February 4, 2009
A Killer of a ceremony
By JODY VANCE, SUN MEDIA
There is no place like home for Doug Gilmour.
Getting a big smooch compliments of his biggest fan, Don Cherry, was just one of many fun moments Saturday night at the ACC as the Leafs honoured their former captain by raising No. 93 to the rafters.
A man known for doing the impossible in the NHL on behalf of the Buds, he managed one more incredible feat pre-game by getting Leafs Nation in their seats early.
The stands are usually never full when the opening faceoff drops for a Toronto home game; however, the place was packed for Dougie. A well-deserved gesture, given all that the beloved past captain has given to this team.
There were cheers and tears as Gilmour's No. 93 made it's way to its spot amid fine company high above the ice --- but one couldn't help but feel like it was just yesterday that Killer had fans on their feet as he flew end to end and skated circles around the competition. At 45, standing in his gangster-esque pinstriped suit, he looks fit enough to still play, mind you his knees might disagree.
Gilmour drinks it in with such appreciation; he so obviously takes nothing for granted.
Very much a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" kind of guy Gilmour said he was "shocked" to learn that his name would hang in the rafters with other Leaf greats and shared how "the last couple of nights it's been tough to sleep."
The banners at the ACC are not retired numbers.
Just to be clear, the team has only officially retired Bill Barilko's No. 5 and Ace Bailey's No. 6. Still, there is great honour in this group of greats and it puts on notice anyone even considering 93 for his jersey that he might keep in mind what that would mean in terms of skates to fill.
-- Jody Vance is a sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.