Maple Leaf Gardens now closed for a decade 2009: Story Tools

Maple Leaf Gardens now closed for a decade

Story tools presented by "We all laugh and we all cry we all live and we all die but through it all and in

between ... time flies." -- Canadian country singer Johnny Reid TAMPA, Fla. -- How can it possibly be an entire decade since the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks played the final National Hockey League game at Maple Leaf Gardens The weathered shrine on Carlton Street sits lonely and deserted -- almost beckoning for recognition 10 years after the night its most famous tenant moved out. The Blackhawks obliterated the Maple Leafs 6-2 in a game that seemed almost an intrusion after the enormous build-up to the event. The irony lingers that perhaps never in the 68-plus years of the Gardens' existence had a Leafs game been so utterly anti-climactic. But, memories never seem to fade ... memories of the building as a centrepiece of hockey history, and of a final night that brought together every former Toronto player that could make it back one last time. "I never would have guessed it's already been 10 years," said Liberal parliamentarian Ken Dryden, who ran the Leafs as president and general manager in 1998-99, and spent countless hours planning for the closing ceremony. "The Gardens was a great, iconic place for the Maple Leafs, but it was time for a new arena for Leafs fans and the city of Toronto to enjoy the benefits of a next-generation building."

That next generation would open its doors one week later, when the Air Canada Centre hosted its first NHL game between the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

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