Stanley Cup vs. Gold Medal: The Choice is Clear

img After my hockey game last night, I tuned in The Fan 590 for the drive home. They opened up the phone lines to play a little game of "would you rather". The question was "would you give up Canada's gold medal in men's hockey for a Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup victory?"

It was almost midnight on a Friday night, and the host was clearly trying to stimulate a discussion, but for a Leafs fan this really isn't a difficult question to ponder. The choice is clear. Every fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs would very gladly give up Sidney Crosby's golden goal for another Stanley Cup. We'd do it in a heartbeat, and there's several reasons why...

Our Emotional Investment
I'm 35 years old, and I've been rooting for the blue and white with all my might since Peter Ihnacak and Miroslav Frycer were lighting the lamp. That's almost 30 years of Stanley Cup dreams unfulfilled. I want to enjoy the payoff. I need to enjoy the payoff.

A Boy's Dream
Playing ball hockey every Saturday afternoon throughout the 80s, I never once dreamed about scoring the gold medal winning goal. I always dreamed about scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal, for my Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Road to Glory is Gruelling
The Olympic gold was locked up after 7 games. We had to win 4 playoff games, against Germany, Russia, Slovakia and the USA. Compare that to what you have to do to win the cup. There is no tougher tournament than the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This City Would Go Nuts
I remember well how this city exploded in 1992 and 1993 after the Jays won their World Series titles. I was on the streets, screaming and hollering. If the Leafs were to win a Stanley Cup, this city would go absolutely ape shit. Take that World Series celebration and multiply it by 10.

J pointed out this cool video of Torontonians celebrating our gold medal on Yonge street last Sunday night. It looks like a fun party, but I've seen far bigger crowds when the Leafs advance past the first round of the playoffs.

Is there a single Leaf fan who wouldn't give up this gold for a Stanley Cup?


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Comments (16 - click here to join in!)

The_Voice

Gold medal > Stanley cup... But then, I watched more hockey during those two weeks than I have in the past 4 years, so that describes my investment in the leafs.

March 6, 2010 @ 10:07 AM

CQ

Bring back The Loveboat, lol. That was nearly a decade's worth of forget this HNIC's Leafs game family TV viewing.

March 6, 2010 @ 10:10 AM

Alan G

Granted I'm old enough to have seen the Leafs win a few Stanley Cups. I was 14 when they won their last one in 67. To a young kid that meant the world. Back then I knew all the players on the Leafs (and in the NHL). I watched some of those Leafs come up from St. Mikes and the Marlies. There was a real connection.

Now I look at the Leafs. Half of them aren't even born in Canada (I think) and that's okay. I've got nothing against the players from other countries. The NHL is a league of rent-a-player league. I have no real emotional connection to the Leafs anymore.

That being said, I felt great pride watching Team Canada win with some of the best players in Canada who came together to win gold for my country. I just don't feel or think I'll ever feel that kind of pride for the Leafs again.

And you know what else is kind of sad? When I was a kid, I could save up my allowances and then actually be able to buy a ticket in the Greens or Greys to go see the Leafs play at MLG. I don't even come close to being able to afford to buy tickets for Leaf games at the Hangar these days. And the way they play, even if I could afford it, why would I want to waste my money.

Back in the old days, from the top of the organization, right down to the bottom it was all about winning. Losing was not an acceptable option. Now it's just about making money and making rich people richer. For Team Canada, anything less than Gold was just not acceptable. If the Leafs ever adopt that attitude again, maybe I'll change my mind. But for now that Gold medal is priceless, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

March 6, 2010 @ 10:36 AM

Tee

I'm a Canadian by a fluke of nature and arbitrarily drawn lines on a map. I'm a Leafs fan by choice.

No question, Stanley Cup is more important.

March 6, 2010 @ 10:55 AM

Rob

All we need is either The Tragically Hip, Gordon Lightfoot or Stompin Tom, to write a song about it.

March 6, 2010 @ 11:27 AM

Hobo Joe

Perhaps as an American, it could be said by a Canadian that I don't view/value hockey as much. With that, I know how much I love it, and I know how much I wanted the U.S. to win Gold this past Olympics. I remember the disgust I felt after the disaster in Nagano (yeah, the dorm stuff). The disappointment in the men's team's lack of placement was second to that disgust. However, I was proud as hell for the U.S. women's team Gold.

Flashforward to 2002, losing Gold on our turf to..... well, you can kind of imagine how that felt.

So, to get to the question: Stanley over Gold, no contest.
On top of your reasonings why, which I agree with, here's mine:

The Olympics happen every 4 years. Yeah, you're into for 2 weeks but that's all it is, 2 out of 208 weeks. Any true NHL fan worth their salt knows what it's like to root day in and day out, to follow their draft and off-season moves, etc. If your team's won it before, you know that feeling and would give almost anything to have it again. If not, you kind of can only imagine but relish the opportunity to actually see it.

