An Inside Look At A 1960s Leaf’s Training Camp Invitation

pappinJim Pappin was an important forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they were winning Cups and doing big things all those years ago. From 1963 to 1968, Pappin bounced back and forth between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans, won a couple of Lord Stanley’s, and eventually retired in 1977 after playing with several teams but mostly in Chicago.

A few years ago, Pappin gave a guy a nice reward for finding his 1967 Stanley Cup ring he’d lost in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida.

Anyway, this morning a fellow named Jason Collins emailed me a copy of a letter he has from Toronto coach and GM George “Punch” Imlach to Pappin 1962, inviting him to Leafs training camp. This kind of stuff always blows my mind. I love it.

I’m retyping the letter because it’s a little hard to read because I’m not savvy enough to download a certain program, so I’m showing the letter and writing what it says below it. It’s simply amazing how much Imlach expected from the rookies condition-wise.

Here’s the letter to Jim Pappin from Punch Imlach, August 2nd, 1962. Pappin was almost 23 at the time and had yet to crack the Leafs lineup.


Maple Leaf Gardens

August 2nd, 1962

Dear Jim,

We will start our training camp on Friday, September 7th at Peterborough, Ontario.

All players are to report to the Empress Hotel Friday morning the 7th. Physical examinations will start at 9.00 am. through to noon. Dinner will be at 1.00 pm. After dinner all players will report to the trainers at the arena at 2.30 pm, and draw their equipment and go for a skate.

Golf will be a must in the training camp schedule. Be sure to bring along your golfing equipment. Arrangements have been completed for the use of the Kawartha Golf Club during training camp.

In view of the fact that nearly all players have cars, I am assuming you will not need railway transportation. However, if you do wish transportation, kindly let us know as soon as possible.

We hope that you have enjoyed the summer and that will attend camp with the attitude that now we are Stanley Cup holders we will show everybody that we deserve it and intend to keep it.

I expect you to report in good condition and not more than 7 lbs. over your playing weight, with a minimum of being able to do: 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, 30 knee bends.

The competition for jobs on the club should be highly contested this year. We have a good crop of rookies and they will get every opportunity to make the club. So, let’s be ready for the competition and not sorry.

We had a few injuries last year so the better your condition, I believe, the less injuries we will receive.

See you in September and let’s make this another profitable year with a big playoff split.

Yours sincerely,

George Imlach

General Manager

7 thoughts on “An Inside Look At A 1960s Leaf’s Training Camp Invitation”

  1. Christopher, what Punch really meant to say was:

    “Golf is a must and begins immediately after the regular season…”

  2. 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, 30 knee bends; what a hard-ass.

    plus Golf is ALWAYS a must in hockey. But that’s only when you know your team’s gonna fall flat on its face.

  3. Such a hard ass. I wouldn’t have put up with it. And reporting to camp no more than 7 pounds? That’s asking way too much.

  4. It takes a true champion; one of olympic proportions to endure this hell hole of a training camp. and 7 pounds! i know something that comes out of people that weighs more than 7 pounds.

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