Being a Maple Leafs fan in the 80s was tough. There were some awful teams in that decade, but hope arrived in the mid 80s when we drafted #17, Wendel Clark.
I will never forget the 1985-86 post season when we swept the Chicago Black Hawks in three games. That was when my brothers and I first broke out the Diet Coke. You would have thought we had just won the cup. Wendel was our leader and a member of The Hound Line with Russ Courtnall and Gary Leeman. We took the St. Louis Blues to a seventh game before bowing out. We went just as deep the next season, too.
Wendel Clark scored the overtime winner in the greatest game I ever saw. My brother Ryan proudly wore his #17 jersey and we all suffered during his long periods of inactivity due to injuries. Clark was our guy and pound for pound the toughest player you'll ever see playing the game. Doug Gilmour remains my favourite Leaf, but Clark was the definitive Leaf.
This video is entitled "All Heart" and it's a fitting tribute to the man who led us seven games deep in the second round in 1986 and gave me my first taste of the thrill a playoff series victory brings.