Dion Phaneuf, Joe Bowen, Maple Leaf Gardens, Mats Sundin, NHL lockout, return of NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Between the lockout and our losing hockey team, Leaf ownership might not want to test the Leaf fan’s notorious loyalty. Of course winning works, but it’s hard! In light of Saturday’s long-awaited return to NHL hockey, here are 10 other ways Leaf ownership can win over fans:
1. Schmaltzy heritage gestures should be replaced by something meaningful, especially in season where our outdoor “classic” against Detroit was cancelled. Play one game a year in Maple Leaf Gardens against the Habs.
2. To whip up cheer and excitement for the new Leaf season, burn effigies of old and new senator players, from yashin to their current Great Satan daniella.
3. The team mascot is currently a silent dancing bear named after Carlton Street where Maple leaf Gardens is located. This is safe and homely—good for kids. Replace stupid bear with a team of trashy bimbos in bikinis who shoot out t-shirts from hilarious high-powered guns during stoppages of play. Everybody loves this.
4. Retire senile Joe Bowen. His digressions are insufferable and his contribution to leaf lore, the idiotic catchphrase “holy mackinaw,” has been embarrassingly forced for years. Hire Leaf legends to comment and analyze, like in the NFL. Wendel, Dougie, and especially Mats. Do not let Sundin quietly enjoy his retirement with his beautiful wife. His weakness is his classy nature and his golden heart: bring him back by targeting these mercifully. Also, give the mic to colourful heart and soul guys Domi and Tucker. They must have countless insights.
5. The Burkie Dog concession stand in the ACC will be replaced by Nonis Nachos. Whereas the Burkie dogs represented the loud and colourful personality of our former GM by being loaded with crazy toppings, the Nonis nachos will be plain nachos without even cheese or salsa.
6. Fight the ownership’s reputation as bloodsucking corporate parasites by giving away two platinum tickets to the home opener to a couple of Toronto’s most decrepit and sympathetic homeless people. Focus cameras on them. There will be a very touching and rousing ovation from fans. Tell the announcer to have an endearing line prepared for when they’re on screen, but make it sound off the cuff. If those in neighbouring seats aren’t getting sushi but are actually watching the game, provide them with nose plugs, but do not refund their tickets no matter how grossed out they are.
7. To ensure a playoff spot, Trade Lombardi for a fourth round draft pick. Then, if the organization has any leftover Lombardi jerseys that didn’t sell, give them away to the homeless guys described above as a game day souvenir that keeps them warm through winter. Charity is great for branding.
8. Change the official Leaf slogan from “passion is everything” to “winning is meaningful, too.”
9. To increase fan confidence in team defence, release a video of Dion Phaneuf’s summer training program, including backwards skating sessions and forward skating sessions.
10. Stop showing our old Stanley Cup champions on the ACC screen and on TV. It looks like a WWII veteran’s commemoration. It’s embarrassing—hide the great Johnny Bower, but for all the glory he and the others have provided this feckless organization give them a complimentary seat to the game and a generous deal on parking and beer.