The current-day Maple Leafs saw several team and individual streaks stopped last night when they lost 3-1 in New York to the Rangers, and you can find out about those elsewhere. In March of 1980, the Leafs were in the middle of a four-game losing slide when a fan shed his clothes, jumped the glass, and vaulted onto the ice near the end of a game against the St. Louis Blues. He kept his socks on, red ones, and brandished a sign: “Leafs are # 1.”
Maybe you recall the reality of the Leafs in the early ’80s: they weren’t. Sitting fourth out of five teams in the old Adams Division, the Leafs fell in the first round of the playoffs that year to the Minnesota North Stars.
A couple of Toronto policemen, Rene Lessard and John Pepper, chased the streaker down. According to one local account, Thomas Enright, 25, got a “semi-standing ovation” as he was taken away to be charged with indecent exposure. Down 3-1, the Leafs took heart and got a late goal from Darryl Sittler, thought that was as close as they came.
“I have never seen something like that before,” said the Blues’ Wayne Babych, who scored a pair of his team’s goals. “”You had to chuckle about it for a while after that and it was a bit distracting.”
“It was a great performance by that guy,” Maple Leaf Gardens president Harold Ballard said, adding that he was pleased to have an attraction in the building that he didn’t have to pay for. Enright’s naked ambition was front-page news in the Toronto Star next day.
A week later in Provincial Court, a fully dressed Enright pleaded his guilt. Judge Sydney Harris wasn’t having it, and dismissed the charge. “Naked in a public place, maybe, but not indecent exposure.”
“I just wanted to liven things up,” Enright told reporters afterwards. “It was just in fun. I’ll never do it again. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”