I don’t recall ever mouthing the words “I hate Toronto.” But I do recall an occasion when the thought might have struck me.
It was during the NHL playoffs. It was an early round, but few Canadian teams had made the cut and, as a result, Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts found the storied Montreal Canadiens alternating nights with the sorry Toronto Maple Leafs. On Leaf nights, Molson ran a brainwash-worthy series of ads featuring hockey highlights juxtaposed with the following declaration, emblazoned across the screen: “GO LEAFS GO!” So there I was watching my Habs struggle as only the post-1993 Habs can, when a Molson ad invaded my TV, complete with hockey highlights and, you guessed it, the declaration: “GO LEAFS GO!” Again, the Leafs were not playing that night; it was the turn of a more successful Canadian franchise. I was briefly dazed, left wondering whether my eyes had deceived me. But, soon enough, that confusion turned to rage. Did Molson, or CBC, or whomever, truly believe I was watching the Habs only because the Leafs had the night off? “Geez, no Leafs game tonight? Well, I guess I’ll watch this for now. Maybe a Leafs game will break out.” Continue reading →