Author Archive

Bigfoot at Buttonville

had a learning experience last week that I’d like to share resulting from a simple, yet unexpected, source – a new pair of shoes.

I was in my airplane, a Mooney M20J at Buttonville (CYKZ) the holding bay for runway 21.  I was happy to be using 21-03 as the longer runway was closed for the day.  It’s nice to have a change-up.  Just before I begin my application of full-power, I make it a good habit to planting my heels firmly on the floor and make sure my feet are nimble on the pedals and not on the brakes.  Everything felt good, looked normal and I applied full-power.

As I accelerated down the runway, I felt my feet not working well on the rudder pedals.  My foot placement was awkward and didn’t feel I had great control.  Halfway to the bravo intersection,  I immediately throttled back and applied brakes as gently as I could over a hump in the runway intersection.

Buttonville traffic, GMGR.  Aborting the take-off.

As I made the radio calls and began the long taxi back, I debriefed with myself about those new shoes. Shiny black Nikes, size 15.  As I wiggled my toes, it remind me why I never feel safe flying in my winter boots.  They are just too damn big.  These shoes were stiff and not properly broken in.  My mistake was I didn’t give them a second thought.

Big feet and appropriate footwear were not on my checklist.

I’m sure the takeoff would have been fine.  But it’s better to be safe than otherwise.  Also, I never aborted a take-off before, and really felt it was a pretty good learning experience.  Like the occasional unexpected overshoot

I remember a video posted this spring on Aviation 101 on this very subject:   It’s worth checking out.

A great lesson learned for me and all the XL pilots out there.

Happy flying, COPA members.  Those colours are gorgeous.

 Bob Goulais
Nipissing First Nation

Reconciliation Starts With Truth. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrate being Anishinaabe, Mushkegowuk, Haudenosaunee, Métis, Mi’gmaq… or whatever nation that you belong to.  Live it everyday with outward humility and inward pride.
Remind our partners, allies and fellow Canadians that everyone needs to understand Truth – Debwewin – before we can truly move on to Reconciliation.
Truth means:
  • Appreciating and believing the history, personal stories and perspectives of Residential School survivors, Elders and Traditional Knowledge keepers.
  • Appreciating Indigenous perspectives and worldview and incorporating this in all parts of our society.
  • Learning the history and modern reality of Indigenous peoples as nations.
  • Understanding concepts such as assimilation, colonization and genocide.
  • Appreciating the need to ‘rights-the-wrongs’ from the Residential School experience, the 60s Scoop and intergenerational trauma.
  • Being an advocate for action to improve social conditions and Indigenous health and wellness.
  • Knowing the fundamental importance of restoring culture, language and identity.
  • Protecting and restoring Treaty-protected and Indigenous Rights including the inherent right to self-determination.
Truth is all these things.
Without Truth, Reconciliation will forever be misunderstood as a time-limited and politically-motivated effort in social equity, diversity or a special interest rather than what it should be: holding up Indigenous nations as a founding nation of Canada.
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day, everyone.

Greed, disrespect is the agenda of one-Issue candidates

It’s time to get real.

For all those one-issue candidates and their supporters, you’re not going to pull the net over our eyes.

Elections are about vision, leadership and good governance. It’s clear you lack all three. I even question whether you have the capacity to really understand the issue. Just sayin’.

Before you vote this week, make sure you have the facts. Make sure you know which candidates are for protection of the fishery and those that are a threat to the fishery.

Here are a few blunt points for your consideration:

