It's no secret that everyone in the world hates the Maple Leafs. Most of the time Leafs fans hate the team. Let's not even get into the general hate for Toronto that is mostly irrational and shrill and comes from a country that usually focuses it's Napoleonic Complex on the United States. We've talked about this on our podcast before but Toronto is the Centre of the Media Universe. The end result is that locals aren't as heavily represented in the media. While other cities like Boston and Montreal have ridiculously homerish local media, ours generally mocks us for being good fans and mostly looks for the worst angle on stories. And that's without even mentioning the media in every other NHL market that focuses on the Leafs first and their team second (looking at you Ottawa).
I probably wasn't alone in cringing when I saw that a CBC/NHLPA poll had the Leafs as the fifth least desirable place to play. Then I laughed when I saw the mighty Montreal tied with us. It gave the anti-Leafs one more chance to put the boot in. But I noticed something else among the list of questions: Toronto was listed as part of the most desirable places to play in the NHL but I couldn't find any specifics. I was curious so I did what any intrepid reporter would do: I e-mailed the NHLPA and asked. Andrew Wolfe, in the Communications department, gave me a quick reply:
The Leafs received 3.8% of the vote to finish 10th in that category.
What does that mean? Well, using a little bit of math, it means of the 318 players polled, roughly 16 players said Toronto was the least desirable place to play (5%) and 12 players said it was the most desirable place to play (3.8%) . What a massive gap. And that's with a team that's missed the playoffs every year since the lockout, has fans throwing waffles at the team, has the league's most hated coach (what a shock that two known hardasses led that question by the way), and has a media that can be pretty oppressive at the best of times. Not bad. Mention that to chuckleheads the next time they bring up this poll.