The flame of spirit that once shone bright had been doused. Failure had been endured, even accepted as part of their culture. Many believe it only solidified and strengthened the resolve. No heartache or collapse could tear down what they had built, what they represent. Nothing could break them. Or so we had thought.
The “them” and the “they” I speak of are actually an “us”. Leafs Nation.
There is no other nation quite like ours. We’ve survived dictatorship, a wealthy pension fund who only saw bottom lines, and now this. Ruled by rival corporations even the most loyalist of men could not muster trust or faith in (see HNIC). The love, the support, the pride of our fans was so formidable the mightiest of army’s could only defeat, never destroy. The will to move on after disappointment was marvelled at. An almost incomprehensible bond to the colors that was the envy of the sporting world. It is fact, no fans are like Leafs fans. No outside force or organization could match or compete with the great fan-base here in Toronto. But sometimes the devil does his work from within.
First in the form of so called fans here who tore at the principles which made the game and Leaf-bond sacred. Heart, character, bravery were now punchlines as the mockery began. As upsetting it was to witness all this, these acts alone would not serve as enough to defeat the stoic Leafs Nation. It was then that after 40 plus years, the final test had come. They called them “the core”. A group of entitled “stars” had worked their way into the heart of the dressing room, and it was there through scandals like “Salute-gate” that they began to erode at the soul of our self-respect. Do I think these were bad men, despicable humans? No, I do not. They merely didn’t understand the responsibility entrusted to them. To work hard and represent the crest on and off the ice so that the eternal flame of Leafs Nation would never go out. Losing, we can handle. Done it for ages. This, what we witnessed here this season, was something we could not. And as I said at the top…….our flame was doused. Darkness had fallen.
What was this through the shadows and dismay? Seemingly a light, a flicker. Could it be? Surely they could not have survived??? Yet they did. Then it must be made so.
The Hockey Gods gathered and through their discussion it was agreed, unanimously. “They have came through the final stage and still stand. He is to be given unto them to take away their suffering. It is meant to be. The prodigal son will be sent home, to fan the flame that stayed alive through our harshest of tests. His light will shine brightest there, as they have proven most worthy. It is decided and shall be written, McDavid will be a Toronto Maple Leaf. Let them rejoice.”
They say the Hockey Gods work in mysterious ways, and in the end you will understand why you had to go through what you did, Leafs Nation. Today….today we understand.
|Team||Odds of Winning Lottery|
|1. Buffalo Sabres||20.0%|
|2. Arizona Coyotes||13.5%|
|3. Edmonton Oilers||11.5%|
|4. Toronto Maple Leafs||9.5%|
|5. Carolina Hurricanes||8.5%|
|6. New Jersey Devils||7.5%|
|7. Philadelphia Flyers||6.5%|
|8. Columbus Blue Jackets||6.0%|
|9. San Jose Sharks||5.0%|
|10. Colorado Avalanche||3.5%|
|11. Florida Panthers||3.0%|
|12. Dallas Stars||2.5%|
|13. Los Angeles Kings||2.0%|
|14. Boston Bruins||1.0%|