  • The right to harvest is a collective right, not an individual right. Once your individual rights start to tread on others, your individual rights stop. I have a right to fish. My children and future grandchildren have a right to fish. Our descendants, seven generations from now, have a right to fish. And the fish have a right to survive. You DON’T have the right to wipe them out!
  • There is no threat to our rights. We will always be able to use a net and spear for personal and ceremonial use. The only threat to our rights is the disregard of Nipissing First Nation law and disrespect for the fish, our lake, our nation’s laws and us, your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.
  • I’m going to say it: your candidacy and arguments are not about protection of our rights, it’s about greed and disrespect. You’re not interested in managing the fishery and protecting the resources. You’re out for the almighty buck.
  • You openly call our Gimaa, a direct descendant of the Chief that signed our treaty, the “White Chief”. The only thing non-native is your greed and disrespect for our laws, the lake, the fish and your fellow Anishinaabeg. There are plenty of good zhagonosh people that have much more integrity and values than you do. You bring shame to your families and your community.
  • The Robinson Huron Treaty was only signed in 1850. The Treaty did not give us rights, it gave the settlers rights. Before that, we had inherent rights and sacred law.
  • Sacred law tells us that human kind were given two gifts: (1) intellect and (2) free-choice for one purpose: to speak up for, and look after all those in Creation that are unable speak for themselves. We have a responsibility to look after the lake and the fish.
  • It is 100 per cent true that the lake is under tremendous pressure. The numbers, through surveys, the annual fall walleye index netting and reported catch from harvesters all point to a possible collapse of the walleye. This is science, people. Not someone’s opinion.
  • I’m sorry to say that it is OUR people that are responsible for the collapse of the fishery. Not angling nor ice fishing – but our unsustainable, commercial fishery. We are responsible for taking the vast majority of fish from Lake Nipissing. We’re talking thousands and thousands of kilograms, each and every year.
  • For those who say the science may not be accurate, you are right! Uncompliant harvesters do not participate in the surveys and do not report their catch at all. As a result, these numbers are probably even worse.

I’ll stop here for a moment of levity. Aspiring leader, oh great ones, what are you going to do about this?

  • If you won’t be compliant with a law that has enforcement provisions, why would you be compliant with just a code of ethics? Doesn’t make sense.
  • Those that gloat that their catch has “never been better” are not telling the truth. We know you are feeling the pinch. Maybe it’s time to find some other work or learn another skill.
  • Our First Nation has the right to manage the fishery. That’s what our community has done. Our fisheries laws are good. As Nbisiing Anishnaabeg, we should be proud of this program. It is based on science, it is based on developing our community capacity, it is based on protecting the fishery as well as our rights.
  • We have been recognized for our incredible leadership. In March, our Natural Resources Program, the MOU and our relationship with the MNR received an award given by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). We won the Gold Award for excellence in managing the fishery, and collaboration and co-management with the MNR and the MOU. The MOU is a best practice demonstrating mutual-respect, recognition of Indigenous law and repairing a long-contentious relationship for the benefit of the lake and the fish life.
  • That being said, we wouldn’t need to have an MOU with the MNR to enforce our fisheries regulations if these uncompliant harvesters would just obey our community laws.
  • You are contravening Nipissing First Nation law. We want NFN fisheries and the MNR watching, because they are enforcing OUR law. But here is a really simple suggestion… if you don’t want to be “harassed”, then become law-abiding and compliant harvester. But until you begin to obey the law, we don’t want you fishing.

Vote to protect our Lake. Vote to protect the fish. Vote to support the rights of your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg. Please choose wisely.

Cannabis is not Anishinaabe medicine. In fact, it’s contrary to our way of life.

I’ve got something important to share. It may not be popular but I have to say it. So here goes.

Anishinaabe mno-bimaadiziwin minwaa Anishinaabe mushkiki does not include the use of cannabis.

The use of cannabis, either recreationally or medicinally, is contrary to Anishinaabe teachings and sacred law.

Sacred law tells us that using anything that alters our spirit in any way, is a big no-no. I learned this long ago in in the Midewiwin Lodge and from many true Anishnaabe leaders, teachers and healers over the years. It’s the one reason why I personally chose not to use alcohol or any other mind-altering substance.

I’ve seen several mind-altering herbs, roots, vines and leaves, all natural products, make their way into our communities from outside Indigenous healers. This includes anything from peyote to ayahuasca. Such potent hallucinogens and their purveyors have also left a lot of pain in their wake.  I’ve even heard some Anishinaabeg speak about a “whiskey ceremony” where a shot is passed around while telling stories. Forget what you’ve been told – this is not the case.

Yes, cannabis is natural. It might not lead to issues of hardcore dependence and overdose that we are seeing from opioids in our communities. And sure, it is somebody’s medicine.  But it is definitely not Anishinaabe medicine.

In our Creation Story, Msko-Gaabwid, the red-standing one, was placed on Earth with all the things he needed. Tobacco, the very first medicine, is a medicine that is almost entirely spiritual in nature because that very first human being was very much spirit rather than physical. However, as the world evolved, our eldest ancestor began to become more and more physical. As such, Anishinaabe, as he was to be known, had more physical needs including the need for food and medicine. It is said that medicinal plants gives themselves to us. Food plants give themselves to us too.

