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YOU TAKE THE PUNCH OR QUIT
Pete Axthelm
December 12, 1966
Few Toronto hockey players really like their coach, but most Maple Leafs grant him more than grudging admiration
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December 12, 1966

You Take The Punch Or Quit

Few Toronto hockey players really like their coach, but most Maple Leafs grant him more than grudging admiration

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"No comment."

"How long is the contract for?"

"No comment."

"Are you satisfied with the compromise you reached?"

"No comment."

There were five more questions, five more quick "no comment" replies. Then Punch looked up from his desk, his eyes wide and his face breaking into an innocent smile. "Is there anything else that you fellows would like to know about it?" he asked.

It has all become a kind of pleasant game for the man who would like everyone to believe that he is grim and uncompromising in everything he does. "I've learned to enjoy life," he once admitted. "I've got a good organization and a solid job. It would be pretty stupid of me if I didn't get some fun out of the whole thing. Sure, things will be tough at times and I'll get mad. But don't worry about us—no matter what goes wrong, I'll be in the playoffs.

"You know," he added, "people tell me I shouldn't keep saying, 'I, I, I,' when I talk about the team. It sounds bad. They say I should say 'we' or 'the club.' But I must admit I can't help it. I get so damn involved with what I'm trying to do, it feels like it's all my own private problem."

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