out loss. They did, to their credit, keep the game close. But in order for them to be a playoff contender, they need to win those games. Ottawa has a tendency to either kill their opponents or at the last second pull out a victory and get TWO points instead of settling for ONE point with a tie or an overtime loss.

Last year the Leafs missed the playoffs by one point. That one point could have been earned on a number of occasions in games that they were supposed to win or should have won.

They seem to be falling into the same trap this year with their record so far.

So, I dont know if I will be able to hold off tonight and NOT tune in. We’ll have to see. It’s hard to go cold turkey, but I’ll give it a try.

Im NOT resigning my Leafs fan membership just yet. It would take a bit more of this to get me to think about that. Until then, I just plan on watching hockey, with my focus going to the Vancouver Canucks. We’ll see about that team. SOMETHINGS gotta give here.

Go Canucks GO!

Well, its over. The Leafs won a must win game on Saturday night against the Canadiens in what can only be described as GAME 7 in the Stanley Cup final. Emotional roller coaster to say the least.

That leaves the other team Vancouver Canucks to help keep me rivited for the duration of the playoffs. With an amazing goaltender in Luongo and a motivated group of guys like Naslund, Sedin twins and more, it looks like it will be a good run.

Look out for Pittsburgh though as the “karma” seems to be with them after getting Gary Roberts (who the Leafs COULDVE had, but Im not bitter) and Larouque coupled with Mark Recchi to help protect Sid the Kid and Stall… they might actually make it far this year.


Mrs Lesley Sheldrick Teacher of the Month

First off I got a couple of emails from some rabid Flyers fans for the post yesterday. It looks like the team DIDNT lay down, and caused a few more grey hairs to pop out of my head last night. At least the Leafs won and two more wins to go. Lets cross our fingers against the Islanders.

I wanted to publicly acknowledge Mrs Sheldrick, who is Anthony’s grade one teacher, who was given the title of Teacher of the Month by the Champion. I can speak from experience over the last two years (she taught his SK class as well the previous year) that she is an exceptional teacher. She had made an impact on Anthonys life and he loves being in her class.

One of the main things that stands out about her is when you see her in the class with the students, she treats them as “real people” and talks to them instead of talking down to them. Ive seen teachers in the past who treat the children as if they are just kids, but Lesley talks to them like equals, and pushes them to want to do better with their school work and be better people.

Congratulations on being Teacher of the Month. As many parents have said, we only wish there were more of you to go around.

Here’s the story from the Champion.

Teacher of the Month: Learning a two-way street, says Sheldrick
Hawthorne Village teacher beloved by young pupils

Grade 1 teacher Lesley Sheldrick will be the first one to tell you she learns just as much from her students as they learn from her.

“One of the key lessons I’ve learned is to be willing to try new things and that it (sometimes) takes a long time to reach our goals and that’s okay,” said the Hawthorne Village Public School teacher.

Her enthusiasm for her job is infectious, and she obviously takes it very seriously.

“I hope I raise them like their moms and dads would — to be great people,” she said.

Sheldrick was chosen the Champion’s Teacher of the Month for April after receiving an impressive nomination package from parent Kim Anderson, whose son Joshua is in Sheldrick’s class.

Along with Anderson’s complimentary letter was another letter from an appreciative parent, plus 14 letters and pictures from adoring students.

Anderson didn’t mince words in expressing her admiration for Sheldrick.


“Very few times in one’s life does a special person come in and touch the lives of so many people in so many important ways. Mrs. Sheldrick is one of those special people,” she wrote in her nomination letter. “The children are truly blessed to have such a caring, kind, thoughtful teacher who goes way above and beyond her job description.”

Joshua wrote that he likes his teacher because of the “really fun stuff” she does.

“She is very kind and caring and we all love her,” he wrote.

Fellow student Mackenzie Woods had this to say about Sheldrick: “(She) is the best teacher because when my baby sister was born she made sure I knew that I was special too.”

Keagan Flower said Sheldrick smiles a lot and reads them lots of books “so we can be smart.”

Anderson added that the teacher can often be heard saying the children she teaches are her life.

Sheldrick confirmed that to be the case, explaining she doesn’t yet have children of her own. Although she recently moved to Burlington, it wasn’t unusual when she was living in Milton to drop by unannounced at a student’s birthday party or sporting event; students at that age get excited at seeing their teacher outside of school, she said.

This year has been a great one for the class, because it’s the second year she’s taught them, moving with them from kindergarten to grade 1.

At a time when students are often rather nervous about starting all day, every day school, Sheldrick’s presence comforted them and gave them a sense of consistency, she said.

“Grade 1 can be pretty scary. They were already comfortable (with me), so it helped ease the transition,” she said.

Being with the students for two years also allowed her to form solid relationships with students’ parents, which is extremely important, she added.

Before her days at Hawthorne Village, Sheldrick taught kindergarten in Oakville for five years.

She obviously has a special love for younger children.

“There’s something magical about them,” she said of grade 1 kids, who are six and seven years old.

Teaching them so early in life is a special privilege because it sets the tone for the future, Sheldrick said, explaining if they come to love learning in grade 1, that’ll likely carry on as they head into the higher grades.

Some people mistakenly think grade 1 teachers are little more than glorified babysitters, but Sheldrick said that’s not the case. Her students learn everything from reading and writing to math and science.

“There’s a lot of content,” she said.

Despite the occasional misconception, at the end of the day Sheldrick said she knows she’s doing what she was meant to do.

“When they look into my eyes and say they get it, it’s the best feeling in the world… I just love my job.”

Stephanie Thiessen can be reached at

My Open Letter to the Flyers

Dear Flyers,

Tonight is a big night for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We need all three wins to ensure our spot in the playoffs and it begins with you….the Flyers.

You have had a very bad season this year and as a hockey fan I can empathize and completely understand how frustrating its been for you. Not many home wins, coupled with a pretty dreary season can get anyone down. Your playoff hopes have been squashed a long time ago, but you’ve made the best of what you can this season. You have gone out at got a pretty good goalie, building on the hopes for the future of the Flyers.

With 3 games left in the season and all the hard work you’ve put into it up to this point, I think you deserve a night off. Its time to think of others now and you can show your humane side with tonight’s game.

The Leafs need your help. There are two much bigger games coming up this week and it would be a waste to put so much effort into defeating you while not leaving much more in the tank for the next games.

Let the Leafs beat you tonight…they’ll be good. They wont do a 7 -1 or 10 – 1 score on you but a good showing will prove fruitful for the boys in blue.

Next year we promise to cheer for the Flyers as much as we can to help you win more games. The Leaf fans need the playoffs. We need to be able to yell GO LEAFS GO proudly from our cars after every win. Its something that Leaf fans cannot live without.

We ask you, as hockey fans and players, do you want to deny us that?

Please, let us win tonight and give Leafs fans a reason to live.

Go Leafs GO!