CM January 5, 
1996. Vol. 2, Number 12

image Return to Glory:
The Leafs From Imlach to Fletcher.

Andrew Podnieks.
Toronto: ECW Press, 1995. 301pp, paper, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55022-242-2. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Toronto Maple Leafs (Hockey team).
Toronto Maple Leafs (Hockey team)-History.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

image In covering the period from May, 1967, to early 1995, Podnieks writes passionately as he describes first the decline of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club following their last Stanley Cup win of 1967, and then their rise to legitimate Cup contender in the 1990s. Return to Glory is structured in two parts, with each section principally revolving around the actions of a pair of individuals.

In the shorter "Part One," Podnieks largely ascribes the Leafs' on-ice downfall to the off-ice, egocentric, and eccentric actions of the book's villains, team owner Harold Ballard, and the Leafs' General Manager and sometime coach, Punch Imlach. In "Part Two," the white hats are worn by Cliff Fletcher, who became GM in June, 1991, following Ballard's death, and Fletcher's choice as coach, Pat Burns.


Podnieks does not just restrict his black-white value judgments to management, and readers may be surprised by some of his assessments of both Leaf players and their opponents. In addition to describing lots of game action, including detailed sections on the 1993 and 1994 playoffs, Podnieks also covers the post-Ballard back-room financial games as various individuals tried to gain control of Maple Leaf Gardens.

By ending the book shortly after the conclusion of the 1994 owners' lockout/players' strike, Podnieks leaves readers with a sense of incompleteness -- for the title's promise will only be realised by another Stanley Cup victory, not just by the Leafs twice making it to the semi-finals. While the book's cover is full-colour, the numerous photos scattered throughout the book are black and white. A thirty-page appendix of all-time Leaf team and individual achievements completes the work.

For the serious hockey fan, Return to Glory is a fine read, but its scope is likely too limited and its contents too detailed for the average high school collection. The book, however, should be purchased for the adult collections of public libraries where it will be available to adolescent readers.

Recommended with reservations.

Dave Jenkinson is a hockey fan who also teaches courses in children's and young adult literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

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Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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