Recently there was a vote in Canada.  Surprise, surprise, it was to choose the greatest hockey player. Those voting were to consider who displayed the greatest skills, courage, teamwork and—most of all—the greatest leadership.

The overwhelming choice was Bobby Baun. Why? Well for all you Yanks who do not live and breathe hockey folklore, Bobby Baun was the captain of the 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs. Not unlike today, the greatest team on Earth was struggling, yet finally had their chance to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. All they had to do for the cup was to get past their archrival, the Detroit Red Wings.

With 10 minutes left in Game 6, Baun slid to the ice to block a shot from Gordie Howe. Although visibly injured, Baun continued to play until he finally collapsed. The arena fell silent as the captain was taken off the ice on a stretcher at the end of the period.

Needless to say the fans were ecstatic when Baun returned for the final period and then roared uncontrollably when he fought on to score the winning overtime goal, forcing a Game 7, which eventually  led to the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.

So why was Bobby Baun voted the greatest hockey player of all time? Given the way Bobby fought back in the third period to lead his beloved Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup may have been enough. However, the game became hockey folklore when it was discovered that Bobby led his beleaguered team to an overtime victory, fighting back and scoring the winning goal, all with a broken leg—  a broken leg that was suffered in the third period prior to overtime.

So I guess when I look at that tough third period, similarly we are all coming off the bench to play against our archrival team, nSTEC. I’m wondering where did our Bobby Bauns go?  By now we are all aware of the existence of non-O157 Shiga toxin E coli, yet we still have not come together with our counterparts in the Canadian government to formulate a strategy, based on food science, to responsibly deal with these pathogens.

We cannot and should not wait for a final rule from our beloved baseball-loving friends to the south. As well, we must independently consider all of the available science and based on what we learn in cooperation with the CFIA, take the appropriate actions at harvest and through the food chain.

If the CFIA and Canadian industry came out for the overtime period and independently led our own scientific studies and compared our notes with our American counterparts, and then based on that science made decisions that led to responsible action, perhaps even the great Bobby Baun would be proud.