Yesterday afternoon we lost ten Torontonians. Ten people who view our city as a place to be safe and to be loved by their families. Their names will be etched into the mind of every person that calls this city home – they were lost too early.
From family and friends of the victims, to people just visiting our city for the first time, this tragedy will be felt with them for a very long time.
Yesterday afternoon was also Game 6 of the first round for our Toronto Maple Leafs. A team that is built within the foundations of this city. Leafs fans weave throughout the streets on game days, strong and passionate. This team ties this whole city together in one unique bond and last night was another prime example of the strength this city has.
We do not back down even when everything seems impossible. Heading into this game, it seemed like the most probable outcome was being eliminated and ending the 2017-18 season for the Leafs. But as the outcome from the tragedy has shown, no one in this city takes nonsense from any opposition.
The city that every single player, coach, and staff member calls home was hit with a senseless tragedy. Everyone involved with this team experiences the same city as the people who lost their lives and those connected to them.
Facing elimination for the second time this series, this team had something more to play for. It was felt throughout the whole GTA – people glued to their multiple screens, Leafs fans covering the streets and Maple Leafs Square in our team’s colours, and creating an atmosphere inside the ACC for the team that we support to get the job done.
The outburst of emotion this city felt as Mitch Marner backhanded that puck past Rask was ecstatic. The Leafs were leading 2-1 in an elimination game to force the all-deciding Game 7. It’s too easy to focus on the negative, to get caught up in all the things that can go wrong. But ignoring all the signs that the Bruins were going to tie up the game and win it in regulation or overtime, the Leafs and us as fans got through it.
With our backs up against the wall, feeling hopeless, our team and this city was able to come together and turn it around. The bond that this city has with this hockey club is immensely strong and nothing can break it. Not one single man murdering helpless civilians of our city, or a member of our rival hockey club. He does not deserve to be named or have his name stay in our minds for very long. We will keep the fellow Torontonians in our thoughts and they will be remembered as victims of a tragedy within the city that we love.
It means something when the players we cheer for on the ice have grown-within and experienced the same city that we do. Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Travis Dermott, and Connor Brown are from the same area as most of us. They are the future of this team and believe in our city as much as we believe in them.
We are heartbroken but still stand united as Leafs fans. The strength of this city will not waiver because of this tragedy. We will only become stronger because of this. Our support for the hockey team we love will not be lost.
On Wednesday night, they will go to Boston with the same passion and emotion that they have in Toronto. We will support them no matter what and this has only made us stronger as a fanbase – coming together and knowing that there is much more in life than just hockey.
It is a sport that we love and the Leafs are a team that we love. It brings us together as fans and as Torontonians.
Hockey brings so much joy in our lives, it is a distraction from the world around us. At least 82 times a year we get to enjoy life, family, friends, and fellow fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Those 82 times we get to ignore what else is happening in our lives and come together to support a special hockey team.
Let’s hope that this season gets to continue past Wednesday night and we get to experience the wonderful thing that is the city of Toronto bursting at the seams with support for the Toronto Maple Leafs and for each other in times of tragedy.
Maple Leafs Forever.