'It's our time': Babcock brings new Raptors-inspired tradition to Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping that some of the Raptors’ championship magic will help their squad reach the winner’s circle this upcoming season.

Head coach Mike Babcock announced after the team’s victory against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday that the players will award a game ball to the player deemed to be the best of that match for each win this season.

“We believe in here, it’s our time,” Babcock said. “That’s what I’ve been told in here by you guys ... When I talked to you, I wrote it down over and over again that you guys are talking about that.”

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This isn’t any game ball, though, as Babcock stated, the ball was used during the Raptors’ Finals series against the Golden State Warriors.

“This is a championship ball lent to us by the Raptors, was in their Finals series, we want to hold the ball, we think it’s our time, we want to go out and dominate everyday, every single night,” Babcock explained. “So what we’re going to do is: I’m going to start by picking the player of the game, every night we win, that’s what you guys are gonna do. It’s our time, folks, we gotta keep getting better each and every day.”

Auston Matthews was the first player to receive the honour as his two-goal performance helped vault Toronto past Ottawa 5-3 in the season opener. He showed off a bit of his basketball skills upon receiving the ball as well, dribbling between his legs and spinning it across one arm to the other.

Given how successful the Raptors have been in the Masai Ujiri era, culminated by their Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy win last season, the Maple Leafs certainly have a high bar to reach in order to keep up with the success of their Scotiabank Arena roommates.

It’s nice that the Raptors are willing to help the Leafs succeed any way they can.

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