A man who reminds us of our destiny unfulfilled.
A clear path to follow. The tribe awakens. A Nation hungers and thirsts to reclaim its glory, to resume the quest. There's a connection... Continuity...
They can feel it...
A link to the past...
And so begins a new era...
Born April 10, 1985, Dion Phaneuf was just 25 years of age on June 14th, 2010, when he became the 17th Captain in the illustrious history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Having joined the team mid-season last year, Dion has appeared in just 26 games with the tribe, yet his impact and influence were immediately present. The Leafs were once again defiant, no longer afraid to lose, and asserting their ambition to win.
“That, to me, was where he was making a statement to everyone in the building that he wanted to be a captain here,”
Our Captain arrived on one of the most explosive days in Leafs history, emerging from the dust of the incredible shake up that became known as The Great Overhaul. Cast adrift were Hagman, Stajan, and the noble Ian White, yet also launched overboard was the anti-productive trio of Mayers, Blake, and Toskala, along with the dead weight of a losing atmosphere. Clearing the air and breathing new life into the team were Sjostrom, Conn Smythe trophy winner Giguere, and standing tallest of all, Dion Phaneuf.
"I believe January 31 will go down as a critical day in the timeline of this team. That’s when things started to change. You could see it."
"As soon as he came in he had a major impact on our room. I think it was obvious to everybody."
“He made a big impact... ...took over the room a little bit. A guy that plays hard. Plays whistle to whistle the right way, holds his teammates accountable."
404 NHL games played. 77 goals, 161 assists, 238 points. 556 penalty minutes. 22 of his 77 goals are game-winners.
His first historic goal as a Maple Leaf:
His second goal as a Maple Leaf, the very next game, the last game of the season, in overtime:
"I think the best way to lead is you don't have to be the loudest guy but you definitely want to be the guy who's working the hardest day in and day out."
-Toronto Maple Leafs Captain, Dion Phaneuf
The past, the present, the future. The circle is once again complete. Ahead of us is only a focal point with no horizon. The Dawn Is Here Now.
The time of In-Between-Pride is at an end. A new era truly begins - one that promises to be a long and ambitious adventure - with honour restored, and glory awaiting us. The Captain has thankfully returned, and with him perhaps, the passion and spirit that will reunite the Nation and make our adversaries crumble with dread. Be it known from this point on that a hero has been chosen to rally behind, the only purpose is victory, and that war shall be declared if ever even one drop is spilled from the blood of my Chief.
(And that's a complete set, I think. I can't imagine there'll be a 7th volume. If you want to read the whole series, they're all here, though a lot of the pictures are missing now.)