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PostSubject: a place that people    Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:30 am

Smythe also envisioned building a new shrine for his team. He described it as "a place where people can go in evening clothes, if they want to come there for a party or dinner ... a place that people can be proud to bring their wives or girlfriends to".[66] Smythe purchased a piece of land at the corner of Church and Carlton Streets from the Eaton's department store chain for $350,000.[64] Skeptics argued that Smythe would never get the arena built, nor fill it, as the Depression was in full swing. They referred to the arena plan as "Smythe's Folly".[67] To help fund the arena, the Leafs convinced construction workers to accept 20% of their wages in shares in the arena.[68] Just 4½ months after breaking ground, Maple Leaf Gardens opened on November 12, 1931. Many in the sold-out crowd of over 13,000 wore evening clothes in response to Smythe's stated goal in building the arena.[69] In 1932, five years after Smythe's promise, the Leafs won the Stanley Cup in three games over the Rangers.[70]

Maple Leaf Gardens also featured the famous "gondola", a broadcast booth specially constructed for Foster Hewitt.[64] Hewitt began broadcasting hockey games in 1923 on CFCA, a radio station owned by his father, W.A. Hewitt. It was an assignment he initially did not want.[71] Smythe supported the broadcast of Leafs games in contrast of other team owners, who feared that airing games on the radio would cut into gate receipts.[68] By 1931, Hewitt had established himself as the voice of hockey in Canada with his famous catch-phrase: "he shoots, he scores!"[71] On January 1, 1933, Leafs' broadcasts were first heard across Canada on 20 stations of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (today the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).[72] Hewitt's broadcasts quickly attracted audiences of over one million listeners.[70] The broadcasts became the precursor to Hockey Night in Canada, a Saturday night tradition that continues today



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