Toronto Maple Leafs Home Crowd Is Costing Team Playoff Wins

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

For a city that calls itself the mecca of hockey, it's pretty embarrassing that the Toronto Maple Leafs have arguably the worst home-ice advantage in hockey.

Since 2016, the Toronto Maple Leafs have played 30 playoff games at Scotiabank Arena and have only won 11 of them, which represents a .366 winning percentage. Conversely, they have 12 wins and 12 losses in 24 road games, equalling a .500 winning percentage.

For this exercise, I counted all five games during the "NHL Bubble" season as home-games for the Leafs, even though onlly three of them were technically "home games". Although it was a pandemic and there were no fans, the team still got to play in their own rink, which is a huge advantage, even if they didn't have last-change in two of the five games.

But let's get back to the Leafs winning percentage on the road versus at home. If you were to tell any organization that they would be .500 on the road in the playoffs, they would be ecstatic and probably would have thought they had multiple long playoff runs. However, in the Leafs case, they only have one playoff round victory in eight years, and it's truly due to their home-ice disadvantage.

Going to a Leafs game is a luxury for most people, unlike most other sporting events in the city. A Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies, Toronto Argonauts, and for the most part, Toronto Raptors game is an affordable opportunity for most people. However, when it comes to Leafs tickets, you need to spend an arm-and-a-leg and you're typically only lucky to go if someone offers you free tickets.

Toronto Maple Leafs Crowd is Costing Them Playoff Games

I understand that it's a business first and you need to drive revenue, but it's getting out of hand.

During the regular season, the Lower Bowl seats are always empty when the second and third period start and it's due to these buyers being too occupied drinking champagne and eating sushi below in their bunker suites.

That's totally fine as that type of atmosphere is a great spot to do business, but this can't be happening during the playoffs. And to be completely honest with you, MLSE should understand this as well, as it's a terrible business decision for them to provide a bad home ice-advantage because they'd make another $50-100M if the Leafs reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

As we saw, once again, during Game 3 against the Boston Bruins, the first few minutes of the second and third period were dead and that continued for most of the game. Funny enough, the only person who helped spark anything was Ryan Reaves, who delivered a few big hits, but other than that, it took until Tyler Bertuzzi finally scored to put some life back in the building.

Once Brad Marchand scored 20 seconds later, you could tell the game was already over, as the crowd sat back sad, accepting that they already lost, depsite there being a ton of time left on the clock.

The fans need to be proactive and help create buzz, instead of waiting for something to happen. I'm not sure if this is a Game Operations issue, as maybe they're not enticing the crowd to cheer, or if the entire building is just sitting on their hands due to years of heartbreak, but either way, it's not a coincidence that the Leafs stink at home in the playoffs.

When you watch other rinks, you can tell that almost every other building has a home-ice advantage. The Florida Panthers, for goodness sake, have one of the best arena atmosphere's in the league and they're not supposed to be a hockey market.


If you're reading this and you're lucky enough to attend Game 4 on Saturday night, please make some noise, because the Leafs need the crowd almost as much as they need William Nylander back in the line-up.