Leafs fan Walter Gretzky shows support with tattoo

JOE WARMINGTON -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

We'll just call this our own version of the Lucky Loonie.

Team Canada had its Canadian dollar coin hidden under the ice at Salt Lake City and we had fans getting temporary Maple Leaf tattoos to try to shake things up.

Hey whatever works!

When you had the 1993 Maple Leafs and a Gretzky in the house you knew it was going to be a special night. It may have been both to finally get the Leafs out of their slump.

And, yes, that was honking you heard on Bay St. last night. Leaf fans don't need much of a reason to party and ending a seven game losing streak is as good a reason as any.

Some were practising for the Stanley Cup parade.

Whatever it was, it was nice to hear organist Jimmy Holmstrom and colleagues Kevin Bazak and Nancy Gilks in the booth play the Heave Away song by the Fables, which comes after every Leafs win.

It seems they hadn't played it in months. They hadn't. But even when the team was down 3-1 there was a buzz in there last night that gave the feeling it was going to be their game. It could have been the ghost of the 1993 Maple Leafs in Suite 227 that helped turn it around.

DOUBTERS

Heck, in the second period I was thinking owner Larry Tanenbaum was going to get Pat Burns and the boys to lace 'em up one more time and try to get back in the win column. For a while there were doubters in this building about the current team.

Turns out the 1993 greats' presence was enough to inspire the 2006 version. But lets not forget the Gretzky contribution. Walter Gretzky did his part. Sorry, Wayne, your dad wouldn't even do this for the Phoenix Coyotes. Of course not. He's a Leafs fan. And during a miserable losing streak Leafs fans do what they have to do.

"Mr. Gretzky," says Hangar game-day staffer Melissa Miceli. "I think you should have a Maple Leaf tattoo."

Hungry to witness a win, Walter was all for it. Anything to change the fortunes.

Consider this something like his son's lucky loonie under the ice at the Olympics. It worked there, so maybe Mr.Gretzky better keep getting Maple Leaf tattoos here.

Miceli and her pal Marta Tsap were doing whatever they could to give their team some much-needed luck. A little Gretzky magic seemed like a good idea -- although it may have been difficult to equate Gretzky and luck to those '93 Leafs who remember all too well how No. 99 killed those Stanley Cup dreams then.

It was nice to have a Gretzky on our side for a change. He certainly didn't mind getting a tattoo. "I knew they were going to win tonight," Walter said. "I was very confident."

"I never had any doubt either," said Neil McMahon, who in the top row Purples kept cheering even when they were down 3-1.

Nearby brothers Bernie and Kevin McNamee said they always knew it would get turned around. "I don't think they are as bad as people think," Bernie said.

"It was just slump," Kevin adds.

Fans Dino McGovern and Patrick Hill said that no matter what happens, they won't stop dreaming about one day seeing the Blue and White carrying around that Stanley Cup.

There's nowhere to go but up. Or are we loonie -- kind of a rhetorical question for us Leaf fans


Photos