This past Monday, three hockey fans who presumably root for the Toronto Maple Leafs (or once rooted for them) were fined by police, escorted out of the Air Canada Centre and banned from all events that take place in the building for a year because they decided to throw their Leafs jerseys on the ice with the team down by a score of 4-1 to the last place Carolina Hurricanes. One of those tossed jerseys actually hit the ice during the play and could have potentially caused injury to players.
As concerning as that might be, fans in Toronto aren’t the only ones throwing jerseys. Just ask the former coach of the Edmonton Oilers (and formerly a product of the Leafs’ AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies) Dallas Eakins, who witnessed Oilers fans doing the same thing repeatedly before he was fired a little while ago.
Location, team affiliation or team record aside, while it’s unfortunate to witness the stoppages in play and the incredible disgust with which these jerseys get tossed, the fact of the matter is that fans should be able to do as they please. No, it’s not very smart to do this while the play is going on but to some extent it’s understandable.
The most obvious reason why comes down to dollars and cents. Fans in hockey’s biggest markets, especially the Canadian markets, couldn’t get into the building to watch a regular season game for less than $100 if they wanted to. Add to the fact they spend $20 for parking, $10 on a hot dog, and of course pay for the jersey they throw on the ice, and it’s no wonder they feel frustrated enough to disrupt play and part ways with their hockey sweater.
These are the same fans who’ve witnessed years of futility (especially in Toronto and Edmonton), don’t get any of the cost savings passed down from owners who benefit from locking out players every few years, and who can be easily replaced by the corporate audience who will gladly write off the cost of their tickets as a business expense whether the product on the ice is good or not.
Now that fans have been fined and the public knows about it, the voicing of any further displeasure via the jersey toss is going to die down without a doubt, but the anger will remain…that’s true no matter who is behind the bench, as long as your favourite team is in the dumps.
The good news is, if you indeed have had the opportunity to toss your jersey at a Leafs or Oilers game, you can always jump onboard a new team’s bandwagon. And if you like the idea of sporting the sweater of a winning team, you can find it at Sports Jerseys Canada….of course if you really want to buy a Leafs or Oilers sweater, we won’t hold it against you.