Anishinaabe and all his descendants are to keep all Creation in balance including our own physical vessel. More than that, we are to keep our body, mind and spirit pure and unaltered. We are told of these types of substances in our Creation Story. Our medicine people knew of these things. But plainly and clearly, we are told not to ingest anything that disrupts that balance, or may disrupt our interrelationships with all those in Creation.

When we take cannabis, alcohol and narcotics and use it in such a way that it makes us “high”, we disrupt the balance within us and around us. We hurt the balance between the body and the spirit. Our Spirit is disrupted. Dependence on these substances will ultimately affect our emotional and mental balance as well. Eventually, no matter how gentle the effect is, long-term use of these substances will also take a physical toll.

This kind of hurt my heart a bit. Ode’imin, the pure and beautiful strawberry, a chief medicine food, has become a cannabis edible.

Many of our Grandmothers and Grandfathers are concerned over the impacts that cannabis will have on our youth.  Evidence shows that using cannabis increases the risk in the development of schizophrenia or other psychoses. Also, there is evidence of the risk and repercussions associated of chronic and problem cannabis use, increased risk of depressive disorders, social anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Today, I’m seeing a lot of nonchalance about the use of “medicinal” cannabis for any number of remedies.  Even more disturbing, there is a lot of indifference to the legalization of “recreational” cannabis.  We should be concerned over our already high incidence of addictions, mental illness, chronic disease and inter-generational trauma among Anishinaabe people. Making cannabis more accessible, through community-based dispensaries or even from the LCBO in town is so concerning to those who live by our traditional ways.

The use of cannabis has been discussed in our traditional societies and Lodges over the years. No matter how many time it’s raised, (“Well, it’s going to be legal soon.” “Many people use it for medicinal purposes.” “It’s not really going to hurt anybody.” “My auntie needs it for her eczema.”), the discussion is never a long one.

Again, with emphasis added: Anishinaabe mno-bimaadiziwin minwaa Anishinaabe mushkiki does not include use of cannabis. Period. It just doesn’t get any clearer from an Anishinaabe point of view.

That’s bad news for some Chiefs and leaders, pot-activists, cannabis enthusiasts, clever businesspeople, medical dispensaries and corner drug dealers.

I might be out of touch, unhip or too beholden to our Anishinaabe beliefs – but I thought I’d put it out there. They are our beliefs and there are many of us that stand by them.


One of the greatest gifts given to us by Gzhemnidoo is the gift of freewill. And the first teaching we are given when we hear the Creation Story is that “all Creation stories are true”. Meaning, we are all entitled to our beliefs and we can all choose our own paths that are right for us.
The purpose of the blog was to share our beliefs and perspectives from Anishinaabe teachings. No one is expecting everyone to live by them to the letter, or that they cannot evolve. However, this perspective regarding spirit-altering medicines hadn’t been shared and I felt strongly that it needed to be put on the record.
Taking medicines in a responsible way that honours them, honours our bodies and honours Creation around us is well within our ways. As some wise people point out, there are ways to use cannabis without getting high, disrupting our spirit or abusing the medicine.
As I acknowledged in the blog, this is somebody’s medicine. If they find relief and comfort in that, by all means. But it’s important to hear all aspects of the discussion, including those perspectives given to us in our Creation Story and original instructions as Anishinaabeg. Miigwetch.

So Long Brave, it’s Time for Change

The retirement of the Northern Secondary School Braves logo isn’t about individuals feeling offended.  It’s about a cultural change that is needed in society as a whole.  Agreed, the logo, designed by Terry Dokis and the term Brave is fairly mild on a spectrum of caricatures and indignity. Even the design was meant to instill pride in ourselves and honour our people.  I am thankful for that.  But it is also part of a multigenerational litanny of dehumanizing Anishinaabeg and all Indigenous people.  Chief Wahoo, the Indians, Redskins, Fighting Sioux, Blackhawks face, the Noble Savage, Lakota pain ointment, Wild Bill’s Wild West Show, Tonto, the Indian in the Cupboard, the CHIPPEWA RAIDERS, Seminoles, etc, etc. A hundred years of constant bombardment that Anishinaabeg are not real people, but an image on a t-shirt, a logo on leather jacket, or a styrofoam hatchet at the ball game, war paint on a mascot or a headdress at a music festival. No wonder that governments have felt that residential schools, the Trail of Tears, the Indian Act or the Wounded Knee massacre were acceptable. It’s no wonder that you can find overt, stinging and hurtful racism everyday on the internet.  Just read the comments section at the bottom of any article pertaining to our people.  The very same reason why individuals from the majority feel privledged enough to say they are reverse-offended, “it never bothered anyone before”, or “it doesn’t hurt anyone” or just “get over it”.  Or point to Tim, Keith or Scott and say, “See, they are fine with it.”

