Toronto Mike

Ease His Pain


I loved my Maple Leafs in the 1980s, in spite of their losing ways.  In a sense, nothing has really changed on that front.  We root for our team, through thick and thin, and cheer on all players (almost all players) who don the blue and white jersey.

I remember Walt Poddubny.  I remember his as a Maple Leaf forward, for scoring a big goal in the 1986 playoffs and for the many goals he scored after he was moved to the Rangers.  When Walt Poddubny passed aways suddenly on the weekend, I did what I always do.  I wrote about it.

I started ranking highly for Walt Poddubny Google searches, and 34-minutes after I published the entry, Walt's brother Peter had left a comment.

I am Walt's brother and have that game on VHS. I am going to have to review it and will post later. I am a little bummed out now and looking thru some of his memorabilia. I'm gonna miss the big oaf. Any other memories of Walt would be great to hear.

What followed was pretty special.  Comment after comment was left, and not from Leaf fans who remember him as I did, but from friends and family who remembered the man and knew him personally.

It sounds like Walt was a lot of fun, and that he'll be greatly missed.  Here's Justin Linebaugh's comment.

There I was just logging on to to check the standings and to my shock I saw the headline, "Walt Poddubny has died." My heart dropped when I saw this. I met Walt back in 2007 as I knew his daughter Jamie quite well. I did not know what to think before I met him, but Jamie was like, "you're gonna love him, he's a big bear and kind of looks like Shrek (this made me scared now)!" But once I met the guy, I thought he was fantastic! We talked about his career, football, women and the 2 things that made him most proud, his daughters Jamie and Jordan (Jo Jo who he referred to her as). I spent many Sunday's watching some football with him and even went on one of his 4'bying adventures with him and Jamie in his back yard in that big ol' red Ford! What a blast! Walt had even taken me to a Leafs game where we sat in the alumni box and after he took me in the dressing room to show me what it was all about there. He hurt his knee that night and Jamie had bought him a cane to help him walk and he would use it to clear the had to be there, what a mess..LOL! The next day I took him to Niagara Falls, what a night that was. It's so great watching that guy in action, the women were just drawn to his great presence, sense of humour and personality (maybe because we took him to Hooters!). What a great guy! I have spent Thnaksgiving with his family and once meeting his mom I could see where he got all his energy from! He has a beautiful family and they all made me feel at home when I was with them! I haven't spoken to Walt in about a year now since I left Thunder Bay but he is definately someone I will never forget. One of the last times I was with him we were actually wrestling in his living room while his daughters watched and laughed away! I wish all my deepest condolences to his family, especially Jamie and Jordan as I knew how special that bond was which they had shared with their father. Walt gave me a jersy which I will have forever to help me remember what a great man I had the pleasure of knowing! Justin Linebaugh

Karl Szugalew would soon follow with this touching comment about Walt.

Walt was like my brother. My best friend from age 3 right through school. He was a loyal friend through thick and thin. That goal "rollin rollin rollin" - that was just like his life. He kept rollin. We started watching the Stooges in kindergarden and never looked back. Mike Martin (I remember you well - you were the other guy in public school we wouldn't fight)- you nailed it. He liked to beat us at everything. He was the best at all sports. He won most of the time at board games. He even won at ramdom stuff like cards and dice games. He was a winner. His first game of organized junior peewee hockey he held the puck on a string and scored 6 easy goals. That was his last game of "junior" peewee as well. He was the first to "roof" one playing baseball at Algonquin school and to dunk on those 8 foot hoops. He loved a good time and knew what one was and a great friend to many. RIP buddy

Just yesterday, Peter Poddubny returned to read these remarks.  They seem to have eased his pain.

Thanks for all your great comments friends. They really help in this tough time. Colin, Hany, Karl its great to here from you guys. My family loves to here that you guys are thinking of us at this difficult time. RIP Walt. Too Young Too Soon. I love you man.

Walt Poddubny may have played for our favourite hockey team, but he was also a brother, a son, a father and a friend to many.  Sometimes, when the Google ranking and stars align, you find yourself hosting messages far deeper than "he was a great player" or "he scored a huge goal."

Sometimes, this silly hobby actually means something.

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