Former Leaf Doug Gilmour signs books at Alder

October 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Doug Gilmour, captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the mid-90’s, and one of the most popular players of his time, has stopped by in Orangeville, signing his autobiography to eager fans at the Alder Street Recreation Centre.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity took place Tuesday evening (October 24) when hockey fans lined up to get a signed copy of his memoir, and meet Gilmour in person.

The book, “Killer: My Life in Hockey,” reveals Mr. Gilmour’s exploits and escapades on and off the ice. The title comes from his nickname “Killer,” due to his physical style of play despite his small stature. Partial sales from BookLore will be donated to the Orangeville Wolves special needs hockey team.

In an interview with the Citizen, he discussed his book and his extensive career.

He says that when his dad, Don, passed away five years ago, and his mother, Dolly, who had been diagnosed with dementia, died earlier this month, he decided, “I should write something about what they’ve done for me.”

He revealed that he’d been to Orangeville a couple times as a “little getaway” when with the Maple Leafs.

When speaking of his size, he says he didn’t think he was small. “When I went out to play, I heard I was small, people would tell me that all the time,” and was driven to play his style because of that.

For 20 seasons, from 1983 to 2003, Mr. Gilmour played for seven NHL teams, during which he played 1,474 games, scoring 450 goals and getting 964 assists, for a total of 1414 points. Several of his accomplishments include winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1989, and winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward during the 1992-93 season.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Leafs have retired his number 93 uniform. Considered one of the greatest centres of all time, he established himself as one of the most beloved and respected Leafs players, and was captain from 1994 to when he was traded in 1997.

He came to the Leafs in the 1991-92 season as part of a 10-player blockbuster trade, the largest in NHL history, at a time when the Leafs were at an all-time low.

He says playing in Toronto “is like every kid’s dream…. Everybody who has that chance wears [the jersey] proud,” and is honoured to have had that chance.

The following season, the team did a complete 180, and Gilmour was certainly part of that turn-around. During that season, he broke Leafs’ franchise records for assists (95) and points (127), bringing the team all the way to the Conference Finals, the closest the team’s ever gotten to winning the Stanley Cup since 1967.

Mr. Gilmour attributes the team’s success then to both General Manager Cliff Fletcher and Coach Pat Burns, and his teammates. “Everybody accepted their role, and we just became a better team because of it.”

However, during the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the sixth game of the Conference Finals series against the Los Angeles Kings went down in controversy. Toronto led the series three games to two, needing one victory to propel them into the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the first minute of overtime, Gilmour was bleeding on his chin, after he was high-sticked by Wayne Gretzky, usually meaning a penalty. Despite this, referee Kerry Fraser made no call on the play, and Gretzky was not penalized, instead scoring the game-winning goal seconds later. The Great One then led the Kings to a game seven victory that eliminated Toronto. M

Asked about the incident, Mr. Gilmour says he was more disappointed at losing game seven on home ice. “You can’t hold grudges on it, it just happened.”

He says the current Leafs team is a good young team, and are exciting to watch, revealing that he is a big Mitch Marner fan. “They’re just going to get better with age, and it’ll be a fun couple years for sure.”

He recalls winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary, saying it was “amazing,” as his parents were there, and in his book, he has a picture showing his dad beside the cup. “I played 20 years and only got there once, so it’s not an easy thing to do.”

He adds it is very important to support local hockey teams. Being from a small community in Kingston, he says, “Any help you can get for kids to play, to bond as children… it’s something that you wish every kid can have that opportunity to play.”

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