That reason or rationale: “Hey, come on, Chief.  It’s okay.”

Well, my friends, it’s not okay.

Although Northern Secondary has always made me/us Anishinaabeg welcome, the school once referred to their students as Ojibway, Cree, and Huron.  This always made me uncomfortable.  How many offended First Nations people does it take to make it legit in the eyes of everyone else? 1? 10? 1500?  How many would it take to make us understand that things need to change?  

Northern took a small step in retiring a logo.  They truly do honour us by voluntarily taking this action. I encourage you all to be a part of that change, to take your own action towards Reconciliation.  Every little bit helps. Aho. Miigwetch.  Thanks for your time, my friends.

Facts about expired Status Cards. You’re right. #WeDoNotExpire.

I’m casually supportive of those who are signing the online petition calling to remove the expiry dates on the Certificate of Indian Status.  I know first hand what a pain in the behind it is to renewed.  Last Fall, Deborah and I took officials from Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office through the rigorous process, only to be turned away at the door because of one thing or another.

But before you sign that petition (or alternatively, send a letter to the Department asking to be removed from the Indian Register and that you don’t need a Status Card to prove you’re Anishinaabe), here are a few facts:

  • You’re absolutely right, online activist, #WeDoNotExpire.  It’s only your Status Card that expires.  Whether you have a card of not, you’ll continue to be on the Indian Register in Ottawa, if that’s your thing.  You’ll also continue to be on your Band’s membership rolls.
  • The Indian Registry and the Certificate of Indian Status are colonial instruments of the Indian Act.  It says right on the card:  “This is to certify that the holder is an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act, chapter 27, Statutes of Canada (1985).”  Like, really??  Demean and racist much?  I’d much rather see a revival of the Anishinabek Nation Passport and a Nbisiing Anishinaabe Citizenship Card.  Hoo ah!
  • Right on the back of the card, in teeny-tiny print, it says “Property of INAC”.  It’s not even your card.
  • Prior to the requirement for expiry dates and up-to-date photos, there was a whole lot of Status Card fraud. Unscrupulous individuals used fake cards to illegally assume Indian status and obtain our rights.  This kind of fraud cost millions of dollars and was a considerable threat to our rights. Now with the additional protections that Ottawa has adopted (and unfortunately, the inconvenience to us law-abiding citizens), the unscrupulous simply cannot obtain or renew an authentic Status Card.  This is one of the main reasons that the Secured Status Card requires renewal and requires taking a new photo.  This story has been published all over the internet, of course. However the posts on show this identity crisis in a new light, well worth the reading time.
  • We can use the Secured Certificate of Indian Status to cross the border.  Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, secured Status Cards can be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, this meant Canada and First Nations giving in to the US requirements that a card be renewed just like a passport.  If we fly to the United Status, we can’t even use a Status Card.  We must carry a Canadian passport.  The passport has to be renewed at least every 10 years for an adult.
  • That being said, we shouldn’t need anything to cross the colonial border.  It is Indigenous territory on both sides.
  • The Secured Certificate of Indian Status contains biometric data.  The little, transparent photo can be used to identify you using facial recognition technology.  Sleep well.
  • As part of the Western Hemisphere Security Initiative, Canada shares Indian Register data with the United States.  To me, the privacy implications are far more concerning than an expiry date.  I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theory nut, but the US government means the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA and Internal Revenue Service.
  • The biggest barrier with the new secured Status Card is that it can only be applied for, and renewed, at an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada office.  Although your Band Office can help you with the application, it must be processed and sent out by Ottawa.  Long gone are the days were you can get your Status Card from the Band membership clerk.  This is particularly a barrier for remote and rural First Nations.  A mistake on an application form, can result in months of processing delays.

Three Fires Summer Ceremonies August 16-20, 2017

NFN Sacred Fire on First Nations Suicides on July 9, 2017 (sunrise-sunset)

“Let us put our minds together to see what life we will make for our children.”

