The marketing wing of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is responsible for any number of crimes against humanity. From "Spirit Is Everything" to the 'fan' they pay to do the same moronic cowboy dance every game to the unending stream of giveaways, advertisements, and blared music that stifle any potential emotional buildup and render home games sterile they've marked themselves as enemies of Leafs fans.
If they had restricted their impact to assaulting the sense of Maple Leafs fans then they could at least be accused of doing no worse than following orders no matter how loathsome those may be to those not afflicted by ADD or a room temperature IQ. However, there is only one thing that they've done that has cost the Maple Leafs numerous games this year. It may be controversial to say so but this post will provide scientific proof as to the validity of its claim.
The worst thing that they do is to subject the players to a song of such syrupy awfulness that it actually drains the Maple Leafs of their will to compete. I was lucky enough to e-mail a few Leafs* about their feelings towards the song so that they could explain the impact hearing it has on their game.
For those of you that have had the benefit of never hearing this song, well, your run of luck is over:
If you think you are going to get away with not hearing the song then here are the lyrics:
From the Isle of Vancouver
To the Labrador Sea
One nation, glorious and free
Where I'm free to be me.
From the song of the Prairies
To the call of the pond
Heroes of times come and gone
Where the memories go on and on and on
Oh! Oh! Oh! This is Canada's song
Oh! Oh! Oh! Where my heart belongs
Free to be a dreamer
Free to be who you are
Free to believe in your star
Free to go far
Oh! Oh! Oh! That's Canada's dream (Go Leafs Go)
Oh! Oh! Oh! This is Canada's team (Go Leafs Go)
The Leafs' players that responded to my question had some harsh words for the 'anthem' penned by Glass Tiger's lead singer:
"I dunno. I don't really listen to it" - Phil Kessel
"That song is to my ears what Buffalo is to my eyes" - Joffrey Lupul**
"When we hear that song, it makes us forget what Francois Allaire says about the five hole" - James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson
"I really like the tune. It reminds me of a famous Swedish folk song. I was humming it and thinking back to my Mor-Phar when Marcus Johansson scored. Whoops" - Carl Gunnarsson
"The rest of the guys get so down hearing that song that even my world famous chirps and good locker room presence can't bring them out of their stupor." - Colby Armstrong
"Like I said, I'd never turn up the volume on this song." - Dion Phaneuf
Is it possible that the players are just imagining the impact that Alan Frew's song has on them? Could it all be in their head? Well, a quick look at the results of the games when Free To Be has played before the game indicates that they have a clear grasp of how the song affects them (with thanks to Dave Alter):
- November 5, 2011 - 7-0 L BOS
- November 15, 2011 - 3-2 SOL PHX
- November 30, 2011 - 6-3 L BOS
- January 14, 2012 - 3-0 L NYR
- February 21, 2012 - 4-3 OTL NJ
- February 23, 2012 - 2-1 L SJ
- February 25, 2012 - 4-2 L WSH
That's a record of 0 wins, 5 losses, and 2 Bettman points in seven games. I think that it's clear that the song's lyrics hinder the Leafs' hockey playing abilities. Even the players are able to identify the drain on their talent that comes with sharing the building with the song. How much longer with the game operations department conspire with the marketing department to bring the Leafs down from within? How much longer will Leafs fans accept hearing this terrible song knowing that it is costing the team games?
Please sign this petition. ***
* Not really but maybe how do you know? Yeah, not really.
** Could probably be true
*** Online petitions don't work