A MAGICAL FEW WEEKS NHL

The season was 1950-51, and the New York Rangers were off to a miserable start. By early December, the “Broadway Blueshirts” were already in danger of falling too far out of the playoff race. They needed something. They needed … a miracle.

Enter restaurateur Gene Leone, a Rangers fan with a slant for promotion. He decided to concoct a mixture from his kitchen, with some red wine for flavour, and give it to the Rangers for a little extra oomph before games. He called it Leone’s Magic Elixir. Desperate, the Rangers bought into it, and incredibly the team started to win!

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Early in the new year they enjoyed a lengthy winning streak, but their big test came in January when they visited Toronto to play at Maple Leaf Gardens, a stop that had been unkind to the team for many years. By now, everyone knew about the magic drink, and Leafs owner Conn Smythe made plans with Canada Customs officers to confiscate the elixir as the players crossed the border.

The Rangers managed to get the elixir across anyway, and staff drove like madmen to the Gardens to administer the potion to the players. It worked. The Rangers won the game, 4-2, and continued to play well for a while longer. An NHL season, though, was seventy games in those days, a very long time to keep a magic potion working wonders. Indeed, by season’s end, the Rangers were in fifth place and out of the playoffs, but for a wonderful few weeks they had an Awakenings experience and played, well, out of their minds.

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