The Banner

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banner-cupAbout a year ago I received an email from Wayne Parsons who went on to say how much he admired our collection and the blogs. He also commented that he was quite a fan himself and had some items we might have some interested in. This has become a regular occurrence from other Leaf fans or collectors so at first I didn’t give it much thought except to thank him for his kind words. Wayne explained that his father was a longtime Gardens employee who acquired a number of items over the years and that there were some he knew we wouldn’t have. He went on to describe a number of items and then mentioned he had an original Stanley Cup Banner. Well as folklore goes, they had been used as paint tarps during summer cleanups at the Gardens and had been sadly all destroyed. (Cliff Fletcher had hung replicas to relive Leaf history during his tenure as COO, President and GM of the club. ) My immediate thought was, this was one of those and wasn’t that historic. Was I in for a surprise.

Norm Parsons (Wayne’s father) worked at Maple Leaf Gardens for 41 years as the upholsterer who happened to get along with Harold Ballard quite well. Norm arrived at work one summer morning during the summer clean up that included painting throughout the Gardens when he discovered the banners were missing from his 3rd floor shop. To his dismay he noticed that they were strewn over the seats used as tarps to protect paint from splashing. Furious, he then headed back to the shop and discovered one of the banners had been left behind were at that moment, Norm wrapped it up, stuffing it into a cupboard before it too was ruined. When Norm later informed Ballard what happened, not surprising, Harold couldn’t have cared less. Parsons mentioned he saved one of the banners and wondered what to do with it. Ballard said to throw it out because it wasn’t of any use and as he has done over the years with other items being thrown out Norm, asked if he might have the banner for himself. True to form Ballard blurted out an obscenity filled response okaying the request. Norm wrapped the banner up, took it home and presented it to Wayne who has held on to it ever since.

Wayne has made it clear he wanted the banner in a place it would be appreciated and preserved. We are not just collectors but rather consider our collection and purpose as preservers of Maple Leaf historic artifacts, so you can imagine my excitement when Wayne offered the banner to me. It’s all about the story and this 1962 banner is filled with all kinds of intrigue.