TIMING OF MATTHEWS’ BEST FASHION AWARD MEANS MORE HARDSHIP FOR LONG-SUFFERING LEAFS FANS

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Fashion, Style

How would you like to be a Toronto Maple Leaf fan this morning? You’re just now getting over the sting of another spectacular playoff flop. Maybe. You haven’t seen an NHL playoff series win since 2004. George Bush was still President. And the team you love hasn’t won a league championship in 54 years. But last week your best player Auston Matthews was recognized by his peers for his fashion forward sense. So there’s that.

Related: Kiton CEO: New generation much more precise when it comes to their fashion wants and needs

Are you feeling a bit of satisfaction with last night’s 8-0 Tampa Bay Lightning win over the New York Islanders? That smugness is like a sugar high. It won’t last. The Isles are run by Lou Lamoriello, the old guy the Leafs let leave three years ago so the millennial-age guy could then run the team. Since 2018 when Lou took over the Isles have enjoyed a steady incline of success. Sure they got smoked last night but that series isn’t over yet (3-3 in games). Meanwhile it’s been such a long time since the Leafs were knocked out of the first round of this year’s playoffs golf has likely become a bore for the players.

 

 
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A post shared by Auston Matthews (@austonmatthews)

Annual NHLPA awards

The NHL Players’ Association Player Poll results covered mostly hockey-related questions. Five hundred players took part. But then there’s that player who is the “most fashionable” question. Auston Matthews was at 21.16%. Runner-up David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins was at 11.08%.

The pain for a Maple Leaf fan is a unique one in pro sports. It’s one Boston Red Sox fans used to understand, decades ago. Chicago Cubs fans too. In hockey, it was the New York Rangers – who before 1994 had gone 54 years before winning a Stanley Cup. In Toronto it’s about the stench of an organization steeped in a country-club-feel rot, decades of losing despite unlimited budgets. Everybody is making too much damn money to really give a toss. Here different generations of fans – Silent Generation, then Boomers, then Get X and now Millennials – have grown accustomed to that annual spring time ritual of dull, sickening defeat. And that feeling compounds yearly.

Or it’s emotional devastation. Or rage (see social media after they dropped three in a row to lose to the Montreal Canadiens in that opening round last month). It’s almost a rite of passage if you live in these parts, taking you into sports adulthood. That feeling that an organization that has losing so embedded in its culture, they’ll never win anything of real substance. Yet the money rolls in and Carlton the Bear stuffed toys roll back out.

 
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A post shared by Auston Matthews (@austonmatthews)

We cover men’s fashion in these parts which is why we’re going there. Auston Matthews is a wonderful hockey player. In that same player poll he was voted best goal scorer. So there’s that too. I have never met him but he seems pleasant enough. And judging by the photos he’s a fashion-forward man who knows how to spin a sartorial splendour.

According to GQ a few years back he was into double-breasted blazers and bold-patterned hoodies. They photographed him in a Dolce & Gabbana suit. Gucci, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton are go-to favorites, he said.

The blame for the Toronto Maple Leafs Annual Laugh Riot runs from ownership all the way down to the bench players. And it’s been that way here for a thousand years. There’s a memorable rant by former NHLer Sean Avery about the Leafs after they bowed out again. Only a long-suffering Leaf fan would understand it.

But it still irks, doesn’t it? The timing of the fashion award really stinks. I mean, Leafs fans were just starting to enjoy summer. Especially with the team that took the Leafs out in that first round seven game series, the Canadiens, still playing FFS. The millennial generation likely has no idea that the Leafs and Habs used to have a real rivalry and hatred – in the 1960s. Lou’s team plays again tomorrow night.

And tonight, Lou was named NHL GM of the Year for the second year in a row.

But Leafs players, led by Matthews, look sharp and fine, don’t they?

TOP IMAGE: KEVIN SOUSA, GETTY IMAGES

 
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A post shared by Auston Matthews (@austonmatthews)

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