One of the most popular goalies in the post-Original Six of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mike Palmateer was quirky and exciting, fun-loving and entertaining. He also happened to be an excellent goalie until knee injuries forced him to retire at age thirty.
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Everything about Palmateer was fun. He wore a series of masks in blue and white that were engaging for their design. He flopped and dived in his crease like a ballerina or a drunk, depending on whether or not his acrobatic efforts kept the puck out of the net. Everything he did looked a little awkward because he was small and caught with his right hand. He was loved by fans and teammates, and was part of the teams of 1978 and 1979, when the Leafs came closest to getting back to the Stanley Cup finals.
Mike Palmateer enjoyed popcorn before games.
Palmateer also sported curly hair and this, combined with his love of eating popcorn before a game, earned him the nickname “The Popcorn Kid.” Popcorn never was known as a stimulant or an effective food group to aid a goalie’s performance, but it was his belief that a few kernels before the game would help him play better.