Monday, December 5, 2011

The Toronto Maple Leafs: Built on WWI History, $32.25 million worth of alcohol, and anything Kyle doesn't say

By Conor Flahive

If geography is destiny, Canada is doomed to be the butt of jokes forever.

And if Canada really is America's hat, it's not like America's awesome new fitted cap. 

It's like a Kangol hat. 

And America isn't even Samuel L. Jackson. 

In that conditional situation, however, America would be Barry Melrose – super cool, insightful, and moderately articulate. And Canada would be his mullet; that is, the only purpose it serves is being perched atop a nucleus full of glory and domination - there only for comedic value.

Perhaps that is why, for the first time in my life, I did not change the channel when hockey highlights came on Sportscenter last night.

And perhaps it was fate that upon watching the NHL's acute time slot, I learned for the first time that the Toronto Maple Leafs are not called the Toronto Maple Leaves.

After dreaming about waking up to the headline “NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the Minnesota Timberwolves will move to Ottawa in 2014, and will be renamed the Ottawa Timberwolfs,” I had to find out the history behind the name. 

My first instinct was to ask my friend Kyle - the biggest hockey enthusiast I know, and one of Canada’s finest. Instantly Kyle snapped, “Because of the flag you idiot. There is only one maple leaf on it.”

I knew I could count on Kyle, right? Wrong. My inherent distrust for Canadians led me to get to the bottom of this myself. 

First, I researched the history of the Canadian flag, which was adopted in 1965. OK. 

Next, I felt like I had to do a little reading up on the Maple Leaf franchise. It turns out, the Toronto Maple Leafs joined the NHL in 1927. That’s 38 years before Canada adopted its flag! Now who’s the idiot, Kyle? 

Next theory: While researching the history of the Maple Leafs, I discovered that they played in the Maple Leaf Gardens for 68 years. So maybe the team was named after its home ice? But who does that? That is like naming a basketball team the “Courts.” Well it turns out, that before becoming the Leafs in 1927, the team was called the Torontos and the Arenas prior to that. So let me get this straight. The team went from being named after a plural version of the city and arena they play in to the singular version of leaves? That's a bigger 10-year flip flop than Mitt Romney! Now I HAVE to get to the bottom of this. 

Here is how the NHL’s highest valued and second most winningest team really got its name: 

When Conn Smythe bought the team in 1927, he renamed it after a heroic group of WWI soldiers known as the Maple Leaf Regiment. Under the rules of the English language, you do not pluralize a proper noun if it changes a name. It makes sense. Think of it this way, if you were to call the home of NFL megga-bust Ryan Leaf, his answering machine will say something like "Hi you've reached the Leafs, we're not here right now because we are out spending Ryan's $32.25 million on copious amounts of alcohol and controlled substances.” Thus Leafs, not Leaves, would be grammatically correct. 

But even if the name is grammatically correct, it still doesn’t make any sense. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as a heroic Canadian soldier!

Think before you speak next time, Kyle.

1 comment:

  1. also believe they were once the Toronto St. Patricks