It has been a busy off-season for the Toronto Maple Leafs – The team has replaced their assistant coaches, part of their management team and made changes to their roster. For fans, there is no better time for Leafs Nation to prepare themselves for the upcoming season than right now – a month before training camp opens.
In the last few years, the Leafs have made more of an effort to reach out to fans who cannot afford tickets and give them more access to the team.
Maple Leafs Square was the place to be during the 2012-13 playoffs. It had everything from the game on the big screen, to music, confetti, massive crowds and refreshments. Real Sports Bar and Grill, although more expensive than other Toronto bars, has the ultimate viewing experience with a 39 foot HD screen, great food and drinks selection, and a great atmosphere to watch the game with other fans.
This season the Leafs are hosting their first annual Fan Fest, from Friday September 5 to Sunday September 8. The Fan Fest is planning to offer Leafs fans an all access event at the Air Canada Centre. Fans will be able to tour the Leafs dressing room, drop the puck at centre ice, receive autographs from Leafs players and Alumni and other interactive activities for all ages. On the Friday of Fan Fest, the Leafs will host a Town Hall event where Brendan Shanahan, Leafs players, coaches and management will discuss the upcoming season and honour former Stanley Cup winners.
The Leafs usually begin training camp mid-September, but there has been no formal announcement of the schedule. The Leafs will play eight preseason games from September 22 to October 3. This is a great time for fans to pick up inexpensive tickets and have the opportunity to watch younger players like William Nylander, Stuart Percy, Connor Brown and other prospects who will most likely be sent back to play with the Toronto Marlies (or in Nylander’s case Sweden).
The Leafs start the regular season on Wednesday October 8th at home against the Montreal Canadiens, who they have won four straight season openers against. Expect a tailgate party at Maple Leafs Square, which is usually held by one of the sponsors.
On mapleleafs.com, the Leafs posted an article outlining the schedule for Leafs fans breaking down each month, the Leafs longest home and road stretches, and the number of games played against every NHL team.
Here is a breakdown of the article.
- The Leafs will play a home game on every day of the week (Monday to Sunday) during the season
- December and March have the most games scheduled with 15
- The Leafs play 24 time on Saturday nights, the most out of any night
- Second most games are played on Tuesday nights with 14
- The longest home stand is 5 games, while the longest road stretch is 7 games
- Ottawa and Detroit share the most games against the Leafs with 5 games each
- They play on consecutive nights 18 times throughout the season
- The All Star Game will be held January 24-25 in Columbus
Looking at the schedule for the Leafs, it will be important for the team to leave some gas in the tank for the end of the season. Between October to December, they play 38 games, then from January to mid April, they play 44 games.
There is a reason Leafs fans refer to themselves as Leafs Nation, because fans go on road trips to away games where ticket prices are more reasonable and the arena hosts more away fans then fans for the home team. Here are prime dates to plan road trips for the season.
Saturday October 18 at Detroit
Wednesday October 22 at Ottawa
Saturday November 15 at Buffalo
Wednesday December 10 at Detroit
Sunday December 28 at Florida
Monday December 29 at Tampa Bay
Wednesday January 21 at Ottawa
Friday February 6 at New Jersey
Tuesday March 3 at Florida
Thursday March 5 at Tampa Bay
Western Canada Road Trip
Friday March 13 at Florida
Saturday March 14 at Vancouver
Monday March 16 at Edmonton
With the new Rogers NHL broadcast deal, it will be a good season for NHL fans in Canada, because there will be more games available to fans on channels that are part of their cable package. Also for Rogers customers that have access to Anyplace TV or the Sportsnet Now app, they can view games on their tablets, phones, laptops and MacBooks.
To keep track of Leafs players contract expiration, trade clauses and the team’s salary cap situation head over to capgeek.com