The Toronto Maple Leafs.
What many will refer to as "Canada's team" or "the worst team in North American sports."
Say what you want about the Toronto Maple Leafs. They're one of the most beloved as well as one of the most hated sports teams across the world.
It seems as though fewer, if any, NHL teams draw as much hatred as the Leafs do. In many ways, it's hard to see why, considering they've struggled more than any NHL club in the past decade, making the playoffs just once.
And we all know what happened the last time they made the playoffs. Ever since the collapse of Game 7 in Boston, it's been nothing but a media circus in Toronto.
The Leafs are just like Donald Trump. Whatever they do, as long as they're around, they're always going to provide major headlines, one way or another.
So it's easy to see why so many people would dislike the Maple Leafs. However, aside from the stereotype that Toronto natives think "they're in the center of the universe," it's hard understand completely why the Leafs attract so many haters.
Though I personally have no hatred towards the Leafs whatsoever (they have my sympathy instead,) I know a lot of people do.
So here are 15 reasons why people hate the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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15 They Let Down the Fans
This reason is directed towards Maple Leafs fans. You have to admit it, when it gets to the point of tossing jerseys on the ice and putting paper bags over your heads, you're experiencing some form of hatred towards your own team.
The Maple Leafs have had so many issues in the front office, on the ice and displaying enough care about what the fans say.
If you hate the Leafs, you have to be sympathetic for the fans who don't feel like anyone cares about them.
14 They Ruin Big Players Careers
In Vancouver, the Canucks are referred to as a goaltender graveyard for the likes of Roberto Luongo and Ryan Miller.
In Toronto, I don't believe such a name persists, but the Leafs have signed away many players that turned into forgotten commodities.
Ron Francis, Eric Lindros, Larry Murphy and Jason Allison are some names. How about Mike Komisarek, Jeff Finger and David Clarkson?
Toronto steals could-be superstars for other teams while some superstars have joined the Leafs only to see their careers dwindle.
Along with the hopes of another team using that player successfully.
13 Fans Will Bring up the Past (Part 1)
If you're a Montreal Canadiens fan, you can gloat about winning the 1993 Stanley Cup. If you're a Los Angeles Kings fan, you can gloat about Wayne Gretzky's hat trick in Game 7 that knocked the Leafs out of the playoffs the same year.
But their fans won't forget the missed high-stick call on Doug Gilmore that led to the Kings overtime victory in Game 6.
That's part of being a Leafs fan. You can't help but bring up how the refs may have very well costed you a shot at ending your Cup drought.
12 Fans Bring up the Past (Part 2)
Unless you're a Habs fan, then the Leafs have won more Stanley Cup championships than you, sorry.
The Maple Leafs have 13 Stanley Cups, 11 behind Montreal's 24. Detroit is next with 11.
So while Leafs fans have the rights to brag about their titles, the fact remains it's not necessary when you consider they haven't been in a Cup Final (also the last year they won it all) since 1967.
That's when the NHL expanded, and more teams joined the league. You can't blame Leafs fans for being happy about their history, but it has to drive fans crazy to listen over and over again about how good their team was before you were even born.
11 The Tim Tebows of Hockey
Despite being a backup and having a very brief NFL career, no one gained more media attention than Tim Tebow.
Regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs, they gain the most coverage out of any NHL team, especially in Canada.
Even when they're a struggling team, they've been televised and talked about the most. All trade and free agency rumours wind up there too.
Sometimes, enough is enough for Leafs haters.
10 More Televised Games
I remember growing up from 2006-2010, before I had NHL Center Ice, CBC would always put Leafs games on in my region.
Other fans wanted to watch the perennially strong Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadiens take the ice.
That wasn't the case on Saturday nights. Hockey Night in Canada was more like a Leafs television channel.
I know people who hate the Leafs specifically for this reason.
9 You're a Bruins, Canadiens or Senators Fan
These fans probably make up nearly 90 percent of Leafs haters. Montreal and Boston have had rivalries with the Leafs since the NHL began in 1917. The Senators and Leafs met in the playoffs four times during the 2000s.
