Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The other Toronto Maple Leaf training camp letters

If you're a Leafs fan, you've probably seen this training camp letter from 1962 by now. It's been making the e-mail rounds for weeks.

The apparently real letter is from Leafs' GM Punch Imlach to player Jim Pappin, informing him of the schedule for the upcoming training camp. It's filled with nostalgia for a bygone era, including quaint references to train travel, mandatory golfing sessions, and the requirement that all players be able to do 20 pushups.

But while the Pappin letter makes for a fun look back at hockey's past, many fans don't realize that these letters are a Toronto tradition. Every summer, the current Leafs general manager sits down to type out a letter to his players to let them know what to expect in September. And I just happen to have several original copies in my collection.

For example, here's the letter Brian Burke sent out this past summer:

Brian Burke training camp letter
Can't see the image? Download it here.


And here's the letter from the year before, when Cliff Fletcher was in charge:

Cliff Fletcher training camp letter
Can't see the image? Download it here.


And, of course, the 2007 letter:

John Ferguson Jr. training camp letter
Can't see the image? Download it here.




49 comments:

  1. I may have a new favorite DGB post.

    (new second place: excuses from NHL's losers)

    Well done, sir.

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  2. DGB-
    Awesome work as always- is there someone else who has put this on the Intertubes? (my brother's co-worker is the owner)

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  3. "I once traded Brett Hull for a backup goaltender, so imagine what I could do with a scrub like you."

    That makes it official: Cliff Fletcher is my hero.

    Great work as always!
    GB

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  4. AHAHAHHA OMG I AM DYING

    THE LAST ONE IS SO GREAT

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  5. thankyou for making that cda usa game a little less painful.

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  6. @kidkawartha...

    I've seen it via e-mail a few times, and on several blogs (including the Globe and Mail).

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  7. Thanx for the direction- trying to let the owner know about all of the fuss.

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  8. WIN.

    (except these are obvious forgeries. JFJ can't spell "balloons" correctly.)

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  9. Hmm. On further review, these are real. And I need to update the prescription on my glasses.

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  10. I think Chemmy is right, you are some sort of joke robot from the future.
    This was too bloody good.

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  11. Glen Sather used to send Candygrams until Tom Renney told him nobody under the age of 50 likes saltwater taffy anymore.

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  12. You sir are so funny it`s not even funny. Sort of.

    Absolutely hilarious!!

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  13. wow, ferguson's was f*****g hilarious!

    go truculence

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  14. You never cease to amaze. Well done, good sir, well done.

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  15. I have to remember not to read this blog when there are others within earshot.

    Great as always.

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  16. BesterThanYesterdayJanuary 6, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    BWAHAHAHA.

    Loved JFJ's and Fletcher's, even Burke's seemed spot on.

    Fantastic work!

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  17. Cliff Fletcher's letter made me actually want to get old, so I could use a line similar to "I'm 92 and cranky"

    spot on, as usual

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  18. I've been reading this hilarious slice of Maple Leafs blog for the last few months, but i felt compelled to comment, that last letter had me laughing so hard that my sides now hurt. Well played sir.

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  19. hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

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  20. I love "Yours in truculence", and you're lucky I wasn't drinking my tea when I saw JFJ's letter, or you'd owe me a new monitor. Excellent.

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  21. Fantastic. I was chuckling until the last one, and I am straight-up laughing every time I re-read it.

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  22. Oh man... the part about not believing in rentals just slayed me. Cliff is one bitter bastard.

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  23. Say *plan the parade one more time*...January 6, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    You receive the slow clap award, now renamed the DGB award.

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  24. The whole Cliff letter from top to bottom is epic win. I'm ashamed to say I cried for the first time in years, but in a good way.

    Bravo.

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  25. Besides the fact that the JFJ one had me dying laughing, I thought the subtle "Ricoh Centre" joke was beautiful.

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  26. Holy crap that is all kinds of awesome! Pure gold!

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  27. Absolutely hysterical. Helps to ease the pain after they mailed it in in Philly.

    This post is why you're linked on my blog-- keep it coming!!

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  28. Ok, the first two were pretty f*cking funny, but the third one just put it over the top. That was amazing!

