Ban Leaf fans from Scotiabank Place?

Does the prospect of hearing “Go, Leafs, Go!” sung loudly at Scotiabank Place next Saturday night appeal to you about as much as having to clean the crumbs out of Lanny McDonald’s moustache?

Editor’s note: Apparently the phone has been ringing off the hook at the Citizen’s sports department over this Mark Sutcliffe column, which I present now for your reading pleasure:

No, Leafs, no: Ban buds fans

By Mark Sutcliffe

Does the prospect of hearing “Go, Leafs, Go!” sung loudly at Scotiabank Place next Saturday night appeal to you about as much as having to clean the crumbs out of Lanny McDonald’s moustache? Do you think blue and white jerseys belong in our building as much as Tie Domi belongs in Mensa?

You’re not alone. The Senators front office admits the team hears complaints from fans who stay away from Toronto-Ottawa games because Leaf fans ruin the experience.

Which only makes the problem worse, since more tickets become available for the middle-aged guys who cuddle Carlton the Bear at night.

So maybe it’s time to do something about it.

It’s too late for next week’s game, because most of the tickets have already been sold. But for one game against Toronto next year, I’m proposing A Night Without Leaf Fans.

It’s time to say Phaneuf is enough. This city needs to rid its hockey arena of the infestation of blue-faced critters that appear whenever the Leafs visit Ottawa. We need to give Toronto fans a mandatory Leaf of absence from Scotiabank Place.

I’m proposing the following action plan:

All season-ticket holders will be asked to sign a pledge that they will not allow Leafs fans to use their tickets for a specific game next year. Companies with season tickets are actually a big part of the problem: they give up their seats for Toronto games to clients and staff who cheer for the visiting team. That won’t be allowed this time. If you betray the home side, we’ll publish your company name.

Next, we’ll launch a campaign to have the most diehard Senators fans buy up all the remaining tickets before they go on sale to the general public. It should be as easy as skating around Borje Salming. What Senators fan wouldn’t want to be at an Ottawa-Toronto game where, for the first time ever, 100-per-cent of the crowd was cheering for the home team? It would be the biggest moment of civic pride since Tony Gabriel took off his cleats.

How will we know every ticket buyer is a Senators fan? Ah, because to get a seat you’ll have to post a picture of yourself in a Senators jersey on your Facebook page, then watch a highlight reel of Daniel Alfredsson’s best goals, followed by Zdeno Chara treating Brian McCabe like a rag doll. No self-respecting Leaf fan, if there is such a thing, would endure that.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Ottawa would declare it an Official Day Without Leaf Fans and pass a bylaw that anyone found wearing a Leafs jersey in the city during that 24-hour period will be sentenced to eight hours of community service for the Ottawa Senators Foundation, wearing an Alfie jersey and holding a Spartacat doll. Vern White, we need all your best men on this one.

By the way, if we’re going to have the name of a tough, low-scoring defenceman on the concession stands during A Night Without Leaf Fans, it can’t be a former Leaf. So, for one night only, Tim Hortons stations will be known as Matt Carkners.

But even these drastic measures might not be enough. Like unwanted household pests, Leaf fans are not easy to drive away. (And they’re also attracted to garbage.)

So, we’ll need to provide one more disincentive. A Night Without Leaf Fans will also raise a pile of money for an important cause. Companies will be encouraged to make donations, fans will be asked to line up pledges, and $20 from every ticket sold will go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario or an equally important local charity.

But there’s one important string attached. You know how you can promise $5 to the guy in the next cubicle if he bikes to Kingston and back? Technically speaking, if he doesn’t do it, then you’re off the hook.

Well in this case, the money only gets released if A Night Without Leaf Fans really is a night without Leaf fans. If so much as one guy wearing blue and white underwear jumps out of his seat for a Toronto scoring chance (that includes you, Stephen Harper), the donation is cancelled.

So, Toronto fans, for one night you can Leaf us alone and know that you’re helping a good cause. Since you’ll be playing a role by staying away, we might even let someone in a Leafs jersey appear for the cheque presentation. But if you think Steve Bartman had it rough when he cost the Cubbies a World Series berth, you don’t want to be the guy thwarting a half-million-dollar donation to CHEO.

Before you go crying to a human rights tribunal, Leaf fans, we’re talking about one game here. You can still come and scream your lungs out for your Cupless-Since-the-Moon-Landing heroes at two other games in Ottawa.

Or, here’s a thought: buy some tickets to see your team in Toronto. And don’t come back. (After a night at the Air Canada Centre, you won’t be able to afford the return trip anyway.)

Think about it, Senators fans: One game. One mortal enemy. No Leaf fans.

Who’s with me?

What do you think? Leave a comment