Ides 81: Planets
As in Januarys past, this month’s Ides was inspired by another little-known and now-defunct Toronto sports franchise: the Toronto Planets. Established 30 years ago for the fledgling International Roller Hockey League, the Planets played their home games at Varsity arena against such teams as the Sacramento River Rats, the Empire State Cobras, and the Edmonton Sled Dogs.
The Planets played in the summer, on concrete, wearing inline skates. With Gretzky’s trade to Los Angeles blowing up hockey in the U.S. and the inline skate fad in full force, it seemed like the perfect time to launch the league.
Former Leafs Lou Franceschetti and Dan Daoust would each play a half-dozen games, even though they had barely ever skated on inlines. “It’s only my sixth or seventh time on the blades so I was a little nervous,” Daoust told The Toronto Star after his debut, “I find stopping is very hard.”