There’s been a lot of talk lately about Toronto getting a second NHL team. Many have weighed in, both pro and con. Sure, the market could support it, but it sounds more like the kind of fantastic speculation that Toronto fans and sports writers engage in when the Leafs aren’t worth watching. So, daily.
I, for one, support it based on curiosity alone. It might help to solve the mystery, or at least dispel some myths, about the Leafs fanatical fan base. Lots of sports analysts have asked whether Toronto fans love the Leafs or love hockey. I say it’s neither. First, Torontonians seem to hate the Leafs as much as love them. Second, I don’t think a strong case could be made for them simply loving hockey, or they’d have stopped watching during the Ballard years when the product on the ice barely resembled the sport. No, I’d suggest that Torontonians are infatuated with the Leafs, but infatuations are fleeting. If a second team appeared with a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup, how many Leafs fans would jump ship? I suspect more than in other hockey-crazy markets who’ve enjoyed success in recent decades like Detroit or even Montreal, even though Leafs fans typically refer to themselves as “better” fans than any others.
Anyway, I think Gary Bettman would rather give Bob Goodenow a hot oil massage than allow another Toronto team, and Hamilton might well lose their collective shit and blow up the Kings Highway if their city is passed over for expansion in favour of Leafs II, so I guess my social experiment will have to wait.