Well, it’s not so much a secret anymore.
The good folks at Maple Street Press (previously described in this space as “lunatic immigrant millionaires with a tenuous-to-non-existent grasp on the English language” who believe they are “allergic to money”) have published the “Maple Leafs Annual 2009-2010”, the newest addition to the Maple Street Press family of sports publications.
I am told that the book may be found in Barnes & Noble bookstores across North America beginning August 18th (oops, relied on some bad info originally) that the book is affordably priced at $12.99 and that it hits newsstands September 8th. It will be available at all Indigo Chapters stores in Canada as well as wherever magazines are sold in the greater Toronto area, including Walmart, grocery stores, drug stores, newsstands, etc. Should you so desire though, gentle reader, you may guarantee yourself a copy by pre-ordering here (this latter option, which involves an additional $5 for shipping and handling, gets the thing directly to your home, trailer or cardboard box, conveniently eliminating any need whatsoever for you to leave your couch, lawn chair or patch of litter-strewn asphalt beneath the highway overpass*)
I hear you now: “Hang on just a second, there, hoss” you are saying. Just what the hell am I pre-ordering anyway by clicking on that magic link up yonder (did you know that you talk like a cowboy with Internet access? Well, you do.) Let me fill you in just a little bit on the details in that regard. Alec Brownscombe, editor of the magazine and the maître d’ at Maple Leafs Hot Stove has posted the whole nine yards about this publication announcement here. I don’t want you to run away across the vast expense of teh Intarwebs just yet though – who knows, all that disorganized clicking and surfing might just break the damn thing, and what a fine mess we’d be in then – so here’s a wee smidgen of what Alec is promising:
Maple Street Press is an independent publishing company that works to produce high quality, authoritative, analytical, and insightful sports publications for the serious fan. More than your generic team guide, the Annual is the first of its kind to offer a variety of comprehensive viewpoints on the topics concerning the Leafs loyalist. We’ve assembled a cast of many of the web’s most knowledgeable Leafs and hockey writers, each of whom offers a unique and insightful perspective with a finger firmly on the pulse of Leafs Nation all the while. Collectively, we offer 128 ad-free pages of relevant Leafs content; analysis, interviews, scouting expertise, in-depth statistics, key information, humour, colour photos and nostalgia included.
I am really quite honoured to have been asked to contribute a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for this exciting project, if only for the chance to get published alongside pieces by some real superstars in the hockey writing world (James Mirtle !) and others by some top-notch bloggers from around the Barilkosphere (including local favourites PPP, Chemmy, Down Goes Brown, eyebleaf, Cox Bloc, Bitter Leaf Fan and Alec Brownscombe himself). These are the real goal scorers on our little writing team (see what I did there? It’s called a “metaphor”, or at least I think it is. We writers are a tricky lot); I consider myself to be more the plucky and dogged (fourth oops, mistake pointed out by Godd Till Sept. 15/09) third line winger, the Bill Berg of Leafs blogging. My article focusses on the arc to be travelled by rebuilding franchises generally and compares the plan adopted by Brian Burke and the Leafs to the model apparently being used by Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli. I know that a lot of the pieces that Alec commissioned for the magazine are what I think professional writers would term “long form”; mine was over 3000 words. I suspect that the Maple Street Press publications are unique in that they are focussed exclusively on a single organization, permitting much more in-depth analysis than the superficial league-wide season previews you’ll avoid reading elsewhere, and I can tell you from my experience writing this piece that the long form permits the writer to really try to develop an actual idea instead of just bombarding you with facts and stats. I am excited to see my own article in print, but I’m absolutely jacked to see what my fellow contributors have come up with for this very reason.
I am also very much looking forward to actually meeting my fellow contributors and literally rubbing shoulders with them at the production wrap cocktail party, which I suppose will likely be some sort of exclusive catered affair, black tie of course, with insanely witty Leaf-related chat over canapes. I hope that it’s “monocle optional”, as mine is in the, er, monocle shop getting repaired. And there’s a bit of a backlog on account of the monocle repairman being so busy. Of course, nobody’s mentioned that there are any actual plans to put on such a shindig, but I have to assume this sort of thing is customary.
As an aside, I would never have guessed that Brad May would be on the cover of a Maple Leafs-related publication but I would suppose that I am no more astonished by that development than Mr. May and his family. Also, to answer the inquiries of my wife: no, I do not know why Luke Schenn doesn’t have a hockey stick in his hands in that photograph. It is safe to assume, however, that the picture was taken just moments before the untimely passing of a brave, if not particularly intelligent, opponent.
In closing, I am not just asking but rather begging you to purchase a copy of this wonderful magazine. Please don’t make me ramp this up a further notch to “threatening.” It would be nice if Maple Street Press actually found this exercise to be a productive and financially rewarding one so that they might consider someday publishing another such magazine and including another such contribution from yours truly, in which case I could ask you to buy yet another magazine and I might be able to then afford to pay the ransom demanded by those kidnappers and get my uncle Russell out of the Sudan safely**. The publisher can’t say stuff like this (you know, on account of consumer protection advertising laws and so on) but, in addition to containing all kinds of wonderful content devoted exclusively to consideration of your Toronto Maple Leafs (individual player profiles! history, analysis and humour! colour photographs!), and apart from the fact that it’s provided to you in a handsome, durable format that is advertisement-free (you’ll need to order your sea monkeys and x-ray specs from another publication), I am told by a reliable source’s best-friends uncle’s cousin twice removed that the magazine also has the salutary effect of causing its purchaser to become instantly more attractive to persons of the opposite sex. Moreover, it cures baldness, premature ejaculation, bad breath, rickets, all golf-swing mechanics problems including both “hooks” and “slices”, leprosy and spontaneous human combustion – at least, there’s no reliable proof yet that it doesn’t do these things.
So, in summary, you should buy it or you might instantly burst into flames.
*assuming you have a ready and reliable supply of snacks already sorted out
**no warranty is made that any actual kidnapping occurred or ransom was demanded. And even if it was, no promises are made that any funds obtained will be applied to the aforesaid ransom demands. Sorry, Uncle Russell***.
*** Uncle Russell may not actually exist.