Pavel Bure was playing with the Florida Panthers at the time and they were visiting the Air Canada Center in Toronto. This is the only game I remember going to that did not involve the Leafs playing the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bure was the reason why.
No other player in the league has ever excited me the same way Bure did. Every time I stepped out on my backyard rink I suddenly transformed myself into "The Russian Rocket". Constantly practicing his toe-to stick-to the back of the net deke (see video).
I have yet to fully perfect it at the same speed Bure was able to accomplish the move. What a player!
Travelling to the game that night when Bure was in Toronto I so badly wanted to see him score a goal. And what a goal he scored.
Bure got the puck on the side boards in the Leafs end and drifted towards the middle of the ice. In the blink of an eye he then sent a blistering wrist shot into the top corner of the net. It was magic, and a dream come true for a young child like me.
Anyone who is a hockey fan knows, Bure was just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Exactly where he deserves to be.
Without him, and without the skill and speed that he brought to the game, I may not have fallen in love with the pace that hockey is played at.
Hockey has always been a great love and passion of mine. However, because of Bure hockey has become my life.
Overall, I would like to thank my childhood idol, Pavel Bure, for everything. Congratulations.