Could Pappin have played in Toronto under a different coach? "I honestly don't know." he says. " Toronto is a good town. I'm settled there and I've got a good business going. But it's really hard to play for the Leafs. Since almost all the players in the NHL are from Canada, most of them have friends in Toronto. When they come in for a game they're always met at the airport, and when they get to the hotel their mailboxes are always stuffed with telephone messages and telegrams from friends and relatives. So when they go out to play the Leafs on Saturday night—and those games are always on television—they come out flying. They aren't going to look bad in front of all those people they know. Also, there are a lot of fans who don't care for the Leafs' organization, and when they come to the games they root for the visiting team. So, really, the Leafs don't have a home-town crowd at all; I know Bobby Hull and a few other guys have said they'd rather play the Leafs in Toronto than anyone else anywhere outside Chicago.
"Then comes the toughest part. Say the Leafs lose Saturday night. On Sunday they're going to be on the road, in Chicago or New York or Boston, trying to get well. I think that whole situation up there has something to do with the conservative style Punch coaches."
By contrast, Chicago is noted for its freewheeling tactics. "If you'd given me my choice of teams to be traded to, it would have been Chicago," says Pappin. "I fit right into their style. I didn't have to start out under a lot of pressure, either. I'd look over to my left and there was Bobby Hull putting on his skates, and on my right Stan Mikita was pulling on his pads. Just by being with those guys I felt confident before I even stepped out on the ice."
Reay has teamed Pappin with Pit Martin, a digging, playmaking center, and robust Dennis Hull, who is a good two-way player. At first Bobby was supposed to play on a line with Martin and Pappin, but he has turned up on a line with Chico Maki and Eric Nesterenko. As a result, the Hawks now have three bristling lines. "It doesn't really make that much difference who Bobby plays with," says Reay. "He has the puck most of the time, anyway."
If anyone deserves the credit for landing Pappin, it is Reay. Coaching Sault Ste. Marie in the Eastern Pro League nine years ago, Reay had been very much impressed by a big, strong right wing from Sudbury, Ont. "When you see a kid like that, you don't forget him—no matter who he's playing for," says Reay. "You just take his name and file it away somewhere. And if he ever becomes available, you grab him."
Still, there were several times during the past few years when Pappin seriously considered giving up hockey. He is a horse fancier, and summer usually found him on the backstretch at Woodbine or Fort Erie, cooling out horses and studying the trainers. After working for several years under Jerry Meyer, one of Canada's leading trainers, Pappin went so far as to apply to the Ontario Racing Commission for a trainer's license. After one memorable squabble with Imlach, Pappin exploded, "Why should I put up with him? Jerry earns close to $100,000 a year, and who knows, one day I could be making the big money, too—with a lot less aggravation." But Pappin is a hockey player, and in Chicago he is a happy one.