Friday, April 16, 2010

Gary Leeman Story

I forgot about this one so I thought I'd get it down before I forgot too much. During the fan skate with the Old timers, Gary Leeman, Bob Probert and Jimmy Mann were out doing their thing with people. I noticed Leeman standing around by the boards. I skated over to him and asked if he could give my wife any tips about skating backwards. I said if it comes from him, she'll listen. Well, my wife was ready to shoot me for embarrassing her. But a former 50 goal scorer teaching you how to skate 1 on 1? I thought cool! So he gave her some tips, bend the knees, posture and "cutting half moons" in the ice. He was not sure about the pivot from front to back thought in picks, so he yells over, "Hey Proby, come here for a second please." Probert skates over and he asks him to show her how to pivot from front to back with picks, with Probert being the experienced skater from 'Battle of the Blades'. Probert picks up her skate making sure she did not fall and feels her picks. He explained how to make the transition and then told started started skating backwards and explained how to "cut c's on the ice".
I thought it was kinda cool, Leeman and Probert giving her a free skating lesson.
Probert made sure every person on the ice got something signed. I saw him look around the ice, seeing one kid he missed and zoomed over to him to sign his helmet. He then took the kid over to Gary Leeman to sign the helmet as well. Probert even told Leeman where to sign so it would look good.
I continued to skate with Leeman and just chatted. He told me about his days in AAA, then Wilcox (the beginning of the 'Hound Line'), then Regina and drafted to Toronto. He told me how he started as a defenceman then to get more playing time, was sent to minors. He asked something about Wendel Clark (Wendel played his junior in the arena) . I explained Wendel told those stories at his charity event this summer. Leeman then mentioned something about John Brophy, I laughed and it appeared that Clark respected and liked Brophy . Leeman said the same thing about him, laughing that Brophy played Leeman a lot so they got along well. The rest of the skaters left the ice so the two of us just kept skating around. He finished with a funny story of Brophy swearing at Leeman at Maple Leaf Gardens over a screwed up play with Clark. Leeman is a classy, down to earth good guy...

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