Who Cares About the Success of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Almost Everyone

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals
Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

To read articles, blogs or comments regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs these days, one could logically conclude that nobody cares about the success or failure of what is probably the NHL’s most iconic team.

After all, the players are “only in it for the money,” are supposedly lazy and uninterested, and can’t wait to hit the golf course every spring.  Toronto Maple Leafs ownership only cares about generating more revenue, on top of the mountains of cash that already overflow the MLSE coffers.  Management doesn’t care enough about winning to abandon their stubborn “my-way-is-best” attitudes and behaviours.

Even the fans don’t really care, with the vast majority in attendance at Scotiabank Arena more concerned with socializing in the lounge to be back in time for the start of a period, or more interested in posting yet another selfie to TwitFaceGram to pay attention to what’s happening on the ice.

The fans who can’t afford to go to a game consider themselves lucky that it didn’t cost more than a couple hours of their time to watch another disappointing display on television.  They started streaming a movie well before the third period was half over.

To all of this whining, moaning, boo-hoo-ing and negativity, I counter that none of that is true.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lack of Success Not Due to Lack of Caring

Look, I was born in April 1967, and if I had been more than two weeks old when the Toronto Maple Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup that year, I’d be able to look back fondly on the event.  Instead, once my long-term memory kicked into gear, it was populated with the Harold Ballard years, multiple Leaf-related heartbreaks, and a Costco-sized carton of losing.

BUT, I have never stopped caring.

It’s baffling, fascinating, almost mythical how this franchise has gone 57 years without winning another Cup.  So many theories, explanations, some terrible teams but also some really good ones.  It’s pretty frustrating losing again and again (and again), isn’t it?  Really, all you can do is throw up your hands and say “**** happens” (or doesn’t).

The one thing you can’t do is to claim that nobody cares.

You think Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares don’t care???  Money is just a number to them.  The reason they work their butts off is because they want to win.  Think about how much you wanted to win your beer league trophy, or how you went nuts when your ten year old’s house league team won a tournament, then multiply that level of caring by a hundred.

The owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs are not stupid people.  They are in business to make money – lots of it.  They spend a good chunk of revenue making sure the team has the best of everything – facilities, fitness and nutrition staff, first class travel, you name it.  They know that the best way to maximize profits is to win Stanley Cups.  Believe me, they care.

Sheldon Keefe and Brad Treliving are doing their damnedest to squeeze success out of the roster.  Every move is scrutinized by people screaming “do this” or “do that”.  They plot a course of action, measure the results, and make changes going forward.  Losing sucks for them too. You can disagree with their decisions, but claiming they don't care is just wrong.

All of these people are human, and they make mistakes.  Each year, most teams fail.  It’s the nature of the game.  Over the last seven seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 307 of 519 games (per hockeydb.com).  That’s pretty damn good.  In the same span, they’ve won a single playoff series.  That’s pretty damn disappointing.  What can you do?

Again, you can’t claim that nobody cares.

Finally, a few words regarding the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  We are numerous. We are passionate.  We make ourselves known in opposing teams’ arenas.  Some of us are really, really annoying.


But the vast majority of fans care about the success of this team.  If we’re still here cheering after 57 years of crushed hope and dreams, there’s no point jumping ship now.