– Sitting Bull

The Sacred Fire has become a source and symbol of strength and divine connection to the Creator. The sacred fires that help us govern our community gatherings, ceremonies and prayerful expressions as Indigenous Peoples, continues to be a way for our struggles to be refocused into clear understanding and clear direction about where we take challenges and painful issues facing our community.

Nipissing First Nation will be hosting a community sacred fire in support and prayers in the wake of rising social tragedy and turmoil of First Nations suicides. Just this week, four young people in remote Northern Ontario First Nations have taken their lives.

WHAT:  NFN Sacred Fire on First Nation Suicides


WHEN:  Sunday, July 9, 2017 beginning at 5:15 a.m. to sundown.  Sacred Fire will stay lit from sunrise to sunset

WHERE:  Nipissing First Nation Cultural Centre, 36 Semo Road, Garden Village, ON near the Tipi

WHO:  All community members, Elders, Youth, Traditional People, Chief and Council, supporters and friends


TENTATIVE ACTIVITIES (to be confirmed)



5:15 a.m.        Firelighting

5:36 a.m.        Sunrise

5:40 a.m.        Morning Ceremony

Conducted by Perry McLeod-Shabogesic

Water Conducted TBA

Pipe, Tobacco and Water Offering

Ceremonial and Drum Songs




12 noon          Mid-Day Ceremony

Pipe, Tobacco and Water Offering

Ceremonial and Drum Songs

Spirit Plate Offering

Mid-Day Potluck Feast

In the spirit of community, we are call on all volunteers, community members and descendants of the Homemakers Club and great cooks, please bring your favourite dish.

3:00 p.m.       Community Sharing Circle

Led by Nipissing First Nation Youth. Everyone is welcome to bring their thoughts, prayers and ideas to share in a safe environment.

Theme/Facilitated Questions:

  • How can our First Nation and our citizens help our northern brothers and sisters struggling with youth suicide?
  • How can we support one another that will help strengthen our own community in dealing with youth suicide? 



6:00 p.m.        Drum and Round Dance Circle (to be confirmed…)

Looking for singers, drums, round dance singers and dancers to take part in a evening Drum and Round Dance Circle to sing and dance in prayer for our brothers and sisters in the north facing this suicide crisis and to honour of those we have lost to suicide.  Dancers bring your regalia.

Singers and Drums, if you are able to attend please contact Corey Goulais on Facebook or call (705) 358-7064.


Calling all Fire Keepers and Volunteers

In order to keep the fire going for a full day, we are seeking young men to help keep fire and volunteers of all ages to assist with the day’s events. If you wish to volunteer, contact Corey Goulais on Facebook or call (705) 358-7064.


Why I used to fly the Canada Flag on my a$$

Truth be told, I’ve been protesting Canada Day for a long, long time. In fact, a few of you might remember that I used to wear a Canada Flag on my derriere every July 1. Strangely, I used to look forward to the odd looks and controversy. Yes, the noble maple leaf, the unmistakeable symbol of Canada, pinned firmly to my a$$.

Anyone who asked about or noticed my anti-patriotic statement would be peppered with factoids of Canada’s historical mistreatment of First Nations and the racism that I’ve faced. I was known to quote John Trudell who said that flying a flag upside down is a sign of distress. Long before the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, the apology, or the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I offered a fiery explanation of the residential school experience, the abuses suffered by our children and the burden of inter-generational trauma.

All the while, sitting on, and blowing wind through, the ole’ red and white.

That was a long time ago. I don’t do that anymore.

Sure it was a juvenile and classless. But as a teenager, I was typically juvenile and classless anyhow. But I later came to the realization that it was a barrier to understanding and sharing such an important message. More importantly, it was an affront to the most basic Anishinaabe teaching of respect.

Many Indigenous people are frustrated and feel they are getting the short end of the stick. Many First Nation families are living in poverty and face unacceptable conditions everyday. (For god’s sake, it’s 2017 and Pikangikum First Nation still doesn’t have running water!)

We’re frustrated by the slow pace of change. Prime Minister Trudeau and his government has said a lot of the right things including a commitment to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and establishing an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. But the results just aren’t visible to us. The pace of bureaucracy is stifling and isn’t matching our expectations. Just what the heck is going on???