I promise you this Mike and anyone else out there who thinks the Gold is better: If and when the Leafs manage to win the Cup, or even if you sense they're getting close, you'd trade that Gold in. When one's team is dismal for so long, their view becomes askewed. The big picture becomes so far away and unattainable, it gets chalked up to something that'll never happen. That changes in a hurry when the reality of greatness starts to settle in.

You know what would be great? If they could poll the Gold Medal winners.
To the previous Cup winners, which would they rather have? (What do you think Crosby would say, since both of his are freshest?)
To the one's who've never won a Cup, would they trade it in?

March 6, 2010 @ 11:41 AM

elvis

What about Gemini v Stanley Cup?

March 6, 2010 @ 12:12 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Nothing trumps a Gemini. I should know. I've won one.

March 6, 2010 @ 12:52 PM

Argie

My God, I can't believe I've exchanged emails with a guy who has won a Gemini.

Must declare this on my facebook.

Bless you Mike!

March 6, 2010 @ 6:06 PM

felix

Yes, yes I would trade the gold for a Leaf Cup. No hesitation whatsoever.

March 6, 2010 @ 6:25 PM

James

At the risk of being publicly stoned, flamed or otherwise mocked, Sunday's gold metal game was Canada's Stanley cup. Sorry to say it, but with the exception of--gag--Ottawa, we haven't come any closer than that in a while. As for a Leafs Stanley cup? Maybe this decade. But only if Burke doesn't become a repeat of our last two GM's. Anyone wanna place bets on it?

March 6, 2010 @ 6:54 PM

Anonymous

If you're a Leaf/Canada fan, the math makes this a no-brainer, no?:

Gold medal - you have to wait 4 years, but realistically you're only competing against (at best) 4 or 5 other sides. And there's no evidence that small group of serious suitors will ever grow.

Stanley Cup - 29 other teams, with a far wider rotation of winners/runners-up, but the local side hasn't even made a final in 43 years. And then there were only 5 other teams to get in the way. The only others with similar futility have had a far shorter window: Preds (13 yrs), Sharks (19), Coyotes (31), Jackets (10), Thrashers (11) and Wild (10).

March 6, 2010 @ 9:54 PM

Mississauga Mike

Gold medal hands down! That was incredible last weekend, although I was too young for the Jays winning the World Series (was 6 & 7) so it's tough to say.

Are we talking Gold on Canadian soil or Gold in general? Gold on home soil certainly, gold in general... may require more thought, but still leaning towards last week's result.

March 8, 2010 @ 12:52 PM

A.R.

The Gold unites nation and can only be won every 4 years. The Stanley Cup is won every year. If the Leafs were competitive to win at least one cup every decade, I think Mike would concede Gold to be more important.

But this issue brings into discussion ideas of nation versus city. Nations are abstract ideas; cities are concrete entities. What's more important? Both are meaningful, unless the municipality is insignificant perhaps.

March 8, 2010 @ 2:20 PM

Chris in EY

Stanley Cup. That way my journey is complete and i don't have to ever watch them again.

March 8, 2010 @ 3:56 PM

Doug Revel

I think you are all missing the point it's not a gold in Olympic Hockey it should be a gold in the Olympics (Summer or winter) it doesn't matter I grew up in Canada and I'm so proud to be a Canuck on both fronts but i didn't grow up wanting a Stanley Cup I grew wanting a Gold Medal. And thats because I wanted to represent my country and the Olympics are suppose to be the Pinnacle of Sport so If I did accomplish the feat of winning a Gold I would be in Olympic History. Many of the players for hockey can bounce from team to team and win 2 or 3 Stanley Cups but because the Olympics only come so often the chances of being able to go to them is 3 or 4 times over is so remote although not unheard of. I was in Japan during the Sydney Olympics and I have to admit seeing Simon Whitfield win the very 1st Gold in the sport of Triathlon (Australia's national sport) made me feel very proud and Seeing Alex Billodeau win the very 1st Gold on Canadian soil in the sport of Freestyle skiing made me feel even prouder. What more could be said of a True Olympian he gave of the sport of Hockey so his Older brother Frederick could join in on Family stuff because he had CP. And if you talk to the Figure skaters such as Kurt Browning it was the Gold or nothing. He was one of the Lucky ppl who got to go to the Olympics more than once but he never won an Olympic medal even though he was the world Champ 4 times 3 times in a row and then once after one of the Olympics. So I think you all need to re-exam how you compare this debate. it shouldn't be just the gold in Olympic Hock vs. The Stanley Cup it should be a Gold Medal summer or winter vs. the Stanley cup

June 12, 2011 @ 1:43 AM

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