The Leaf Episode 1 opens with a heart-warming story: When Brendan Shanahan told his kids he had accepted a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his little ones jumped up and down on their beds in celebration.
After Shanahan reminisces about his Leafs fandom growing up and his family’s tradition of watching the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, the episode skips ahead to the hiring of Mike Babcock in the Spring. On his way in to the ACC, Babcock stops in his tracks to look at a photo on the wall of the Cup-winning 1967 team.
After some time spent on the Babcock hire, featuring clips most of us have seen before, the episode jumps ahead to the draft.
Said Shanahan: “Mark [Hunter] was doing the drafting, and Kyle [Dubas] was supporting him by accumulating more picks. I was a passenger; I sat and watched those two guys.”
Also during the draft segment, Mitch Marner passes Dylan Strome in the hallway after the Leafs picked him and exclaims: “I gained 4,000 followers in an hour!” Strome then makes a face that reads, “and I’m going to Arizona.”
After a quick look at the Lou Lamoriello hire in late July, the episode spends a segment covering the team’s visit to Halifax during training camp, including a stop in at the Canadian Forces Base, where a Leafs flag was flying for the team’s arrival.
The segment included a good quote from Shanahan about the trip: “When I was a young player in New Jersey, I went and did a few charity events in the maritime provinces. There was always a lot of Maple Leafs at those events. I got to see how the Maple Leafs were loved in those provinces. I’d like to think our players know it, but every once and a while it’s good for them to go and be reminded of how important they are not just here and in Toronto, but how important they are to Canadian culture, and how important it would be for the Maple Leafs to get back on track.”
Shanahan later closes out the episode with another awesome quote: “I don’t have to close my eyes and think about what it’s like for the Maple Leafs to win. I know it in my bones. It’s not like I started in 2014. I started thinking about that when I was three or four years old.”