No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993 (by pure coincidence the year Gary Bettman became NHL commissioner). And every year one team gets close there is a suggestion that all Canadian hockey fans should rally around that team as a source of national pride. This is a sentiment that I completely agree with as long as that team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If however one of Canada’s other 6 teams were to win a Stanley Cup before my Leafs break the Ballord curse, I would be very fucking mad. But of course not all Canadian teams are equally infuriating. So here is my ranking of which team would send me into a rage the most.
6. Calgary Flames
Rage Level: When Tim Hortons is out of your favourite bagel but they still have chocolate chip muffins
I hold no particular love for the Flames or their fans. They usually play defensive, boring hockey. They have not had any particularly likeable players since Iginla left. And they represent a province that is politically and culturally antagonistic to my leftist, Toronto man ways. But the reason they are the Canadian team that I would least hate to see lift Lord Stanley’s Cup is very simple: I want to see Oilers fans suffer. The very idea of Oilers fans who have been predicting a new dynasty ever since they lucked into first overall pick after first overall pick being forced to watch as Calgary throws a parade is enough to bring a smile to my face as I spend hours researching how the Leafs can get under the Salary Cap next season.
Rage Level: When the wifi on the plane isn’t working
Vancouver and the Leafs don’t have much of a rivalry outside the one playoff series in 1994 when the Leafs were in the Western Conference for some reason. Their fans are great, they’ve had some phenomenal players and they’ve been in the league since 1970 and never won, so they’re certainly due (insert 1967 joke here). But at the same time: fuck Vancouver and it’s bullshit, where the mountains meet the sea our city has such natural beauty attitude of superiority. If they win the whole team will probably bring the Cup on a hike up the Grouse Grind or some bullshit, and I don’t need to see that. Also, as always, fuck Todd Bertuzzi and anyone who supported him.
4. Ottawa Senators
Rage Level: When your annoying little brother breaks your Playstation
Senators fans are probably surprised to see themselves this far down the list given they are the Leafs provincial rivals and had the most playoff battles against the Leafs in my lifetime. But the truth is I don’t wish ill on the Senators. Because I don’t care about them at all. They are a nothing franchise that doesn’t even play in Ottawa and who only sell out when the Leafs come to town. Also the fact that they never won with that stacked Spezza, Alfreddson, Hossa team will always be hilarious even if they do win one.
Rage Level: When you stub your toe and then step on lego back to back
Presumably the answer to the question: “is there anything better than beating the Leafs?” would be “winning the Stanley Cup.” But so far Jets fans have had to settle for winning their own Stanley Cup: beating the Leafs in the regular season about 50% of the time. The Jets winning the Cup would cause contrasting emotions for me: on one hand seeing the loudest fans in the league get to celebrate the ultimate prize after losing their team for years would be downright touching. On the other hand every single player on the current Jets roster is more annoying than the one before. So maybe if they go into a full rebuild and a new version of the Jets wins I’d be able to tolerate it a bit more. And if they do win the provincial government might finally give them the money to build an airport like a real city.
Rage Level: Dennis Reynolds screaming “I am a five star man.”
The worst part is this will probably happen sometime in the next few years. The West is weak and teams with two all-time great players like McDavid and Draisaitl usually get at least one. Am I trying to jinx them? Absolutely. Because the mere thought of people with twitter handles like @matthewssux6969 and @mitchmarnerisabitch67 being happy is enough to make me vomit in my mouth. The only consolation I will take if this happens is the fact that, even at the height of their celebration, they will still be mostly thinking about the Leafs. Also if he wins in Edmonton there’s no reason for McDavid to stick around so it arguably increases the chances of him coming home when his deal is done.
Rage Level: Insert Jesse Pinkman ‘he can’t keep getting away with this’ GIF
Classic rivalries never die. But in recent years the tensions had certainly died down. The Leafs were in the West for years and, thanks to Kerry Fraser, didn’t get to meet the Habs in the 1993 finals. Then, even when the Buds moved back to the East the teams were never good at the same time. This remained true even into the 2021 playoffs where the Habs, despite being a bad hockey team, came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat a Leafs team that had a clear path to the finals. To say this re-awakened my burning hatred for the Canadiens franchise and desire to never see them win another game let alone the Stanley Cup finals would be an understatement somewhere along the lines of saying ‘William Nylander is a bit of a polarising player.’ The day the Habs lift the Cup for the 25th time is the day I quit watching hockey forever. Or at least until the next Leafs-Habs game.