Sports ‘n’ Things: ‘Canada’s team’ comment doesn’t resonate with Canadians

"While there is little doubt about Babcock’s coaching chops, he needs to get out more."

“This is Canada’s team.” Well, now we know for sure Mike Babcock, who will make more money coaching hockey in the next year or so than Scotty Bowman earned in his entire hugely successful career, isn’t perfect – especially in his understanding of hockey fans.

Equating ownership of broadcasting and other media involved with hockey in Canada with drawing support from around the country for the sad sack Leafs just displays sycophantic ignorance.

While there is little doubt about Babcock’s coaching chops, he needs to get out more.

There used to Toronto fans all across the country, but that was long ago. These days a lot of Torontonians despise the team – its leaders heading on to half a century of remaining arrogant while the product sucked big time – and while there are still Leaf fans in away rinks, most are  attending out of habit while expecting to be embarassed.

Real hockey fans treat the Leafs with, “the little bigotry of (always realized) low expectation.”

I would guess that in this area fans of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal, not to mention Boston, Chicago and Detroit, outnumber  Toronto diehards, and that is true everywhere but in the center of the universe some Ontarians still consider their home region.

The Original Six era has been dead for as long as the Leafs (and their fans) have been hopeless, and the Toronto-centric media staying focused on the hapless Leafs cannot change that.

The teams people do support are the teams which, over the past half century, have provided them with hope for success on at least an infrequent basis.

For most of that time a mediocre season for the teams above that people actually do support would have been considered great years for a Maple Leafs franchise which currently lacks the talent to consider competing for any hardware, even a playoff spot, for a while yet, and consistent failure is not something “Canada’s hockey fans,” will get behind any time soon.

Babcock is a good coach with a great track record – missing only a Memorial Cup title from his resume to be near the top of the list of greatest in his field – but he does not walk on water and he doesn’t seem to get that Canadians, for the most part, do not care to support an enteprise, no matter how much it has always dominated the media, in which failure is not only not an option but seems eminently acceptable.

**********

The Smoke Eaters have announced that their annual meeting will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the McIntyre Room at the Memorial Centre.

As luck would have it, a long-scheduled medical procedure may preclude my attendance. I hope a lot of you go in my place, because the team needs all the help it can muster to remain viable. Just having a full room for the meeting will buoy the executive immensely, as would even small commitments to take part in the team’s operation.

Local businesses, and hockey fans, will appreciate anything you can do to help keep the team in operation here.

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