Some of you may know me from twitter as @markukleaf and as my handle suggests I’m a Leaf fan living in the UK.
For those who don’t know me, I fell in love with hockey after attending a Leafs game at the ACC when on vacation in Toronto for the first time, back in November of 2000. The less we say about my first game as a fan the better!
Being a fan in the UK has its definite difficulties and without the internet I’m not sure how I would cope. The World Wide Web is basically how I watch 99% of my hockey these days and my only real means of following the game on a day-to-day basis. The wonderful thing about the internet is talking hockey with everyone across the world and being able to form our own little UK Leaf Nation which is crazy when you think about it.
Not as crazy as Twitter after a Leaf loss but you know what I mean.
Although I like to think I’m as passionate about the Leafs as anyone in Toronto, I consider myself a hockey fan first. I follow the game at all levels, from the NHL down to the OJHL but I take a particular interest in the Marlies and the AHL.
I get a real buzz from watching the game at this level, especially when I’m able to attend in person.
For a fraction of the price and a lot closer to the action, you are getting to see the next big stars and hopefully the future of your NHL team.
In watching the AHL regularly I find that I’m learning something new about a certain team or player that you don’t necessarily find in the big league. Aren’t we always learning about hockey?
I try to make as many trips out to Toronto during the season as my bank account and job will allow. I was able to make an extra trip last June to catch the Marlies play Norfolk in the Calder Cup finals. There was no way I was missing out on ‘history being made’ as they say.
Nobody was more crushed than myself after that Game 3 overtime loss. In fact, I still don’t think I’m over that yet!
I’ve had some great experiences while in Toronto, including getting to meet Brian Burke and spend some time talking to him during an intermission as well as meeting Stuart Percy who is one of my favourite young players.
I look forward to writing about some Marlies hockey for We Want A Cup, providing game previews, recaps and some opinion of the team, and I hope I can entertain you all as well as inform. On the count of 1, 2, 3 Lets Go Marlies.