Bower sees hope for Leafs

IAN ROBERTSON , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

As the sun set slowly on the Leafs’ last season game Saturday, fans from near and far poured into the Air Canada Centre under a bright — appropriately blue — sky.

Some flew, others drove hundreds of kilometres, a few arriving in limousines for the Leafs-Montreal Canadiens faceoff.

Legendary retired goalie John William “Johnny” Bower stepped from a long limo with friends and a bevvy of beauties in Leafs’ jerseys — his granddaughters.

Despite disappointing early season play, “you gotta think positive,” Bower said.

The 86-year-old, whose 25-year career ended in 1970 with the Leafs, happily watched recent play improve, saying, “there were some problems in the middle of the season, but they came up real strong.

“We’ve got a good hockey team, good, young players,” Bower added, centring out Leafs president-general manager Brian Burke and goalie James Reimer for praise, predicting the netminder will be “number one before this is all over.”

For his first father-and-son season-ender reunion, Leafs fan Norm Tranchemontagne spent four hours driving from Sudbury.

“This has always been a game of pride and this is the night to make us proud,” he said, adding “the second half of the season was excellent and that means good prospects for next year.”

Now living in Ottawa, son, Eric, confided his girlfriend “is a Habs fan,” but her standing with his family improved lately when “she actually agreed Toronto is her No. 2 team.”

Draped in half-Leafs, half-Habs jerseys, Sylvie Bernier, 29, and cousin Jennifer Bernier-Thibodeau, 36, came with other relatives from Hearst for “the Bernier family trip.

“I think they’re going to do pretty good,” Bernier said of her favourite team — the Habs.

ian.robertson@sunmedia.ca


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