Toronto fans make it a special night for Gilmour

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:16 PM ET

Doug Gilmour saw his No. 93 banner raised to the Air Canada Centre rafters on Saturday night. The former Leafs captain appeared to be choked up even before he addressed the crowd:

"There is a photo that ran in The Toronto Sun back in 1994 of me as a kid wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey.

I just want to go on record as saying I had nothing to do with the selection of my wardrobe at the time.

Why was I wearing a Habs jersey?

You'll have to ask my mom and dad. They are responsible.

I was 2 at the time.

Why bring this up now?

Because you never know when a Canadiens fan -- or my buddy from Kingston, Kirk Muller, the Habs assistant coach -- will pull out that photo and say: "How can you be honoured by the Leafs when we saw you decked out in a Montreal sweater?"

Hey, I played briefly with the Canadiens, too, remember? But I don't think anyone will ever mistake that with the stint I had with the Leafs.

And to be honoured by the Toronto organization the way that I was last night, was, well, overwhelming.

Especially the way you, the fans, treated me.

It was so special.

And to have my parents there with me to share that moment, to hear the cheers, to see my banner go up, was amazing.

Without them, I would never have been able to live my dream and get to this place.

You can't describe the feeling when you see that banner go up. And to have it dangling between those of the great Johnny Bower and Bill Barilko, it is very humbling.

It also makes me feel old.

Having my kids there, along with the rest of my family, was great. But the icing on the cake was the fact that my other family -- my players on the Kingston Frontenacs, the Ontario Hockey League team that I coach -- were in the building to see it.

The tickets were purchased by Mike Zigomanis, the former Frontenac who now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did it to show his appreciation to the Frontenacs. It was a great gesture.

It was really cool seeing all the Leafs wearing No. 93 Doug Gilmour jerseys for the ceremony. Especially Curtis Joseph.

Yes, Cujo was the goalie for the St. Louis Blues when I scored the double overtime wraparound goal in the opening game of our second round playoff series in 1993 at Maple Leaf Gardens. I noticed his comments in yesterday's Toronto Sun saying he would be OK with seeing a replay of the goal during the ceremony. He certainly got his wish.

Joking aside, at one point during the festivities, I looked over at Cujo and he just nodded at me with a smile. Our kids play on the same hockey team. He's a great guy.

But the stars of the show last night were you fans. I'm humbled at the reception you gave me. Thank you so much.

I've always told any present-day Leafs that I talk to, that you can not play for better fans than those in Toronto. They have supported this team through a lot of tough times. When this team gets really good -- and it will -- this town will go crazy, just like it did for us in 1993.

We came close to winning it all that year. So very close. You think about that sometimes. We were one game away from the final. All we could have asked for is a Game 7 on home ice against the Kings, a berth in the final against those same Canadiens being the reward. We got that.

Then some guy named Gretzky decided to have one of the best games of his career, knocking us out.

Oh well. I know the Leafs will have their day.

Just like I did last night."


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