I have been cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs since childhood, being fortunate enough to witness the Mats Sundin era teams. Since then I have enjoyed watching players such as Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, James van Riemsdyk, James Reimer, and Mikhail Grabovski don the Leafs’ sweater. The current glut of skill on the team has brought optimism for the future. However, for my fellow Leafs’ fans out there, I have some bad news to share.
According to @jakesj933858108 (name has been changed to protect identity) on Twitter, the Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s a long time. @jakesj933858108 was kind enough to do the math for me and point out that it’s been over 52 years. I was further informed that past performance dictates future success. However it is evidently not a dichotomous problem when noting that the Leafs have the second amount of Stanley Cup championships of any team in the league (It’s true, I looked it up, they have 13 Stanley Cup wins, second only to the Montreal Canadiens).
Obviously, Leafs’ fans, I was as shocked as you currently are by this revelation. Such an astute observation has changed my life in so many ways. I have been moved to reassess my relationships, my goals in life, and, most importantly, the ice hockey team I choose to support. This was no mere lazy insult, recycling a tired, worn-out narrative, rather, it was a well thought out and eloquently argued position. Leafs’ fans would no doubt be unaware that it has been so long since winning a Stanley Cup.
Now @jakesj933858108 is apparently a Detroit Red Wings fan. I of course could have taken a less nuanced approach and discussed the fact that the Leafs currently have twice the amount of points as the last-place Red Wings. Or perhaps I could have pointed out that prized free-agent signing from a couple of years ago, Frans Nielsen, has yet to score a goal and has a paltry two assists (earning 5.25 million per season for 2.5 more years, bargain!), but that’s just low-hanging fruit.
The ultimate and irrefutable argument according to @jakesj933858108, was “1967” and “52 years”. This particular user’s argument was strengthened by directing a homophobic comment at myself, and implying that another user had taken too many shots to the head and was mentally impaired as a result.
It’s at this stage that I regretfully inform you that I am stepping away from writing and from hockey to concentrate on more important thi… psych! It is, however, a reminder that attempting to enter into a respectful exchange of ideas with such an individual is, as the saying goes, like playing chess with a pigeon. He’ll knock the pieces down, crap all over the board, and then strut around like he won the game.
To paraphrase the great comedic talent Hannah Gadsby, I snack on this stuff, it makes me stronger.
For fans who have endured Mike Komisarek, David Clarkson (TWICE!), Vesa Toskala et al, you’re going to need to be a little more creative to penetrate the hardened, embittered soul of your average Leafs’ fan.
So in the future, @jakesj933858108, or anyone else for that matter, be a bit more innovative with your anti-Leaf sentiments and stay away from the homophobic and mental health insults, your mom wouldn’t approve. Remember, it’s her basement, her rules.