Typically it’s not sad, this Toronto Maple Leafs haven in the middle of Vancouver Canucks world. In fact, the food is very good and the staff charming and delightful. But Saturday afternoon the Regal Beagle on Broadway in Kitsilano turned sad as dozens of Maple Leafs-jersey-wearing die-hards watched their team lose in the first round again.
Another Game-7 loss, more tears in the beers.
“I’m #$%&? disappointed! What do you mean you want my feelings?!” Daniel from Whistler said, echoing the sentiment we’ve all had now and again when we see that question asked of a losing athlete in a post-game lockerroom. “This was maybe their best team ever, and now we have to wait again.”
A reminder that the regular season means nothing if it doesn’t translate to the playoffs. Toronto set a number of club records, team and individual, in going 54-21-and-7. The 2-1 loss Saturday to the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning meant loser go home, and those losers were the Leafs.
While Daniel was tipped off about this “best place to watch a Leafs game in Vancouver” just in the last couple of days, Christine has been a regular for a dozen years. By the way, it’s also an excellent place to watch a Vancouver Canucks game.
“I’ve lived in Vancouver for fourteen years, I found this place about 12-and-a-half ago because of the Leafs playing (on the TV monitors on the patio) outside,” she said. “So this is like my second home outside of Ontario.”
When the Leafs score a goal Christine joins the revelry, high fives and hugs, while carrying around the bars mini whirring bullhorn. On Saturday, the faithful only got to celebrate once.
“Game-7 is always a little intense and hard, but I think everyone here knows this team is different, so I think they’re kind of believing in it right now,” she added after two periods with her team down a goal. She was “pretty sure” Toronto would make a come back.
“It started twelve years ago, the owner let us put the games on with the volume, and it started with about ten or fifteen people, and it’s escalated every single year,” said Clark one of the managers. “It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion, it’s amazing, you can’t beat it. It’s the best thing next to being at the game in Toronto.”
For business, the best thing would have been a win. At least four, possible up to seven more game nights with another round of hockey.
But as it turns out, this team wasn’t different, which brought a chuckle from the handful of Canucks fans who had infiltrated.
Now the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs are in the same boat, or as 10-year-old ‘Little Lloyd’ put it:
“There’s always next year.”
Death, taxes, and the Maple Leafs in the first round.