Maple Leafs fans in Toronto and across the world are preparing for the playoffs.
Hope is high.
It’s been nearly a decade since the Leafs were in the post-season and fans are hoping for a lengthy run, starting with a beat down of the Bruins.
If the Leafs can beat the Bruins, surely they can beat whoever remains in their way to the Stanley cup.
Here are three fans hoping their lucky charms help the Leafs make a push in the playoffs…one in Toronto, another in China, and lastly a Los Angeles actress who recently stopped by Toronto to promote her role in CBC’s Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story, which aired last night.
Louis Tsia, a Leafs fan in Toronto no longer heckled at work…
Tsia has put up with the taunts over and over again at work: the Leafs suck, they haven’t made the playoffs in forever, just give up, longest playoff drought, longest Stanley Cup drought, etc…
“I always had to bite my cheek,” says Tsai. “But not anymore.”
When the boys clinched a playoff spot recently, Tsia walked into work proud to have his lucky Leafs scarf on – and now, with the Bruins as our first round opponent, he’s telling co-workers to look out…if the Leafs beat the Bruins, who knows how far we’ll go.
“We’re going to get through any matchup we get,” says Tsia, 29, who works at TD Canada Trust. “We’ll beat Boston in six.”
Tsia became a Leafs fan for life after Doug Gilmour’s 1993 double overtime goal against St. Louis, the famous wraparound he’ll never forget.
“It’s definitely felt good gloating a little bit at work now rather than being teased,” says Tsia. “It’s about time.”
Go Leafs Go!
Christopher Bellman, a hardcore Leafs fan who’s followed the boys in China for nearly 9 years...
Bellman moved to China from Toronto to teach English after the Leafs last playoff appearance in 2004. He’s since married there and settled down.
In those 9 years, Bellman has caught almost every Leafs game and never given up hope his team would return to the playoffs.
There is no way for Bellman to get the Leafs on T.V., so he’s tracked and watched them on the Internet.
“I’m a Leafs fan for life,” he says. “I may even fly home if they make it anywhere near the finals.”
Bellman wanted the Leafs to face Montreal in the first round, but he remains confident the boys can beat the Bruins.
“I’m just hoping Chara doesn’t destroy Kessel like he usually does,” says Bellman, 49. “You gotta beat the best to be the best.”
When he watches the games at his home in China, Bellman is joined by his lucky charm, a Buddha statue he rubs for good luck.
He’s hoping that Buddha statue brings the Leafs some playoff glory this year.
Go Leafs Go!
Kathleen Robertson, an actress who grew up in Hamilton and now lives in Los Angeles…
Robertson, known for her role on 90210, remembers sitting on the curbs of her Hamilton street as boys played street hockey pretending to be Leafs players.She recently stopped by her hometown while promoting her role as Colleen Howe, Gordie Howe’s wife, in the CBC movie about Howe’s life.
When she got to her childhood home in Hamilton to see her parents, he dad had some news for her.
“It was one of the first things he told me,” she says, laughing. “They’d just beaten Ottawa.”
The Leafs clinched a playoff spot with the win against the Senators and Robertson’s father let his daughter know.
Back in Los Angeles, Robertson’s four-year-old son wears lucky Leafs pajamas to bed and the family is hoping they bring the boys some post-season luck this year.
Go Leafs Go!