Toronto Maple Leafs: An Open Letter to Jersey Throwers


Toronto Maple Leafs: An Open Letter to Jersey Throwers

Leafs Nation, please don’t throw your jerseys anymore.

There is so much involved in the presentation of an NHL hockey game, especially in Toronto. The kiss cam, shirt giveaways, mini-games, flashing lights, and of course throwing jerseys onto the ice.

Oct 17, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; NHL linesman Mark Shewchyk (92) hands a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey to a maintenance worker which had been thrown onto the ice by a fan in the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre. The Red Wings beat the Maple Leafs 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Maple Leafs season has taken an ugly turn, and a select few of Leafs “fans” have decided to toss their blue and white shirts onto the playing surface. It is a decision that has recently resulted in harsh consequences. Three people have been charged with trespassing and banned from the Air Canada Centre by the Toronto police. I still don’t think this will put an end to the charade just yet though. Here’s why.

One can argue that the Leafs deserve it. They had lost 13 of their last 16 games in regulation heading into the all-star break. They’ve been playing some terrible, unorganized hockey and often times there appears to be a lack of effort and leadership. The worst part is there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. These paying hockey fans have a right to be upset and to voice their concerns. However, there are certain ways to go about things, and throwing Maple Leafs jerseys onto the ice should be at the bottom of that list.

Jan 3, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; NHL linesman Steve Miller (89) picks up a jersey thrown onto the ice during the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Shawn Coates-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs organization is part of the Original Six and is the most storied franchise in hockey history. The players, front office, and most of Leafs fans take pride in that. Throwing the blue and white jersey onto the ice is a sign of disrespect to the players who have worn it over the last 100 years. If you think that this is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, that’s okay. But there is no argument against the safety aspect of this jersey tossing debacle.

We have seen this sarcastic gesture increase in popularity over the course of the season. The Leafs’ AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies have gone through the same thing at the Ricoh Coliseum. The blue and white crest even found itself on the ice surface in Winnipeg. It has become the latest social norm in Toronto and as proven by police involvement, it is now pushing the limit.

Jan 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; NHL referee Greg Kimmerly picks up a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey during a break in the action against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Air Canada Centre. Carolina defeated Toronto 4-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In their 4-1 home loss to Carolina on January 19th, Leafs defenseman Korbinian Holzer retreated back to his defensive zone with the puck. He nearly skated over a thrown jersey. It was thrown during the play and was a major safety concern. Had Holzer been skating backwards, he may not have seen the jersey and could have been seriously injured.

If throwing things on the ice is acceptable, who is to stop people from tossing their programs or beer cans? The line needed to be drawn and it has been made crystal clear by the Toronto police that there will be consequences for this action going forward.

Leafs Nation, please do yourselves and our beloved Maple Leafs a favour and keep your jerseys on your backs. If you no longer want it, find a kid in the crowd who does. There are plenty of other ways to voice your concerns, isn’t that what Twitter is for?

Follow me on Twitter for my three cents on what’s going on in the world of sports: @braydon93