August 14, 2014 6:29 pm

Why Toronto Maple Leafs fans are so loyal to their team

What keeps Toronto Maple Leafs fans hanging on? Is it home town pride? Some say it is something they were “born into,” and others, the franchise’s storied history.

“I’ve got four boys and I browbeat into them exactly what went on with this team in the past,” Joe Bowen, voice of the Leafs said jokingly.

Bowen was at Thursday’s announcement when the Toronto Maple Leafs revealed who would be the first player on Legend’s Row.

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“You can never forget what these guys have done to build this franchise. To make it really one of the greatest sport franchises in the world,” said Bowen.

Outside of the Air Canada Centre, Leafs fan Tricia Roselli said there is a lot of loyalty that goes with being a Leafs fan.

“It’s hometown blood. I could never be anything but a Leafs fan,” she said.

It was 1967 when the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup. In the 2005/06 season, the Leafs failed to make the playoffs, a trend that continued for six more years.

That changed in 2012/13 when the Leafs made it to the Eastern Conference quarter finals against the Boston Bruins. Many fans say that was a game they will never forget.

The team had a 4-1 lead over the Bruins in game seven but Boston stormed back and ended the Leafs’ season with a  heartbreaking overtime goal.

Last season started off well, but fans watched their team freefall in the standings, once again missing the playoffs.

“It has a lot to do with (being a) hopelessly optimistic person,” said Psychotherapist Nicole McCance. “I have clients that identify with the team, and they actually feel like it’s their team so when (the Leafs) lose, they feel that loss.”

Perhaps that is why Legend’s Row is so important. It is an opportunity for fans and players to recognize the greatness that has surrounded the blue and white.

“I think it’s vital for any sports franchise to celebrate its past so that the people who are currently here understand the greatness that has gone on before them.” said Bowen. “Also, to understand there is a legacy that they should live up to.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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