By Paul Osborne, Guelph Mercury
It is almost a miracle that a skinny, straggly-haired kid from Chicago made it to the NHL to play for one of the most storied franchises in the world.
Garret Sparks came to Guelph in 2010 as the team’s third goalie. He didn’t come because the Guelph Storm won a bidding war for his services, fighting off other teams from the Canadian Hockey League and the NCAA. He came because Guelph was the only the team that called.
Yet there he was last Nov. 30 suiting up for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That night he accomplished something no other Leaf netminder had accomplished before him – not Turk Broda, not Curtis Joseph, not Felix Potvin, not even Johnny Bower – he earned a shutout in his NHL debut with the Leafs.