SUN Hockey Pool

Gilmour: Union solid

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Doug Gilmour wants nothing more than to see the 2004-05 NHL season become reality but he does not think it will come at the cost of a broken players' union.

"The guys are going to stick together," the former Maple Leafs captain said yesterday at Woodbine, where he was the guest drawmaster for Saturday's Breeders Crown.

"They have been through it before and now they have a new breed in there as far as the younger guys go. They've all been educated and they are sticking together."

Gilmour maintained he has no plans to end his NHL retirement, which he formally announced 13 months ago. A recent contract offer from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL intrigued him but he turned it down.

At 41, Gilmour is happy to spend his ice time with his sons, Jake and Tyson, and their minor-hockey teams.

"I am probably the fastest guy right now with the eight-year-olds," said a smiling Gilmour, who was forced to end his career after suffering a knee injury with the Leafs in March 2003. "I'm retired and feeling good these days."

JUST A FAN

But the lockout bothers the man who helped ignite a renewed passion in Leafs fans back in the early 1990s. No longer directly involved in the process, Gilmour is not unlike any other hockey fan in that he wishes the NHL and its players' association would return to the bargaining table.

"I'm sure there is (a workable solution)," Gilmour said. "It would be nice to see both sides get together and resolve this. Being a fan, you would love to see some negotiating being done."

Ten years ago, during the lockout that concluded in January 1995, Gilmour helped stave off his boredom by playing in nine games for Rapperswil in Switzerland. Although some observers feel NHL players could have stronger solidarity if no one played during the present lockout, Gilmour understands the basic desire to put on the skates.

Many NHLers have flocked to Europe, while others have joined makeshift leagues until the lockout is finished.

"You don't want to just sit around and not play," Gilmour said. "You don't want to see anyone get hurt, either. It's a very intense game and you have to keep your skills up. That's the biggest thing.

"I would like to see something happen, whether it's a half-season or something more. I would like to see (the players) back (in the NHL)."


Videos

Photos