On a drizzly Saturday afternoon last week, in the centre of the hockey universe, the latest bronze statues of Leafs past were unveiled. Legends Row welcomed two new members, as the likenesses of Borje Salming and Mats Sundin joined those of Johnny Bower, Ted Kennedy, and Darryl Sittler. In my humble opinion there are others who should have been cast in bronze before them.
Windsor - September 19, 2015 - On a drizzly Saturday afternoon last week, in the centre of the hockey universe, the latest bronze statues of Leafs past were unveiled. Legends Row welcomed two new members, as the likenesses of Borje Salming and Mats Sundin joined those of Johnny Bower, Ted Kennedy, and Darryl Sittler.
While I don’t want to rain on the two Swedes’ parade (Mother Nature did that), the latest additions have left me scratching my follicly challenged head. Do Salming and Sundin deserve the honour? Absolutely they do. I loved watching watching them play. They both made great contributions to the Leafs during their careers, and I sincerely congratulate them. But in my humble opinion there are others who should have been cast in bronze before them.
When I heard the news, my first thought was “that’s great, but what about Dave Keon and Tim Horton?” These guys deserve the honour before Sundin and Salming. Keon and Horton have been Stanley Cup champions four times each. They blazed the trail that Sundin and Salming followed, and I’ll say this again - they are both very deserving of the honour. Just not before 14 and 7. And before all of you number crunchers out there get your knickers in a knot, I’ll concede
the points argument.
Keon, the popular captain of the Buds, won the Calder, Lady Byng and Conn Smythe trophies,
and was named to the NHL All-Star team ten times during his career. If you’re a Leafs fan you
are well aware of the bitter relationship between Keon and management after his playing days,
and one has to wonder if that had something to do with it. The fences have been mended
somewhat, and you have to give props to both sides for that. As for Horton, who knows? He
was one of league’s most punishing defensemen and a six time NHL All-Star. It just seems a
little strange that MLSE wouldn’t honour two of the most beloved players to ever wear the blue
and white. And it appears there are no plans to do it any time soon. The next two players to be
honoured are George Armstrong and Syl Apps, who will have their statues unveiled in
November during the Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction weekend. Relax, I agree with those
choices. I just hope Keon and Horton get their due.
MLSE started Legends row to honour their past. With Salming and Sundin, they just didn’t go
back far enough.