What is it with Toronto Maple Leaf fans, anyway?
Normally balanced and intelligent folks in other matters, they square their shoulders and puff out in pride whenever the word “Leafs” is heard.
Instantly, the arrogance rises, reality departs, and delusions arise so strong their faces turn blue as their ears go white.
Leaf fans are so pathologically passionate that, before the pandemic, they would happily pay an average $201 for a game seat, then dig deep for a $17 beer to wash down a $13 chicken sandwich.
Then they whine and cry when Leaf players don’t get all three stars.
Their preacher is a late night sports radio host who calls the Leafs “God’s Team.”
A Leaf follower would consider, in a heartbeat, swapping the spouse and kids for a pair of season tickets.
All of which is baffling, because the cold hard facts belie the arrogance exhibited by the average Leaf fan.
In 103 years of existence the Leafs have won the Stanley Cup only 13 times. It has been 53 years since the team last laid hands on the mug.
Since the Leafs last won the Cup, every other original six team of the NHL has won the title (the last being the Blackhawks of Chicago.) Even 16 expansion teams have hoisted it since then.
To find the Leafs named on the Stanley Cup you have to look to the bottommost, furthest removed band.
But the fans don’t get it. If Toronto wins the first exhibition game of the season the switchboard at the Royal York lights up like a Christmas tree from fans booking rooms for the Stanley Cup parade down Yonge Street.
I have seen corroboration of the above many times.
Once, while at Scotiabank Centre, I visited the venue’s merchandise shop where patrons are gouged on sweaters, hats, etc. With everything in sight bearing the Leafs’ logo, I politely asked the salesman if he could direct me to the Blackhawks section.
His face turned blue, his ears turned white. The look he gave was so contemptuous I thought he would call security, and I escaped out of fear for my personal safety.
Another example of Leaf fantasy occurred when I lived in the GTA (Whitby) during the Douggie Gilmour years. The moment the Leafs won to advance to the 1993 Conference Finals (note: not the Cup finals), the entire town went nuts that Sunday afternoon.
Boisterous merrymaking broke out from every home and an impromptu car parade moved through the downtown with horns honking. Though a clear breach of the Sabbath and every noise bylaw on the books, no charges were ever laid.
Probably because the police led the parade, with sirens blaring.
The Leafs lost the next series.
Randy Evans is a Sarnia resident and frequent contributor currently living incognito in an undisclosed location