The Toronto Maple Leafs celebrated the franchise’s 100th anniversary earlier this week and did so in style with an 8-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. James van Riemsdyk potted home the Leafs’ third goal in that landmark game and it happened to be the 20,000th goal in franchise history.
The Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) wanted to put JVR’s stick on display, only there was a problem. Van Riemsdyk broke his stick in the third period and jettisoned his twig just like he has done with hundreds of sticks throughout his hockey career.
In a press release Friday afternoon, however, the HHOF announced that thanks to some help from Air Canada Centre staff, the broken stick has been recovered and it will be put on display at some point in 2018.
“A special thanks to the staff over at the Air Canada Centre for helping the Hockey Hall of Fame recover this important part of Toronto Maple Leafs history,” HHOF of Fame curator Philip Pritchard said in the press release.
The goal was van Riemsdyk’s team-leading 16th of the season and the significance of the franchise milestone was not lost on the 28-year-old winger.
“They told me between periods,” he said via the Toronto Sun following the game. “That speaks to the tradition and the history we have here. Just to have a small piece of that is pretty cool.”