So, for historic and personal reasons, many First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, including myself, are refusing to celebrate Canada 150. For my non-Indigenous brothers and sisters, you truly have to understand the narrative, the perspective as well as the facts. Canada has not been kind to Indigenous people. The past 150 years has been deplorable, and frankly, should be embarrassing to each and every Canadian.

That being said, as Indigenous advocates, we still have to realize that there are many, many Canadians who do not know about Indigenous issues or their true history as a country. Many open-minded Canadians might get their backs up, or noses out-of-joint when we challenge their perception of their country and patriotism.

Just this week, I spoke to a volunteer at a local Indigenous event. She was a young, well-educated, middle-class woman working for one of the largest telecommunications companies in Canada. She had no idea what residential schools were and how they have affected our people. She had no idea what the Indian Act was and how it controlled almost every aspect of our lives. She honestly had no clue.

The reality is that there are thousands more, at public events and kitchen tables across Canada that have yet to meet a First Nations person, much less understand our frustrations, complex issues or grasp the need for reconciliation.

How do we influence understanding? How do we bring Canadians along with us, so that they might take personal action on reconciliation? How do we encourage them to share their new found knowledge with their families sitting down at the dinner table? How do we begin to influence their workplace and the corporate environment?

We certainly can’t do that with anger. I realized that I couldn’t win people over when I desecrated the proud symbol of their freedom. It can only be done with patience, kindness and respect.

Forget the trolls and the racists. You’re not going to win them over anyway. Focus on those who may want to listen for they are going to be our future advocates.

I am going to respect those that want to celebrate Canada Day and their nation’s sesquicentennial. I may not Canadian but I know a lot of them. I’m not going to call anyone down who may want to enjoy themselves under the fireworks, an airshow or want to see a giant rubber duck float by.

In turn, I hope that Canadians will respect why we don’t want to celebrate this day and learn more about the true history of Canada, and why change and reconciliation is necessary.

I’ve taken the flag off my a$$ and hope to fly it one day with pride, as true and equal treaty partners.

Things are looking up for this Matthews and Gretzky fan

I’ve been enjoying a lot of hockey lately.  I’m excited to see the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs, assuming the Leafs can clinch a berth.

One of the most exciting things to see is the turn-around of my hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, mainly due to the historic and unbelievable season performances of rookies Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.  Nazeem Kadri is having a pretty amazing year as well.

Last night, I bought my first NHL jersey in 29 years.  I picked up a Auston Matthews #34 jersey at the Leafs/Lightning game.  It’s a pretty exciting thing to see this young man, in his first year, score so many goals, night after night.  I’m looking forward to cheering him on throughout his career.

I did have a wool, knit Leafs jersey when I was six years-old.

It got me to reminiscing about my favorite hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky.  During my childhood, I watched as many Oilers and Kings games as I could on satellite TV and read the NHL Scoring Leaders section of The Nugget everyday.  A few weekends after he was traded to Los Angeles in 1988, I bought the Gretzky # 99, white home jersey, marked with the captain’s ‘C’.  To this day, my favorite NHL teams are Toronto, Edmonton and LA.

I was Youtube-ing some of Gretzky’s highlights and I came upon the night he broke Gordie Howe’s record.  I remember that night very well, October 15, 1990, because many of us Gretzky fans had been following and awaiting the feat where our hero would surpass Gordie Howe to become the highest scoring NHL player of all time.

Classic Gretzky…  late in the 3rd period, the Kings goalie is pulled…  he comes out from behind the net, parks to the open side of the Oilers net and pounces on a backhand into a wide open net.  It was historic.  The league actually stopped the game in the 3rd period, with a 2-2 tie, to honour Gretzky.  Gretzky addressed the cheering crowd in Edmonton.  He was classy.  The Oilers were classy.  And the fans were classy.  You can see the genuine smiles and congratulations offered by Oilers captain Mark Messier and teammates on both sides.  By the way, a few minutes after the ceremony, Gretzky scored the game winner.  Amazing.

Of course, Gretzky had many a career moments like that.  Dozens of NHL records and milestones.  Plenty of memories for a hockey fan.  I was fortunate enough to see Wayne Gretzky play in Toronto in 1998.  It was the only time I seen him in-person.

The Leafs may never lift the Stanley Cup anytime soon and Austin Matthews isn’t likely score 92 goals in a season.  But things are certainly looking up for Leafs fans in Hogtown.