With Playoff season upon us, I am completely amazed to see so many Toronto Maple Leaf fans popping up. There are more Leaf (or “Laff” fans as I usually refer to them as) around than there are during the regular season, where the team can actually be seen ‘playing’ hockey. Despite the fact that the leafs have been ousted from the playoffs since 1967, the fans of this team of non-winners keep crawling out of the woodwork.
The funny thing is, that during the playoffs, instead of standing behind their team when it matters most (the golf finals), Leaf fans are watching the habs play, and booing every time they win a series, or even score a goal, for that matter.
Leaf fans come in all sorts of sizes and ages. These non-fans can range from the very young to the old and old at heart, and they faithfully still believe a Stanley Cup is within their range, even though it has been over 40 years since they brought home Lord Stanley. Armed with a worn out set of golf clubs, Leaf players continue to disappoint the faithful fans year after year.
In this province, hockey rivalry is stronger than politics, and fans are born, not made. Back in the day, a Newfoundland hockey fan cheered for either one of the Original Six, but mostly for one of three teams: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, or the Toronto Maple Leafs; but never for more than one team. It was sacrilege for a Hab fan to cheer for the Leafs or Bruins, and vice-versa, and anyone caught doing so was hailed a ‘non-fan’ and a disgrace to his team.
Hockey is still a very touchy topic here in the province, and I have seen many a fist fight break out because someone mentioned how the habs had a better team than the leafs did. Wearing your team colors also inspired many fights. Never go to a Leaf fan’s home to watch a game if you choose to wear the red and blue, or else, you guessed it, a major argument or even a violent confrontation could erupt.
During this year’s playoffs, the problem seems even worst than other years. What is the reason for so many leaf fans to be tuning in to hab’s games, cheering for the opposing teams, and jeering and heckling the wins that the habs have handed to their opponents? Could it be that for once, fans actually believed that the leafs could have gone all the way this year? I can’t believe that to be true. I thing it has something to do with the fact that the team who is surprising everyone would not have made the playoffs if the leafs had beaten them in the last game they played. That’s right, the Leafs were the ones who were behind it all. A 3-3 tie gave the habs the one point they needed to enter the post season, and to everyone’s surprise, the little 8th place team is beating teams who finished high in the season’s standings. I see envy in leaf fans’ faces.
Oh well, maybe next year. The Leafs claim that they are rebuilding, and that everyone should watch out for them next year. For this year, Leaf fans will have to continue listening to jokes like :
What do you call 25 men watching a habs game? The Toronto Maple Leafs!!