Garret Sparks managed to unify Maple Leafs fans around the world. Whether you are on ‘Tank Nation’ or hoping the Leafs can somehow squeak into the playoffs, everyone was on the edge of there seat hoping Sparks would make Maple Leafs history. He did just that, and this is our thank you.
You can read the full length original story at Along The Boards
First and foremost, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. It’s extremely difficult for a 22-year-old goaltender to make his National Hockey League debut in front of the crazy fans that crowd the Air Canada Centre, but it’s even more difficult to make Maple Leafs history that same night.
To be blunt, we did not expect a ton of excitement this year. In fact, for the first time in 20-years, it seemed as though the month of October was entirely dedicated to the Blue Jays hunt for playoff supremacy. For a hockey-crazed market like Toronto, the hype surrounding the beginning of the season was abysmal and it really did not feel like the Maple Leafs were about to kick off their 98th NHL campaign.
Although Coach Babcock forewarned that pain was coming, fans like myself are always looking for something to cheer for. Whether it’s “Uncle” Leo Komarov on pace to surpass his career-high’s in just about every category or Brad Boyes getting to play for his hometown team for the first time since they drafted him in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
So, when news had emerged that Garret Sparks, a former seventh round pick who found himself in the East Coast Hockey League last season, would be between the crease for a game against the Edmonton Oilers, we found yet another feel good hockey story.
All eyes were on you and you certainly did not disappoint. As time was winding down in the third period, I found myself glued to the couch, constantly checking how much time was remaining. With the final seconds ticking away, I jumped up and fist pumped with almost the same amount of ferociousness as you did. Garret Sparks, the first goalie in Maple Leafs history to record a shutout in his NHL debut.
Regardless of where your career takes you, just remember no one can take away the feeling you were able to give Maple Leafs fans on that one November night. Thank you for leaving us on the edge of our seat and giving us a night to be proud of.
From 190th overall to the show – good luck.”