Toronto, ON The Maple Leafs returned to the second season after a 9 year drought, and as a result the fans, both real and bandwagony, celebrated like they never have before. Sure, it’s been 9 years, but I personally can’t remember passion like this in the days when the Leafs always had a spot in the Top 8 in the East. And, I might add, I’ve been to my fair share of 3OT games at the ACC, so that’s saying a lot! However, perhaps depriving Torontonians of playoff hockey for so long caused a lot of us to overindulge in ways we just never did back when we took our playoff making prowess for granted. So, today we take a look at all the bad things a 9 year playoff drought will do to a Canadian NHL fan base. Enjoy!
I don’t know about you, but the NHL playoffs make me horny, and they make me even hornier when I’ve got tickets to see my hometown team defend the honour of my city. Sadly, in keeping with my plan to not spend money on non-new arenas this season (post-Lockout) I only had free tickets to Game 4 of the Leafs/Bruins series. Furthermore, playoff OT makes me hornier still! So between Game 4 heading to sudden death, Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow (Kit Harington) being in attendance, and the fact that my “male companion” was literally built like a god (with a face to match!), I spent most of my 2013 ACC playoff experience sitting in an actual love puddle.
That being said, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been on the prowl due to raging playoff related hormones. With more people wearing their blue and white with pride, more men and women were able to break the ice like never before. There’s just something about a hockey jersey that makes strangers more approachable, so I’m quite sure random hook ups were occurring all over TO the past couple weeks. Of course, I play ball a different way. In fact, it’s when I’m NOT wearing Leafs stuff that I’m more likely to be on the prowl. You see, an explanation is always demanded from me for not showing my Toronto pride during the playoffs, and I’ve found that the only acceptable response to this wardrobe *malfunction* is, “My underwear is blue.” Checkmate.
It has been 9 years. 9 years since we have gathered around the big screens at our favourite watering holes to cheer for important games that didn’t involve Olympic torches or World Junior Gold. Is it a shock that for 7 games we flocked to our favourite pubs? Is it a shock that for 7 games we consumed large quantities of grease and ale? No. Hell, I’m sure I packed on a few pounds over the last couple weeks. Luckily, most of that weight is likely just the swelling of my liver. I guess since the Leafs have been out of the playoffs for so long, we had a lot of lost time to make up for, and, perhaps, some of us were worried about the Leafs ability to make the playoffs next year with a full 82 game season. Personally, I felt guilty staying in on Leafs game night, especially since I won’t be here next year whether the Leafs make the playoffs or not.
If you’re like me, then the debacle that was Game 7 in the Leafs/Bruins series was likely your messiest night of the entire campaign. The drinks kept flowing as many of us sat in the bar stunned until we were finally ready to fight anyone in yellow in the back of the parking lot. After the game ended, and the highlight recap of the Leafs breakdown had been viewed no less than 30 times, cocktails became straight shots, classy establishments became filthy bars overrun with what I can only describe as walking blow jobs, and good decisions became 4AM Big Macs. Oh, and for the record, no NHL signing bonuses are now in my possession as per my usual Niagara misadventures. P.S. I watched Game 7 in Niagara…
When I looked down at my Game 4 tickets for the first time, I noticed something odd. The letters T.B.A. were not only listed under date/time, but also under price. It seems MLSE was waiting to see how much they could bleed from their loyal fans after 9 years of incompetency. And, if that’s not bad enough, fans were also getting raped on the streets. It was rumored that standing room admission was going for $200 a pop!
If 7 late nights isn’t enough to make anyone lazy, then I don’t know what is. However, the playoffs in Toronto actually emphasized the laziness of the bandwagon/casual fans over the past 9 years. In Toronto we like to believe that we are somehow superior to a lot of the fan bases in the States. We like to think that we are a hardcore bunch of fans that never turn our backs on the team no matter how badly they might be slumping! Unfortunately, many of us learned the harsh and disgusting truth this spring. My Facebook timeline was assaulted by Leafs related updates from people I’m quite sure haven’t seen an NHL game in 9 years. Their constant status updates were delivered with such passion, which only succeeded in making them all the more vile.
Of course, it’s not just the Leafs fan community that has had to deal with the newcomers, those loyal “anyone but the Leafs” fans also had to deal with a lot of intruders, too. During Game 7 there was this “huuuuuuuge” Bruins fan at the bar. He was chirping everyone like an asshole all game long. Finally, as the game went into sudden death, everyone could hear him remark to his buddy, “So explain to me how OT works. Do they play 5 minutes, or what?” Enough said.
Uhhh… Did you actually WATCH Game 7? Up 4-1 and the Leafs somehow managed to fuck it up and lose the game! As Leafs fans, we were stunned, and yet not entirely shocked. You know, since they are the Leafs and all. Luckily the wrath of the city of Toronto in the wake of Game 7 seemed to be fairly contained, as riot police were brought in prior to puck drop to prevent any possible “situations.” However, if losing the biggest game in the last 9 years of franchise history wasn’t enough to make everyone angry, Leafs fans had to deal with being raped on tickets, a raging 2 week hangover, and the exhaustion of being tolerable to bandwagon fans and ultra fake “sports reporters,” who were suddenly “supporting” this team despite outwardly mocking fan favourite, Joffrey Lupul, for being traded here in 2011. Yep, I’m not above wishing suicide on such individuals. I never forget.
Like most people watching Game 7, I counted my chickens before they hatched, and was pretty much planning what I was going to wear to the Stanley Cup parade. I was hoping for the Leafs and Rangers to advance to the next round, as I had a pair of Game 5 tickets with my name on them. I could practically taste the $15 ACC beer when I was rudely snapped back to reality with the EPIC meltdown from the boys in blue. Now I’m more than a little jealous of all the other fan bases in the NHL that still have live (local) hockey to watch. BAH!
In sports we are told that pride is a good thing, but it is easy to see how too much pride can quickly go bad (especially on the bandwagon). Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the unfortunate individuals who brought those Toronto Stronger, etc signs to the ACC. Seriously?! As per my BB&T Center post, blue and white pride was getting to nauseating and douchey levels, as people donning the blue leaf were making giant asses of themselves in the home of the Panthers. But it takes a seriously disturbed individual to think that turning the Boston Strong message, and all it represents, against the Bruins was a good idea. Of course, I also question the cameraman who thought it was a good move to purposely pan to these signs as well, and give the sign makers the gratification of the camera’s attention. However, too much pride doesn’t just lead to poor judgment calls when it comes to game day shenanigans, pride also has the power to blind, and, well, many people were quick to start making excuses for the Leafs within minutes of that notorious Game 7 breakdown. Remember, kids, excuses are the things 46 year Stanley Cup droughts are made of.
Top Photo: When you’re this gross, you pretty much have to wear NHL themed panties! (Game 4)