TORONTO - Heaven for a Maple Leaf fan can be found in Mike Wilson’s basement.
Astonished guests come upon 2,000-plus Leafs artifacts, arranged in displays that rival the Hockey Hall Of Fame. But what Wilson values the most in his career collection are the 2,000-plus tales that go with every piece, from the Bob Pulford marble he pulled out of a Post Corn Chex cereal box as a kid, to the door of the old dressing room at Maple Leaf Gardens he bought, re-mounted and covered in autographs.
Without notes to jog his memory, the 59-year-old stockbroker revs into detail about all the sweaters, photos, trophies, plaques, contracts and intimate letters. While touching Gardens gold, such as seats, turnstiles and sticks, game-worn equipment and sweaters, Wilson chatters about how each item came to be in his midtown Toronto home — his own treasures from childhood, those bought at auction, donated or in some cases stolen and surrendered years ago by those with guilty consciences.
"If there's not a good story attached, I'm not really interested," said Wilson, whose museum-bar-TV room is what the most ardent Blue and White fans must think awaits them in a Leafs afterlife.