‘Don’t know if Toronto is cheering for us’: Zach Hyman not expecting Maple Leafs’ support in Cup final

Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
12 days ago
If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and don’t care about the prospect of “bringing the Cup back to Canada”, there’s a good chance the 2024 Stanley Cup Final is a nightmare scenario for you.
Representing the Eastern Conference, you have the tough-as-nails Florida Panthers, who eliminated the Leafs in short order after the team got to celebrate advancing past the first round for the first time in 19 years. Representing the West, you have the Oilers boasting several former Leafs including the likes of Zach Hyman, Connor Brown, and Cody Ceci, threatening to be the first Canadian team to advance to the Final since the Montreal Canadiens in 2021, and the first to do so in a traditional 82-game season since the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you’re a casual fan, or one who doesn’t let other teams dictate their mood, but it’s very much a lesser-of-two-evils sort of situation for a good chunk of Leafs fans, and Hyman himself recognizes this.
“I don’t know if Toronto is cheering for us,” Zach Hyman said with a laugh following the game. “Hockey means so much to Canada and to Canadians,” Hyman said post-game. “It’s been a long time since a Canadian team has won the Cup. So it would mean a lot to Canadians whether they are Oiler fans or not I’m sure. Some pride over the Americans.”
Hyman has quickly developed into arguably one of the NHL’s best players from a value standpoint since signing with the Oilers following the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. Then-Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas opted not to pay him what he wanted due to injury concerns and age, but in the year 2024, it’s proving to be one of the biggest fumbles the organization has made in a while. He scored 54 goals in 2023-24 and has completely turned his playoff game around since signing in Edmonton, with 14 goals in 18 playoff games so far and 45 points in 46 playoff games with the Oilers, all doing so for the cheap, cheap price of $5.5 million annually.
The Oilers will visit the Panthers for Game 1 of the Cup final on Saturday night, a lengthy break between then and the Conference Final. If the Oilers manage to win the series, it will mark the first time a Canadian team has won since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings. Whether you value fanbase pettiness or Canadian pride in any fashion, the series is shaping up to be a good one, even if the teams are less-than-desirable for Leafs fans.

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