Monday, February 7, 2011

Darryl Sittler's 10 points - 35 years ago today!


My first live professional sporting event occurred 35 years ago on February 7th, 1976. Somehow my father had secured two tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs game, where they would host the Boston Bruins. I remember excitedly looking at those tickets, which is those days colour-coded to match the seats. We had greens, midway up the upper deck near one of the blue lines (pic obviously not from that game - don't think Dad kept our tickets).


I vaguely recall entering MLG for the first time and seeing the ice, shocked at how pristine it was compared to what you saw on TV (long before HD). I remember the Leafs scoring early and often and being pretty happy, but being 9 years old at the time, I didn't really appreciate the bigger picture. After getting two assists in the first frame, Darryl Sittler added 3 goals and 2 more helpers in the second as the Leafs built an 8-4 lead. With 7 points, he was one shy of tying Rocket Richard's record of points in a game. In the third period, Sittler added another hat trick to finish with 6 goals and 10 points, still a record today. My most enduring memory is that when he scored his 5th goal and record-setting 9th point, I couldn't see the celebration with all the grown-ups standing in front of me.

In a curious aside, Sittler notes some numerical coincidences in his biography. He wore #27 and the game was on February 7th; his hat-trick goal came at 10:27 and his 9th point was at 9:27 while the game finished at 10:27 pm. With this reasoning, Phil Kessel should score 10 points on August 1st.

Here's a video summary of the game from 15 years ago which is quite interesting itself, if only to see Don Cherry before he became the media savvy celebrity he is now.

Attending that game is doubtless the highlight of my years as a Leafs' fan. I didn't get to my second game until 1981 and the Leafs lost 8-2 to Winnipeg, a team that had just ended a record 30-game winless streak. Since then, things have just gone downhill. Here's hoping that win over St. Louis is the start of a 30-year uphill run.

Best,

Sean

2 comments:

  1. You were there?? Awesome. I'm jealous.

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  2. Yep, but too young to really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete