Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock took yesterday’s scheduled practice time in St. Paul, Minnesota as an opportunity to let his team have some fun and blow off some steam. Instead of conducting a typical practice, Babcock elected to take things outside and have the team play a mini 3 on 3 tournament in one the city's outdoor rinks.
“We looked at the schedule earlier and thought it would be a good opportunity for our guys,” said Babcock. “The morale and the emotion of your team are so important, and enjoying one another, enjoying the opportunity is so important. [Hockey] is a game and you have to have fun doing it. I thought today was a good day.”
Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner’s father was on hand to make the ceremonial puck drop and when it was all said and done he presented the winning team, Nazem Kadri’s black jersey team, with one of Gardiner’s childhood trophies.
“I think it was one of my squirt trophies, and we played for it today,” the younger Gardiner said. “I think he (father) was probably the most excited guy out there. But everyone had a blast today.”
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