On July 12th and 13th, I had the opportunity to head up to Collingwood, Ontario to catch the final two days of the annual Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects Camp. I was working for another site at the time and decided that I was going to write an in-depth piece about the future of the team that I have loved for over 40 years! What better place to start than where all of the young talent was being showcased for the public to see?
— Robb Ellis (@robb_ellis) July 13, 2015
It was an unplanned road trip- I literally woke up at 7am on the Saturday morning and said to myself “Maybe I’ll head up and see what’s going on.”- and that’s just what I did. Keep in mind that I really had no idea what kind of accessibility I would have to Central Park Arena let alone any of the players so I was literally going in blind. I arrived just after 9am and as I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a bunch of players out in a field kicking around a soccer ball. I quickly parked the car and headed over for a closer look. There were about 25 players in all and not a coach or team official to be seen anywhere. From there, I headed into the arena where another group of players were skating. Among them were William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Brendan Leipsic, and Viktor Loov. I watched, along with less than 100 other people, most of whom were parents of the players including Paul Marner and Stuart Hyman, the fathers of future Leafs Mitch and Zack. As the day went on, it became evident that my concerns about accessibility to the players were unfounded. I was literally “rubbing shoulders” with everyone from William Nylander to Paul Hendrick to Kyle Dubas during my two days at the camp.
At some point, I decided that even though I was getting a closeup look at the organizations top prospects, I wanted more. I approached Stuart Hyman and asked if he had “a moment” to do an interview and he agreed. We found a cozy spot outside the arena, I pressed record on my iPhone and away we went. No pre-prepped questions- I had no idea that I’d be interviewing anybody that day so it was literally just two guys talking hockey. 90 minutes later, Stuart looked at his watch and realized that he had to get back down to Toronto. I didn’t stop there and by the end of the day I had interview footage with Casey Bailey, Andrew Nielsen, Travis Dermott, and Stephen Desrocher.
@robb_ellis who was that he went around ?
— THEO in T.O (@ProjectMngr_YYZ) July 11, 2015
So you might be thinking “what does any of this have to do with the Blue N’ White Tonight Podcast?” Well, after being told by my former employer that I wouldn’t be able to use the interview footage from the camp, I decided to create my very own Toronto Maple Leafs podcast. Five weeks later, we recorded our very first episode called “The Shanaplan!” We had no guests for that one. It was just three guys talking about all the changes that had happened in the organization since Brendan Shanahan had arrived. We managed to land “The Voice of the Marlies” Todd Crocker for Episode 2 and we thought “can it get any better than this?”
Well, here we are a few days from recording Episode 15 and we’ve had quite the guest list. Rick Vaive, Greg Terrion, Joe Bowen, Paul Hendrick, Chris Johnston, Mike Augello, Mike Zeisberger, and Craig Button. People with different backgrounds and points of views but they all have one thing in common- they were down to earth people without egos and this week’s guest was no different.
What can you say about a guy who has spent almost 40 years writing about the great sport of hockey including 14 years covering the Peterborough Petes and 17 years as a Senior Writer for The Hockey News? It was a great show with NHL.com’s Mike Brophy who had some great stories to tell.
Did the Peterborough Petes actually “throw” a Memorial Cup Tournament game in order to choose a weaker opponent?
Did a story that Mike wrote piss Tie Domi off enough to punch him?
Check out this week’s show for the answers to those questions and more…
If you’re a regular listener than you may wonder about some of the “sponsors” that you hear during the breaks of the show. They were an idea I had since the day the concept of the podcast first came about. I wanted a way to break up the segments and I also wanted the show to be different from every other podcast out there. The normal formula is usually some guys talking hockey and obviously there’s nothing wrong with that. I took a page out of the SNL CATALOGUE and decided to write fake commercials pushing a variety of Leafs-related products. The voices and characters are all pretty much done by me although Ryan has appeared in a few of them as well. Recently, we hooked up with a talented illustrator named Rob Kisler who has agreed to draw some of the commercials cartoon style for the purpose of producing youtube videos. Here is the first one for “Tie Domi Knuckle Ointment!” Enjoy…
Our guest next week is a former minor league goaltender and made stops with teams such as the Baltimore Skipjacks, Springfield Indians, Colorado Flames, and the Newmarket Saints. He has been the colour commentator on Toronto Maple Leafs radio broadcasts since 1997. We’ll see ya next week when we’re joined by the always entertaining Jim Ralph.
Please send all comments, opinions, and hate mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter: @robb_ellis
Check out the official website of the show at: bnwtpodcast.com