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Hometown boys on Leafs squad looking forward to playing in front of family, friends

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It hasn't been dubbed 'Reunion Night' but tonight's Winnipeg Jets-Toronto Maple Leafs contest does have its collection of juicy subplots based on that theme.

Among them:

Former Jet and long-time Manitoba Moose boss Randy Carlyle is making his first visit to the MTS Centre as the Leafs' head coach;

Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren, Winnipeg-born tough guys, are in town;

Goaltender James Reimer, the pride of Morweena, will also be suiting up in front of a ton of friends and family;

Long-time Moose and St. John's IceCaps goaltending coach Rick St. Croix is also back, now as the Leafs' goaltending tutor.

"As a coach you always try to check out how many tickets were allotted to certain people," said Carlyle after the Leafs' game-day skate at MTS Centre today. "It used to be that they only had 50 tickets and now with the new CBA (collective-bargaining agreement) the guys have 80 so it makes it a lot easier for the guys to get the 10, 14, 12 tickets.

"There's some hometown boys, some people from the area, and it's always good for them to come home and play in front of their family and their friends."

Reimer, who is 3-3 with a 2.71 goals-against average, did suit up last year for the Leafs during the Jets' rebirth but will again have a lot of his clan in the stands.

"It's a lot of fun to play in front of the people you grew up with, the people that supported you and the people that really got you here," said Reimer. "You don't get to this position without an amazing support staff. I have an awesome family and friends and they're really the reason I'm here so it's really fun to play in front of them. I was able to snag a few (extra tickets) so we've got a pretty good crowd coming."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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