Leafs fan Mike Wil­son sell­ing his mem­o­ra­bilia

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had been for years.

“Whether you col­lect Leafs stuff, beer cans or shoelaces, that gene will be in you to the day you die,” Wil­son said. “Deb and my two kids knew what I was go­ing through the day it all left. I’d had that door signed by 80 present and for­mer Leafs and it was so iconic. They even used it in the Lu­mi­nato arts fes­ti­val.

“I used the room for many fundrais­ing events and wor­ried about con­tin­u­ing that and if my role as a Leafs sto­ry­teller would be­come ir­rel­e­vant. But right af­ter they took it, I had an email from an of­fi­cer at CFB Bor­den. He’d seen the show at the mu­seum and said how much peo­ple, es­pe­cially the mil­i­tary, ap­pre­ci­ated me pre­serv­ing it. That must have been a sign for me from the hockey gods. I felt a lot bet­ter af­ter read­ing that.”

The email also un­der­lined why he thinks cit­i­zens will want a per­ma­nent place in the mu­seum’s plans for his col­lec­tion, along with cel­e­brat­ing the Cana­di­ens, Se­na­tors, Western teams, am­a­teur hockey, women’s hockey, black play­ers, First Na­tions and sledge hockey.

“The Hockey Hall of Fame cov­ers the sport in­ter­na­tion­ally and does a won­der­ful job, but Ot­tawa could fo­cus on the his­tory and fu­ture of the game solely from a Cana­dian per­spec­tive,” Wil­son sug­gested. “Es­pe­cially in a mu­seum that’s our ver­sion of the Smith­so­nian.”

Thuet served six years on the Toronto His­tor­i­cal Board and en­joyed giv­ing tours of Wil­son’s Leafs-themed ex­hibit to all ages.

DAVE THOMAS/TORONTO SUN FILES

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