People who follow the Toronto Maple Leafs knows that their fan base, Leafs Nation, is divided into two (perhaps more) factions. One camp wants the team to go in one direction, the other the exact opposite. It doesn’t matter what the issue of the day is: tanking, going with youth, more skill, etc, you will find at least two, maybe 3, different points of view that try to claim that theirs is the only one that matters. It is kind of like the current state of the Republican Party. But infighting is not mutually exclusive to Leafs Nation. We are seeing cracks coming out of Habs land.
A Canadiens season ticket holder recently put out a full-page ad in the Montreal Gazette expressing his frustration and disappointment towards Habs management over the team trading PK Subban to Nashville over the summer.
One of my old colleagues, a Habs fan himself, went on Facebook to respond to the ad. He essentially told the good doctor to f— off!
Mind you, Frank (or Freeway as he likes to go with on the radio) regularly invites disgruntled Leafs fans to hop on the Habs bandwagon. So take his criticism of the doctor with a grain of salt. But as you can see, his friends and followers each took different sides on the issue. You don’t see it here but one of them went as far as to accuse Frank of being an enabler for Canadiens management and the bad decisions they have made over the years. Those are fighting words.
Believe it or not, fans of the Montreal Canadiens, and fans of every other sports team for that matter, are just as divided as Maple Leafs fans. The difference is it is no longer being kept under the radar. Social media has made the feud among Habs fans out in the open for everyone to see. The divide, however, did not begin with the Subban trade. This goes way back to when the team traded Patrick Roy to Colorado in 1996. Then there’s the decision to re-hire Michel Therrien as the head coach in 2012 largely because he speaks French. And then of course you got the separatist Habs fans against ones who are in favour of having Quebec remain as part of Canada.
I don’t take joy in seeing a group of fans tearing each other to shreds. But this destroys any belief that no other fan base is as divided as Maple Leafs fans. Habs fans are in a league of their own when it comes to battles within their ranks and it should come as a surprise to no one. Unless of course, you blindly believe a fan base like the Habs is too perfect to sink to a low level.