From mecca without love

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:58 PM ET


 To: hockey fans in Alberta.

 From: The only place that matters, i.e. the centre of the universe, mecca, the Big Smoke, T dot O dot.

 Folks,

 It has come to our attention that hockey is being consistently played in a Canadian point west of Toronto, namely Calgary.

 Consistently, in this case, refers to both the frequency and the overall high calibre of the game. That's why I chose the word consistently.

 This is an example of nuance, a word we are sure the hundreds of thousands of former Ontarians living in Alberta will savour rather than the slightly less avuncular "whoeeeee" they are hearing so much of these days.

 Now, we in Toronto are nothing if not generous in spirit and supportive of the little events that occur from time to time in the plucky colonies west of Canada's greatest and only metropolis.

 We do not, for example, complain when, expecting to find the nation's news beamed to us directly from our CBC studios on Front St., we find instead games involving your Calgary Flames.

 In fact, we are suitably impressed. Imagine such success from a franchise only 23 years old. One Stanley Cup already and another in the offing. How quaint.

 We often think about Calgary here and not just while pumping obscenely priced gasoline.

 We remember Calgary as the proving ground for such Maple Leafs stalwarts as Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk and the canny Cliff Fletcher.

 Calgary is where Lanny McDonald, a great Leaf, went to win his only Stanley Cup and, we now learn, to supply DNA for a clone defenceman named Mike Commodore.

 These men were good enough to garner a Stanley Cup for the Flames in 1989. They could not do likewise here, which just goes to show you how much tougher it is to get to the top when the whole league is out to get you.

 This marks the second consecutive season another Canadian team has played deeper into the spring than the club based on Bay St.

 This is particularly injurious to the thousands of Calgary-based Leafs fans, citizens in good standing of the Leafs Nation.

 Detached from your celebrations, members of the Leafs Nation, Calgary Chapter, forlornly go about their work and come together to hold surreptitious sessions to discuss their favourite chapters of "The Leafs I Knew."

 We would ask you not to taunt our grieving brothers and sisters. I mean, whenever the Leafs came to Calgary, it's not like Maple Leafs fans got all liquored up, painted their faces, waved blue and white flags in your face and delighted in drowning out Flames fans with chants of "Go Leafs Go."

 Forget I said that.

 As you might imagine, we are not totally unaccustomed to premature exits from the playoffs and so, to maintain our interest and be able to feign some enthusiasm for cousins and relations transferred away from here against their will, we play a little game.

 Whenever another team does well, we trace the player's lineage back to southern Ontario. Even the most hardened Westerner must admit that it's damnably nice of Toronto to supply the talent pool for those clubs not fortunate enough to be located here.

 Last year's champs, the New Jersey Devils, for example boasted the usual cadre of kids who grew up here, wanting to be Leafs, Scott Stevens (Kitchener), John Madden (Barrie), Grant Marshall (Mississauga) and Nieuwendyk (Whitby).

 It's with particular regret then, that we note the paucity of Toronto-area players on the Flames. There are, to be precise, none.

 And so it's with regret that we inform you that we cannot support your drive to the Stanley Cup. We will not be watching, nor lending our moral support.

 You people are on your own. Deal with it.


Videos

Photos