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  29. Just shat a lung laughing so f**king hard!

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  30. Sir,

    Genius. Let's leave it at that.

    Humbled,
    Soupy

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  31. So the one single time this website was funny a few months back was an accident? I see...

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  32. Am I the only guy who didn't like this one?

    Sorry, I'm not going to pile onto the love-fest. "Pure gold, LOL, I was crying, spit my coffee," and so on. It's getting ridiculous, the few gags in these letters don't merit that response.

    I've read every post on this blog and hold you to a higher standard. What happened? Why so many recent posts with the simulated dialogue gags? Though that one has been tossed recently for the long imaginary lists, "signs your bus is on fire, signs your teammates want to kill you, signs he has 16 mistresses, other NHL injuries, NHL'ers vs. cars...and on. What will tomorrow's be - signs that Kessel is really Jason Blake?

    The top-20 moments series was good and I think this is your strength - I get legitimately weepy at the nostalgic looks back (especially anything involving Wendel Clark or Gilmour), both good and bad. Weepy funny, weepy sad.

    Today's modified 1962 letter was another schtick I'm tired of seeing - a legitimate Leafs/hockey news event, which is tweaked for comedy reasons. The actual letter was funnier than the efforts to edit them into something better.

    I'm not trying to be a little bitch here, but I know you can do a lot better. I'm critical because I know you can do more.

    I want to see some more original ideas, or failing that, at least fewer posts that aren't a play on something circulating in the media.

    I'm not hiding behind an anonymous identiy either, I just don't have a blog of my own and attendant userID. I'm just a regular reader who is becoming dismayed.

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  33. Al "Spurned Divorcee" IafrateJanuary 9, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Guess everyone's a critic sometimes.

    Personally, I thought these letters were among the more creative things done on DGB in some time.

    Certainly better than the letter I received in 1990:

    "Dear Wild Thing,

    I am writing to inform you that your teammates have become quite uncomfortable with your latest "situation". Please request a trade, it will make the locker room more comfortable for everyone. I would do so myself, but 50 goal seasons matter more than inconsistent defensive play and a 100mph slapshot that only hits the net 10% of the time.

    Yours,
    Gary Leeman

    PS I am balling your wife."

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  34. @ Anonymous...

    Am I the only guy who didn't like this one?

    I doubt it. I'm sure pretty much everything I post will miss the mark for at least a few people.

    I get legitimately weepy at the nostalgic looks back

    That's cool. I've heard from other readers who don't really go for those and prefer the more current stuff. I'll keep doing both.

    ... at least fewer posts that aren't a play on something circulating in the media.

    Posts that are tied into some sort of current event are usually the most popular here (at least partly because they're more likely to bring in outside links). Hopefully they can be current and still feel original.

    Anyways, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. All feedback is always appreciated.

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  35. Fletcher's letter needs to be put in a time capsule labeled "funny" and addressed to future inhabitants of this planet. That was seriously awesome.

    I liked anonymous' post above. I don't agree per say, but as DGB says, a kick in the pants by a (literate) long-time reader is never a bad thing. At the very least it breaks up the "OMG GOLD DGB, you owe me a new [insert computer hardware device here]!!!"

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  36. Gary "Wife Stealer" LeemanJanuary 9, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Ho ho ho, mercy, that letter takes me back. Say, can you spare some change?

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  37. The JFJ letter was so cute.

    It reminds me of the crayon drawings my nephew does in preschool. Although he is a better speller.

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  38. Haha, just when I thought it couldn't get any better from Fletcher's letter... Amazing!

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  39. GREAT start to the New Year. ROFLPMP @ the last letter!

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  40. I don't say it enough, but you're a genius.

    This is hands-down one of my favourite places on the internet.

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  41. The JFJ one got me right there. Great work!

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  42. @ anonymous

    your team made you loose all your sense of humor, did it?

    better start drinking, because nowhere in sight, there's hope for improvement.

    The best thing Burke and Wilson will accomplish, is getting the US team to their worst showing ever, just like they're doing with the Leafs

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  43. simply amazing. Maybe in those letters they should have adressed that Wellwood would be allowed a 10am dinner time, seeing as the kitchen needs time to prepare more food after he's done his third round.

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