Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland was the honourary drawmaster on Tuesday for the 31st annual North America Cup which takes place Saturday at Mohawk. It was a chance for the Toronto native to get to the track and bring some exposure to the event.
After taking a few weeks off following the conclusion of his first season with the Leafs, Bolland has been working out and preparing himself for the year ahead where he hopes to be wearing the Blue and White.
“I want to stay a Leaf but things always happen and being a UFA you have options to go out there and to explore the market but I want to be a Leaf,” Bolland said.
Bolland admitted that he did return too soon from his injury but the time off following the conclusion of the season has helped him recover from the severed ankle tendon.
“The ankle is doing great,” he said. “I had the time to let the ankle rest and also strengthen my leg and do physio that I had to do to get it better.”
Although the Leafs haven’t made any on-ice changes yet, Bolland was pleased with the addition of Brendan Shanahan as Leafs President and feels it’s an excellent move for the hockey club.
“He has been a big part of winning teams and you can see his credentials so I think having him with the Leafs is going to be great,” Bolland said.
The two Mimico products have known each other for several years and Shanahan’s younger brother (Brian) even coached the Leafs centre when he was younger in hockey and lacrosse.
“He was a big influence on my career,” Bolland said of Brendan Shanahan. “I remember talking to him and figuring out what I was doing wrong in my game and helping me get to the next level and the NHL and to stay in the NHL.”
It is closing in on one year since the Leafs acquired Bolland from the Blackhawks on Draft Day. It was a day that he admits was filled with mixed emotions.
“Both sadness and excitement,” he said. “Leaving a team of friends I was with for eight years and growing a good bond with to coming to Toronto where I grew up and a team I watched growing up to be here and to be a part of it and to be a Leaf is great too.”
Leafs Nation hopes the luck of the draw will see Bolland back in Blue and White.