When my therapist challenged me to compile my list of wanted memories, it was early August, exactly one month ago, and my beloved Maple Leafs were still a contender in the NHL playoffs. I added this memory squarely in the realm of “potential”, because although I didn’t think it was likely to happen, wouldn’t it be incredible to witness them win the Stanley Cup and remember it fondly at New Year’s Eve?
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup was in 1967, when televised games were broadcast in black and white. It was the last year the NHL consisted of the Original Six teams, as the league doubled in size the following season. It would be almost 13 years until I was born. The closest the Leafs have ever gotten to winning the whole shebang was back in 1993, when they were one goal away from making it to the championship series.
At a time when the whole world seems out of whack with this pandemic, there’s a part of me that felt reassured when the Leafs lost their best-of-5 series against the Blue Jackets. Nothing in my life has been as constant as the annual disappointment of watching the Toronto Maple Leafs end their season before a champion has been crowned. At least this is a familiar feeling, when so much of this world feels unfamiliar.
Watching the Leafs hoist the Stanley Cup won’t be a memory I have this year. So, although I won’t have that, what I do have is a renewed sense of normalcy for 2020. After all, there’s always next year.