It has been 115 days since I moved out West for work. The first thing I experienced when I arrived were some mountains, then a whole lot of hate for Maple Leafs fans and people from Toronto in general just in case they also liked the Maple Leafs. Just in case they carried with them an air of losing.
I, as a fan of one of the worst teams in the league, could not care less about what other people think of me as a fan of the Maple Leafs. I welcome the banter - to an extent. With open arms I accept your "we make the playoffs" claims as some sort of assurance that the Maple Leafs will never surpass the Canucks in terms of talent.
If we're talking about longevity, get it line. The Canucks sit with zero Stanley Cup Championships and 27 appearances in franchise history. The Maple Leafs have 13 Stanley Cups in 65 appearances.
They also haven't won since 1967. Yes, I know Canucks fans. Through the last ten years the Canucks have been the better team no question. They made the playoffs seven out of those ten years with one trip to the final in 2011. Compared to the Canucks, the Maple Leafs have been trash. Who is going to argue against that?
The Maple Leafs play 4,381 kilometres away on the other side of the country in a different conference than the Canucks, yet the one-sided rivalry remains. Before I moved out to Vancouver I didn't have the slightest idea how much unbridled disgust there was toward Maple Leaf supporters.
I tried to think about what it is that sparked this intense partisan duel. Where is the overlap in the organization? Pat Quinn? Now that's a man worth fighting over. Brian Burke and Dave Nonis? Irrelevant. Mats Sundin? That one did sting, but that's no reason for Canucks fans to be sour.
The Canucks hosted the dreaded Maple Leafs in March which became a hot topic at the bar I was in the night before. "Big game tomorrow, eh?" some middle-aged man said with a raised eyebrow as his beer spilled over his knuckles as he jumped to save his suds.
"Canucks and Leafs? I'm indifferent," I said as I tried not to give the conversation any more weight. "Oh really? I thought you were a Leafs fan?" At this point I'd like to explain I had only mentioned I moved to Vancouver recently and it happened to be from Toronto. "No, they're my team I just have no reason to be pumped for the game."
Enter my drunk friend who criticizes my loyalty to a team she claims she loves but can't name the coach. You get the picture, right? The rivalry, I've come to tell myself goes much deeper than hockey.
The Vancouver lifestyle is fantastic. You can workout 12 months a year, climb mountains, take a ferry to the island, travel up to Whistler to ski and snowboard, travel east and see Kamloops and Kelowna.
There are a tonne of great places to discover and the weather stays above zero for the most part in Vancouver during the winter months. Toronto is grey, cold, and busy. It's downtown core is much bigger than Vancouver's and the vibe is straight business. The first thing I noticed about Vancouver's downtown core is how it's a mini downtown Toronto without the fuss and anger back home.
Someone has been spreading rumours because when I mention I'm from Toronto a lot of people put up a wall and utter words that never stray far from, "Oh, you don't like us Vancouver people in Toronto."
When I pressed someone to expand their answer, show their work like in grade five math class he said, "Everyone in Toronto thinks we don't work as hard as they do." Interesting, considering I'm hearing this for the first time as someone who was born and raised in Toronto.
Let's bring this back into context. The Canucks hate the Maple Leafs because they think we hate them. They also hate the Maple Leafs because in certain business circles Vancouverites have heard they don't work as hard as Torontonians. What a mess. If there was every a rivalry without any substance it's this one and it's not going away any time soon.