Leafs Nation on the road vs the suits at home

Due to the high cost of tickets to Leaf games in Toronto and and the fact that even if I could afford them, I probably can’t find them, I decided to start going to Leaf games on the road.  I figured if it was going to cost almost $1000 to take my family to a game in Toronto, I might as well go to another city for the weekend and pay $300 for the seats and put the rest towards a hotel, food and gas.  I try to get to at least 2 road games a year, one with my family, and one by myself or with my brother.

One of the first things I learned about road games is; they are a lot more fun than home games.  American crowds have more fun at a hockey game than Toronto fans. The cheering, the jeering, it is all in good fun and for someone who is used to sitting beside some guy in a suit who sits on his hands and criticizes our management and complains about our team all night, it was a breath of fresh air.  

Last year I was at the first Leaf game in Las Vegas on New Years Eve.  The energy in that building was amazing. The crowd was probably 35% Leaf fans.  But the whole crowd was having fun. I have heard that Las Vegas limits the number of corporate seats they sell in order to encourage a better atmosphere at the games.  If it’s true, the Leafs should consider adopting the same approach. I am a Marlies season ticket holder. I try to get to as many games as possible but my seats have been empty several times this year because I was busy and forgot to offer them to somebody.  When I do go to a Marlies game, I am probably late to the game 25% of the time and I am not upset about it because I go to so many games. If I am having dinner and my waitress is taking forever to bring the bill, it’s not the end of the world, the tickets weren’t expensive and I go to games all the time.  I would imagine this is how a lot of Leaf season ticket holders feel. The tickets were paid for by their company, their boss probably gives them a few games a year, so if they are a little late, it’s no big deal.

When I go to a Leaf game, I have usually driven several hours to get there, but even if it is in Toronto, I make sure I am on time and ready to cheer because I paid a fortune for the seats and I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to do it again.  

The attitude of the season ticket holders contributes greatly to the atmosphere in an NHL arena especially when they take up such a high percentage of seats.  

Who do you think is going to contribute to a better atmosphere in the building;

The guy in the suit who got the tickets free from his boss.  He doesn’t wear a jersey, he doesn’t even own a jersey, his citizenship should be taken away for this offense.  He arrives late because he was more interested in his expensive steak dinner than the actual game and he never makes it back to his seat on time after intermission.  During the game he sits on his hands and quietly explains to his friends that he would be a better GM than Kyle Dubas. When the Leafs score, he makes a crack about how the player that scored is overpaid.  When the other team scores he smirks. We have all seen this guy, we all hate this guy, fuck this guy!

Is he going to make a more significant contribution to the atmosphere in the building than the blue collar worker who saved his money to take his family to perhaps the only Leaf game they will ever see live, together as a family.  This guy and his whole family are going to cheer every play, his kids are going to celebrate warm up goals, they are all in jerseys and they are determined to make it a night they will never forget.

The blue collar worker obviously contributes more to the atmosphere.  Maybe his seats didn’t cost as much as the corporate tickets, but these are the kind of fans that make hockey games exciting in other arenas.  


Unfortunately, the NHL has caught onto the travelling Leaf fans and they have started punishing us for subsidizing their other cities by introducing variable ticket pricing.  This really only affects Leaf fans. If you want to go see the Leafs in Detroit, a single seat in a mediocre section might cost you $250. The next night when Carolina are in town, the same seat might sell for $40.  No other fan base is forced to travel like we are, so it’s not fair to hike prices when the Leafs are in town. Eventually fans will say fuck it and stop going to road games. If tickets aren’t available to games in Toronto either, they might find some other way to spend the money they used to spend on hockey tickets.  How does this benefit the Leafs or the NHL? It doesn’t, it will hurt them both eventually. That is why the Leafs need to build a new state of the art 50,000 seat arena.


The ACC or Scotia Bank place or whatever it is called this year, was built for the Raptors.  Then the Leafs bought the Raptors. We have played there for 20 years now and it has served us well but it is time to invest in a new facility that can accommodate the demand for hockey tickets in Toronto and it should be called Maple Leaf Gardens. MLSE has to rebuild BMO stadium in the next few years in order to accommodate the demand for World Cup tickets in 2026. The Marlies, The Argos and The FC all play their home games on CNE grounds and the Raptors practice facility is there too.  It kinda seems like MLSE is making a play to turn the CNE into a giant sports complex. This seems like an ideal location for a 50,000 seat arena to house our beloved Leafs.

If they built it, they could add more luxury boxes, closer to ice level, they could even add more corporate seats and they would still be able to sell 25 - 30,000 seats to real fans every game.  They won’t have trouble selling them all if they make the upper seats reasonably priced, right now, families can’t afford to go to games. This makes it hard to introduce future generations to the game, the team and the traditions we all used to participate in.  Think about the atmosphere in a 50,000 seat arena that has 30,000 actual Leaf fans cheering. We could make it a pretty miserable place for other teams to play.


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