When you're an old franchise and/or you consistently meet a team in the playoffs (which Toronto did with the B's and Habs in the Original Six era) you're going to draw rivalries.
It's just natural for fans of these three teams to all hate the Leafs.
8 Toronto Doesn't Play Spoiler for You
Chances are if you hate the Leafs or are neutral in terms of feelings towards them, you've still relied on them to beat a team to the beneficiary of your own.
Don't count on it. The Leafs are consistently near the bottom of the standings and have done a very poor job of closing out seasons well. Which means if your rival team is playing them, your rivalry team picked up two critical points.
It's just the way it is. It's a classic story of "what have you done for me lately?"
7 They Run Players Out of Town
The Maple Leafs forced Larry Murphy out of town in 1997 when they struggled and he got traded to Detroit where he won back-to-back Cups.
Phil Kessel was basically forced out of town after clashing with former head coach Randy Carlyle.
Mats Sundin was being pressured into leaving Toronto in 2008. He refused to waive his no-trade clause so he could finish his season there.
Whatever it is, the Leafs and their fans have done a great job in the past of blaming certain players and driving them out of town.
6 You Wanted Mike Babcock
Eight years and $50 million is usually enough to buy yourself a premier NHL superstar. Nevermind the best coach the NHL has seen since Scotty Bowman retired in 2002.
That's the way it was. Every NHL team would love to haveMike Babcock and he would surely have loved to stay with the Red Wings where his family lived and where he built a great foundation.
But the Leafs ponied up a ridiculous amount of money to bring Babcock North of the border.
It's easy to understand why Wings fans hate the Leafs for that.
5 They Have More Money Than Most Teams
The Leafs are worth $1.15 billion according to Forbes, the third most valuable team in the NHL.
However, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment may just be the richest ownership in the NHL, and that means they can pull off a New York Yankees-caliber move.
Overpay and throw money to the players they want. The dollars they have are far more attractive than what any other team has done or been able to do.
The Yankees are hated for doing that. The Maple Leafs are just like them except for the fact they don't win consistently.
4 Their Fans Fill Up Your Arena
The Leafs faithful are among the most passionate in hockey. Like their rivals, the Canadiens, fans do incredible traveling.
Watch any away game, and you'll see 50 percent Leafs fans anywhere. You think Senators fans enjoy a "home game" that has all Leafs fans?
Same on the West Coast. The Vancouver Canucks play home games against Toronto where the crowd is split evenly.
Same with Detroit and Buffalo. It's the way it is for those teams. It's annoying having other fans invade your arena, but the Leafs do that.
3 Fans Can't See Games
Some say money is the root of all evil. In that case, it does apply to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Their ticket prices are among the most expensive in hockey. That means that it's corporates filling out the lower bowl. You can see men in suits show up halfway through games without showing much passion towards the sport.
The fans who have genuine interest sit all the way at the top in the upper bowl, where it's hard to see and hear them.
They may sell out every night, but it's not fair that tickets are so expensive that the loyal fans have to travel or sit all the way up top to support their team.
2 The Fans are Overly Passionate
Sometimes, a casual sports fan will say it's just a game. To some fans of the Maple Leafs, it's their lives.
That'll draw haters. Some fans make a huge deal when they throw jerseys on the ice or boo their players, and chant harsh things (eg. Lets go Blue Jays in 2012).
It's easy for fans to dislike a team whose fanbase goes too far. Throwing waffles won't gain a lot of points either.
Perhaps some of the overly passionate fans need to tone it down a bit.
1 It's the Leafs
At the end of the day, it's a mission for many hockey fans to just hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's a huge deal on the West Coast.
The Maple Leafs have struggled for years and it has to irritate so many non-Toronto fans to have to hear about them, listen to their fans whine, and it goes on.
There are many reasons to hate the Maple Leafs but for some people, that's just the way it is.
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