Pop-ups and ‘passion meter’: What’s new this year as Leafs, Bruins square off

Click to play video: 'Maple Leafs Square open for playoffs'
Maple Leafs Square open for playoffs
WATCH - Maple Leafs Square open for playoffs – Apr 19, 2024

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unveiling new fan experiences as they prepare to take on the Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Puck drop between the two Original Six franchises is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday night in Beantown.

The Leafs will be looking to snap a playoff drought against the Bruins, having lost to their rivals in their last three playoff appearances; Toronto also went winless against Boston during this year’s regular season.

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Records aside, the Leafs have released their plans on how fans can watch their team in the post-season, and are touting new experiences.

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Here is what you need to know.

Playoff tailgates in Maple Leaf Square return

Toronto Maple Leafs playoff games wouldn’t be complete without a viewing party at Maple Leaf Square downtown.

The team said it will host tailgates for home and away games, with each match being broadcast on the big screen outside Scotiabank Arena.

The tailgate parties will include a live DJ, special guests and giveaways, as well as food and beverages from Real Sports and a Real Sports Apparel pop-up. A number of tickets will be available for fans to win at select tailgates in Maple Leaf Square, the Leafs said. All kiosks and vendors will be cashless.

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For entry onto Maple Leaf Square, fans are required to register for up to two free non-transferable mobile passes on the Maple Leafs mobile app, the team said. Passes will be available the day before each confirmed game at 1 p.m. ET.

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Space in each viewing zone is subject to availability, with zones closest to Scotiabank Arena being filled first. Entrance to the tailgate is from York Street and Bremner Boulevard.

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Gates will open two hours in advance of each game and will close at the end of the second intermission.

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Maple Leaf Square will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration of playoffs, with Bremner Boulevard between Maple Leaf Square and York Street closed on a game-by-game basis when a tailgate is being hosted; however, nearby residents will still have access to their parking garages.

What’s new this year?

The Leafs are touting several new fan attractions this year, starting with the “Go Leafs Go” train.

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“Together with Metrolinx, GO trains on the Lakeshore East and West lines will be re-imagined as the ‘GO LEAFS GO’ train,” the Leafs said in a statement.

“During playoff game days, fans could experience the excitement of playoffs during their commute.”

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Furthermore, a “passion meter” has been created – a digital interactive display using technology for MLSE Digital Labs.

“Fans can engage with an interactive Passion Meter at the Playoff tailgates and in Scotiabank Arena and measure their level of passion using cheers, outfits and activity for the chance to win Maple Leafs jerseys,” the Leafs said.

Finally, in partnership with Scotiabank, fans are invited to turn their own pieces of clothing into Maple Leafs merchandise for the playoffs in an initiative called “Make It Merch.”

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Wild celebrations in Toronto as Leafs finally advance in NHL playoffs

Several Leafs patches will be offered to fans at designated locations to “transform an item in their closet, from a t-shirt to a jacket to even overalls, into one-of-a-kind Maple Leafs gear,” the club said.

Scotiabank Make It Merch pop-ups will be open in the tailgate at Maple Leaf Square for home and away games, in the concourse at Scotiabank Arena during home games and in the galleria outside Gate 1 of Scotiabank Arena for away games.

Where else can you watch the Leafs play?

If watching the game at home is not your style, the Leafs are promoting viewing parties at Real Sports restaurant, right beside Scotiabank Arena.

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Guests at Real Sports can enjoy giveaways and guest appearances, and special drink features will be available during select games.

Click to play video: 'The business of playoff hockey'
The business of playoff hockey

Meanwhile, fans can also enjoy the playoffs at e11even, which is just steps away from Scotiabank Arena.

For those unable to make it downtown, other venues across the city are likely to have playoff action on display.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow told Global News Toronto in a statement Friday it’s time for the city to “join together” and cheer on the Leafs.

“We’re up against the Bruins — a familiar enemy,” she said.

“But I know the hard work and magic of this team can get us through to the next round.”


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