Leafs are Lloyd lads

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:15 AM ET

TORONTO - As kids, Maple Leafs forwards Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong were mindful of staying on their own side of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

Both agree that was hard to do when the line went down a main street in their hometown of Lloydminster.

“I grew up two blocks from the Saskatchewan side, but you’d go to the school on the Alberta side,” MacArthur said Monday as both forwards prepared for a welcome diversion during Toronto’s three-game Western Canada road trip. “You could live 10 feet from the border, but have to play all your sports on your side. That’s the way it worked. Some good rivalries developed.”

The oil and agriculture community has a population of about 25,000, two-thirds of that on the Alberta side.

“Saskatchewan boys such as Colby love being from there, they think it’s the best province in the world,” teased MacArthur.

“It’s definitely not. But Colby’s still a good Lloyd boy.”

Armstrong moved to Saskatoon when he was young, but has clear memories of the painted path down 50th Ave. that marked the border.

“They have these huge poles with a line down the sidewalk so you can legitimately walk on either side of the provinces,” Armstrong said. “As a kid you’d be walking half and half and thinking it was cool. After awhile it turns out it wasn’t that cool.”

The city shares a hockey team, The Border Kings, but there are some interesting times when one province adopted a smoking ban and a different version of daylight saving time.

The close proximity created some life-long friendships, no matter what the birth certificates read. Armstrong was shocked when his dad and MacArthur’s met during the Leafs’ father’s trip last month and it turned out they were senior hockey opponents in town.

“They were calling each other by their nicknmames,” Armstrong said. “My Dad was ‘Foot’, I guess his was ‘Mac’. I thought oh my God, this is ridiculous. I don’t know how you get Foot, maybe to do with the Arm in Armstrong, but it was a pretty weird connection.”

Perhaps even more strange, this is the second time Armstrong and MacArthur have been on the same NHL team. Armstrong played for the Atlanta Thrashers when MacArthur was dealt there by Buffalo last season. Armstrong signed as a free agent in Toronto on July 1, while MacArthur came almost two months later when the Thrashers walked away from an arbitration ruling.

“It’s like we’re following each other around,” Armstrong said. “But we both look forward to going back West.”


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