THE BLOG
09/26/2014 03:57 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2014

A Leaf Fan's Reaction to Being Named Worst Sports Franchise in North America

First of all... any Leaf fan will tell you... haters gonna hate. Being scoffed at, criticized, mocked, poked, prodded and scrutinized is a daily occurrence for a Leaf fan.

We get it - we are the Yankees of hockey. Many hate us; many love us --- there is very little grey area in-between. Essentially, my first reaction when I heard was "tell me something I don't know." Yes, our ticket prices are too high. Yes, a vast majority of tickets are corporate tickets. Yes, we've made terrible choices in GM's, Coaches, Trades, Captains, Draft Picks, etc. Yes, we lose more than we win. If you have seen more than 2 Leaf games you can pick up on all of this. ESPN really didn't need to conduct a study to confirm all of this.

Is it a coincidence that a major media corporation owns the Leafs and being both highly loved and highly hated is great for ratings, merchandise sales, ticket sales, beer sales, etc? No. Do we fault 'good business' enough to give up on our beloved Buds? No. (Do we only keep our sanity by desperately latching on to Team Canada every four years at the Olympics? Yes.)

Something non-Leaf-fans should keep in mind though before they aggressively attack our high-ticket prices and massive revenue - the NHL Salary Cap is directly tied to NHL revenue - and a big part of NHL revenue comes directly from the media, and revenue sharing. So yes, you can go to Anaheim (ranked 2nd best franchise in North America) and get a cheap ticket and see some great hockey. You can do that because high-profile Canadian teams like the Leafs bring in enough money to support smaller markets, such as Anaheim. So... you're welcome.

I tend to hear the same argument from the 'haters' - Leaf fans aren't loyal, they aren't die-hards, they aren't true hockey fans. Yet... we still sell the most tickets, at the highest prices, and the most merchandise - for the past 40 years. This is a true testament to Leaf fans. Yes, a lot of tickets are corporation buying them for the token 'suit.' But why would corporations buy something to impress their clients, employees, etc. unless it wasn't a sought after item. They buy them, because they are wanted.

Another common argument I here is that the ACC doesn't have a welcoming 'family atmosphere' like other arenas. Have you seen our arena? It is in the Down Town Core of the largest metropolis in Canada, 4th largest in North America. Take a walk anywhere down town in any of the top 4 largest cities and you won't find a 'family atmosphere' anywhere. Yes, the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, where the Sens play, is much more inviting for families... it's in the suburbs. On the same note, yes we have high-priced parking... again... we're downtown. Did ESPN consider public transportation in Toronto versus other arenas?

Ok - I am getting defensive now, apologies, as a Leaf fan, it's a natural reaction. I will leave you with this thought - in any other industry, would a company be frowned upon for being successful? Until the NHL becomes a Not For Profit Organization, it is highly unlikely that the Leafs will make drastic changes to please the non-Leaf-fans (and why should they, you aren't Leaf fans). So for now, let's just agree to disagree.