What a way to say goodbye

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:27 AM ET

So much has happened since, but I simply must reflect on the single most intense Saturday night spent at the rink in seven years of living here in Toronto.

Working at the rink, day in and day out, you get to know the characters behind the scenes pretty well, good folks like Vic the security guy who stands guard in front of the Leafs dressing room.

Vic is always there with a big smile and hello for me every game day, and this day was no different, except, he added, "Well, Jody ... is this it till next fall or will I see you next Monday?"

Call it the ripple effect of being a part of the NHL culture. It is akin to having a seasonal family.

One can only imagine how the players must feel on this day.

When any season wraps up, as it has in Toronto, do they give thought to how this group likely will not gather in its current form next fall?

Sitting in the Platinum Lounge, watching the Masters and enjoying their pre-game meal, there was no sign that any of the Leafs expected this to be their "last supper."

As is fast becoming his trademark in T.O., the coach was the coolest customer.

When the final horn sounded that Saturday night, the coach said something that will ring in my ears, "We have this, we have tonight, no matter what happens in New Jersey tomorrow we will have this. When the Leafs and Habs met in game 82 -- the Leafs came back to win."

While the majority of the hockey media is focused on who will be fired for this team missing the playoffs, all I can think of is how spectacular this weekend was for the hockey fan in me, no matter how disappointing for Leaf Nation that it ended in a shootout between the Islanders and the Devils.

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Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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