April 5, 2007
Silence isn't always golden
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
Known for being the most die-hard in the NHL, how is it that Toronto fans are so infamously silent at the ACC?
With all of the history around the Maple Leafs, you would think there must be a tradition of noise of some sort -- but no.
Zilch. Zero. Bupkiss. Nada.
This isn't really reinventing the wheel, in fact it's done quite organically in the 29 other arenas in the league, and many of those don't have the luxury of nightly sell outs.
Off the top of my head there's The "C" Of Red in Calgary or Towel Power in Vancouver ... so where is the T.O. White Out or Sea of Blue?
It's a well known fact that any sports experience is made infinitely better by fans being "into it" and playing the role of "secret weapon." It has been proven that fans can help their team win --that's why it's called "home-ice advantage."
Players are motivated by fan support -- and they've said so time and again.
You need only hit the road to Buffalo or Ottawa with the Leafs (or really any Canadian hockey city) to hear the difference. It's like a home game away from home and the guys on the ice appreciate those loud-and-proud Leaf fans who risk life and limb to cheer them on in enemy territory.
So why can't that fan support be cultivated in downtown Toronto?
Most commonly we hear the problem lies with "corporate types" who are at the games to schmooze clients, not stand and cheer. C'mon, that's too easy. Besides I know corporate types personally who bleed blue and white and wouldn't miss a second of game action.
Two games to go -- the roadies will head to Long Island for tonight's tilt but will we see a new tradition begin back home for Toronto's final regular season Saturday?
Simply put, if you ask me, the tradition of silence will need to end if Toronto fans want a taste of the playoffs.
Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.