Friday, April 4, 2008

Leaf Nation - a classless act

The Ottawa Senators were fighting for a playoff berth and the Toronto Maple Leafs had already been eliminated from the post-season when the two teams met in Toronto last night. So this was a “must-win” for Ottawa, while Toronto had nothing to lose. Nonetheless that didn’t stop Toronto’s Mark Bell from felling Ottawa’s Captain, Daniel Alfredsson, with a hard hit to the head near the end of the first period. Now there is lots of debate in the blogosphere and in the media about whether it was a clean hit or not – typically Ottawa supporters crying foul and Toronto fans saying it was clean – hard, but clean.

Whatever. It’s hockey. People get hurt. That’s part of the reason they make the big bucks.

But what was really disgusting was how the Toronto fans reacted to an injured player lying on the ice. They cheered. Yup, that’s right. They cheered the fact that a player had been injured. And then they booed him when he eventually made his way to the bench.

In civil society and among true sports fans, an injury is never something to celebrate and the cheering is reserved for the player when he or she eventually makes it off the ice - regardless of which team they represent. Except in Toronto apparently. No wonder The Leaf Nation is the most hated fan base in pro hockey. You should be ashamed and embarrassed.

Postscript: Ottawa won 8-2, but Alfredsson is out for an indefinite period as a result of the hit, along with Mike Fisher, another recipient of a questionable Mark Bell hit, this time to the knee.

1 comment:

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