For 15 years Dave Keon skated as hockey's best two way player and as Toronto's most popular player through good and bad. He won four Stanley Cups in Toronto, including the much adored 1967 championship.
But he also endured the earliest years Harold Ballard's Reign Of Terror. Ballard's disrespect shown towards Keon and his beloved Leafs resulted in Keon's departure and an icy estrangement ever since. The strongheaded Keon has moved to Florida and has shown little interest in hockey. The epic, though perhaps mythically overblown fued between Keon and Ballard serves as a symbolic representation of two generations of Leafs - one great, the other mostly mediocre ever since.
Good news today, as it was announced that Keon will participate in 1967 Stanley Cup anniversary celebrations on February 17th.
The thing I like best about Dave Keon's return to Toronto is that the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, many of which are too young to remember Dave Keon, will finally get a chance to honor and say thank you to #14. The fans deserve the chance to do just that. Keon deserves the chance receive that.
However don't expect this to be the beginning of a mended relationship between Keon and the Leafs. Keon is reportedly is "polite" but "guarded" when discussing his involvment in this celebration. Apparently he remains sour that his jersey #14 is not retired.
Matt Stajan, an exciting young player, currently wears Keon's #14. Wouldn't that be one of the great moments in hockey if during the celebrations Stajan, a la Ray Bourque to Phil Esposito, skated over to Keon and gave him the number 14 back and took up a new number? Not that Stajan is doing anything wrong by wearing the number, but it sure would be a great moment in hockey history, wouldn't it?