Wendel Clark, the Greatest Maple Leaf!


Wendel Clark was my idol growing up as a child and into adulthood.  He is first and foremost my hero. I wanted to be tough like him to tackle any obstacle in my path.

In 1985, I moved to Ontario from Newfoundland. My life turned upside down. I left the safety of my small town in Newfoundland for Big City Ontario. I was a lost, confused, scared little child. I was looking for my hero.

That same year, Wendel Clark was also transplanted to Toronto as the #1 draft pick in 1985. This was considered to be the only smart move that dear old Harold Ballard ever made as the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wendel started with a smash. Banging and crashing into anything that stood in his way.  He was known for his accurate wrist shots and iron fists. He bled for the blue and white. The fans recognized this and showered him with love and admiration. I was hooked the moment I saw him throw on that #17 sweater. I found my hero.

Those years were some of the best years of his life. He mixed up with many a notable enforcer. Minnesota’s Basil McRae, Detroit’s Bob Probert. He fought them all and racked up some nice goals.  Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark were royalty in Toronto.  I would sit in class, wishing hard for Saturday night to come so I could watch the Leafs games with my dad.  For those three hours, I would forget about the world. I was at peace.

In 1994, the world stopped rotating for me. I can still hear the words rolling off my mother’s tongue as I got home from school. The Leafs had traded my hero. That day, I replayed the scenario over and over in my head hoping it wasn’t true. My heart was heavy and full of fear. What was I to do now? Wendel was a Nordique.

Over the course of the next 5 or 6 years, Wendel was an Islander, a Maple Leaf, a Red Wing, a Blackhawk and a Lightning. Life was just not the same. I was teased as he was traded back to the Leafs only to see him leave again. However, each and every time he put on the blue and white, I felt proud. I had someone to look up to. I ate, lived and breathed #17.

In the 2001-02, I fell back in love with collecting hockey cards. Across from my apartment was a local comics store that happen to sell hockey cards. I opened up a pack of 2001-02 Upper Deck Foundations hockey and landed a Wendel Clark jersey card! Now I could own a piece of my hero.  I felt rejuvenated; I captured the happiness I felt as a 12 year old boy again. I wanted that feeling to last forever.

Until now, many Wendel Clark hockey cards have been produced, but none capture the happiness I felt as a 12-year-old boy like this card does.

Blog Post Inspiration:
Manufacturer: Upper Deck
Year: 2001-02 Upper Deck foundations.
Attributes: Game Used jersey card
Serial number: 70/150
Card # TC-25
Card Status: Will be kept in my personal collection forever.

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