Leaf star has forgiven Kerry Fraser for missed high-stick

Toronto Maple Leaf great Doug Gilmour. Submitted Photo

Troy Shantz

An icon of Canadian hockey and a Toronto Maple Leaf fan favourite is coming to Sarnia next week.

Doug Gilmour will be at The Book Keeper on Wednesday, Nov. 8, signing copies of his new book Killer: My Life in Hockey.

“It’s a lot about family, it’s a lot about some things I did – some good, some bad – and that’s about it,” Gilmour told The Journal, adding the book is large part a tribute to his parents.

“It’s about my life.”

Drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1982, Gilmour spent two decades in the NHL and suited up with seven different clubs.

Gilmour was a part of the 1989 Stanley Cup winning Calgary Flames, but local fans probably remember him best for his five years as a Maple Leaf. And as the guy at the centre of one of the most debated calls in hockey history.

Sarnia’s Kerry Fraser was refereeing game six of the 1993 NHL playoffs between the L.A. Kings and Toronto. With the Kings facing elimination, an overtime high stick by Wayne Gretzky appeared to catch Gilmour on the chin, resulting in nine stitches.

But Fraser didn’t make the call on Gretzky, the Kings won, forced a game seven and advanced to the Stanley Cup final.

Many fans blame that missed-call for cutting short Toronto’s best playoff run in recent history.

But for Gilmour, it was what it was.

“It’s unfortunate that he missed the call, but there’s no grudge there,” he said.

Gilmour had many linemates during nearly 1,500 games and one that left an impression was Brian Sutter in St. Louis.

“I really learned a lot as far as how to compete, how to be prepared, how to be intense all the time,” he said.

He also rubbed shoulders with some tough customers.

“(Chris) Chelios is going to go hard against me every shift, (Bryan) Marchment is going to take my knee out, Steve Smith is going to take my head off,” he said.

“My goal was just to keep my head up and make sure I’m ready because they’re coming to get you.”

Gilmour, who scored 450 goals, retired after the 2002-03 season. After spending time flipping houses (one of which he sold to fellow Leaf forward Mats Sundin) he returned to the club as an advisor.

Today he’s the president of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs in his hometown.

The game is played far differently today, a point his two hockey-playing sons remind him of when they dig-out VHS tapes of Maple Leafs broadcasts stored at the family cottage.

“They’re howling,” he said. “They ask, ‘Dad, what are the rules?

“I say, ‘I don’t know. Just don’t trip somebody and don’t slash too hard.’”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Book signing of “Killer: My Life in Hockey,” a memoir by Doug Gilmour

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.

WHERE: The Book Keeper, 500 Exmouth St.

NOTE: Only copies purchased at The Book Keeper will be signed. No sports memorabilia.