Being a fan of any sports team is similar to a marriage. You have to “choose” a team to stick with, through losing (sickness) and winning (health). Fans have accepted the idea of being a fan of their favourite hockey team until death, even though it might be tough. Realizing that the process of winning a championship takes time, fans must be patient to watch their favourite team develop as a top contender. It takes time to draft top players and develop them to be the keystones of a team that could win the hardest trophy to win in sports. The Winnipeg Jets’ and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fan bases are perfect examples of fans having to be patient of a team’s management that could bring success of winning the Stanley Cup.
Sixty seven years. As a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it has been a tough (approximately) two decades to remember only two playoff appearances of seven. Although there have been many horrific transactions in past decades by the poorly managed team, the Leafs are changing things up. After announcing a rebuild and firing over fifteen management staff, the Leafs are looking to rebuild and develop for future success. Fans were fed up throughout the 2014-15 season, from throwing jerseys to criticizing the players on social media (which saw Joffrey Lupul delete his Twitter account). Although fans have been restless about the past seasons, the team has multiple bright spots for the upcoming seasons, particularly a fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Since their first season that began in 2011, the MTS centre has been the loudest rink in the National Hockey League. The return of the Winnipeg Jets was not the most successful in terms of the team’s initial winning percentage, but the fans continued to cheer for their beloved hockey team. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had been criticized in his tenure for not making any trades until the major trade that saw Tyler Myers acquired and Evander Kane shipped to Buffalo. The team’s success showed that the patience paid dividends this season with their first playoff appearance in 19 years. Although the Jets were swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, the Jets faithful continued to show their affection despite a 5-2 loss. After cutting the deficit to from 3-1 to 3-2 in game four, the Jets had consistently shouted “Go Jets Go! Go Jets Go! Go Jets Go!” throughout the commercial break. The resilience of Jets Nation shows how devoted Jets fans are, even in a tough loss. Jets fans know that better playoff hockey is to come.
Fans of the Leafs and Jets are too resilient nations that are extremely patient of their favourite teams. The Air Canada Centre will become one of the loudest rinks in the league once playoffs are back, while the Jets faithful will continue to crawl closer to 141 decibels to have the loudest sports event in history. Leafs fans will soon be buying William Nylander and Connor Brown jerseys, while Jets fans will love their defensive core including the likes of Tyler Myers and upcoming prospect Josh Morrissey. The future is bright for Canadian hockey teams. The marriage of the fans and their favourite team will continue to tell the test of time.