What if the Toronto Maple Leafs Finally Win the Stanley Cup?

May 4, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Game puck sits on the ice in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Game puck sits on the ice in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto Maple Leafs fans have been waiting decades to see their team win a Stanley Cup.  Unless one is well into their fifties, the blue and white have not been champions in their lifetime.

What will happen if and when the Toronto Maple Leafs finally hoist the Cup and celebrate the ultimate victory?

Of course, the obvious answer is that we will all have a huge party, a big parade down Yonge St., and we’ll feel the joy, satisfaction and emotional release of finally seeing our heroes win a championship.

But on a deeper level, long time Leafs fans will also lose something.  Thousands of us have so many memories tied to the legacy of losing.  Being laughed at in grade school for wearing a Leaf sweater.  Sarcastic harassment in high school for supporting such a sad sack outfit.  Drowning our sorrows in university with fellow sufferers after another lost season.

What if the Toronto Maple Leafs Finally Win the Stanley Cup?

There is a camaraderie that has developed from the shared experience of Harold Ballard’s bombastic ineptness, the non-call of Gretzky’s high stick, the wasted talent of Mats Sundin, the playoff collapses against Boston and Montreal, and the high hopes and bitter disappointments of the current squad, so talented yet so unsuccessful.

The old saying “misery loves company” perfectly sums up the brotherhood/sisterhood of being devoted Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

Once the Stanley Cup returns to Toronto, the feeling of being part of such a unique shared experience will diminish.  The bandwagon will overflow with casual fans.  Mocking references to “1967” from non-fans will cease.  Suddenly, being a die-hard fan of a franchise that has recently won the Stanley Cup will seem just a little bit less worthy of pride.

Make no mistake, we’ll still enjoy cheering our Leafs on to a second or third Stanley Cup (it’s good to dream, right?).  Arguments will continue about who should be traded, which goalie should start in net, or whether the coaching staff is doing a good job.

But nothing can compare to achieving a worthy goal the first time.  First love, first job, first car.  The next time is always just a little less special.  Particularly if the path to reaching the goal is much easier the second time.

None of this is to say that I don’t pour all of my heart into hoping to see the Toronto Maple Leafs as Stanley Cup Champions.  It would be the ultimate highlight of the “sports fan” part of my life.  I’ll never forget seeing the Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series, the Raptors pull off an unlikely NBA title, or the Oshawa Generals (I grew up in the “Shwa”) win the Memorial Cup in overtime (best hockey game I ever saw live).

Even though I still cheer for those teams, I can no longer say to myself “can you imagine what it would be like watching them win it all?”

Next. Leafs Should Trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois. dark

Still, that’s a trade I would make every time.