No, the Toronto Maple Leafs Don’t Have Home Ice Advantage

Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing at their home arena means nothing.

Technically, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play all their games this summer on home ice, but is that really an advantage?

When the NHL was considering hub cities in order for hockey to return, the preference was to have one on the east side and the other on the west. They were able to accomplish that as the hub cities ended up being the beautiful city of Toronto and Edmonton.

When the league was selecting hub cities, many things were taken into consideration. One of the biggest things the league was trying to avoid was for any team to have home ice advantage. This meant having the Eastern Conference on the west coast and the Western Conference on the east coast.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Home

That wasn’t the case though as the Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing their games at Scotiabank Arena. Even with the Leafs playing all their games in their home city, there’s no real advantage for the team.

Usually when talking about home ice advantage, the biggest thing that factors into that is the fans. When playing at home, you have more fans cheering you on which energizes and motivates the players. When the Leafs play at home, the seats are filled with a sea of blue but there are no fans at the games.

Another thing about playing at home is the players get to sleep in their own beds. While this doesn’t go to all players, some like their own bed a lot more than a hotel bed due to comfort, being able to be surrounded by family, familiarity of the city and its surrounding as well as other factors.

Even though they’re in Toronto, the Leafs “travelling party” can’t stay at their houses in which they are staying at the Royal York hotel.

Also for home games, the home team usually has access to more amenities like a nicer locker room for example.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will still have access to their locker room but in games three and four (if necessary), they will have to use the visitor locker room as they are the away team.

As expected, the Leafs locker room is a lot nicer than the visitor’s locker room at Scotiabank Arena and a weird feeling may kick in for the players when not being able to use their normal space their accustomed to.

Let’s just say fans were allowed to go to games.

The arena would be packed, especially when the Leafs play. Fans or no fans though, at the end of the day, it’s just hockey being played on ice that’s no different from the ice in say Philadelphia or Boston.

It’s not like baseball where the home team gets to bat last and have the advantage of the bottom of the 9th if they trail at that point and know the surroundings of their home field. In baseball, each major league diamond is different than one another but in hockey, all the ices in the different arenas are the same.

Also, it could be weird for the players to play in a relatively quiet environment and seeing nothing in the crowd when they look up. While it will be different, all these players were used to playing with very few people in the seats when they were kids which goes to members of both teams.

Next. How Concerned Should the Leafs Be?. dark

Despite playing in their home city, they have no home ice advantage and they just showed that with a game one loss.