When We Were Diet Coke Heads

RewindThe first home team clinching game I recall was when George Bell squeezed the last out to clinch my Blue Jays the AL East in 1985. It wasn't until that next April, however, that we broke out the Diet Coke.

The Maple Leafs were awful in 1985-86, finishing 25-48-7. In the Norris Division, that was good enough for fourth and a matchup with the division winning Chicago Black Hawks.

It was only a best-of-three back then in the first round, and somehow, against all odds, the Leafs played superb hockey taking games one and two on the road. In game three, on April 12, 1986, my brothers and I watched Wendel Clark lead us to the sweep.

It was our first taste of the thrill a playoff series victory brought us, and we instinctively headed to the fridge for something to celebrate with. I remember we grabbed cans of Diet Coke and began spraying them at each other in celebration. Our Leafs were victorious and we were elated.

I'll never forget that first Leafs playoff round victory celebration and the Diet Cokes. I can't wait for tonight.

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There have got to be many hockey playoff pool participants who are either overly elated or really concerned about the Leafs taking Boston to a seventh game tonight. The CBC is certainly happy with all of the extra ad revenue, now that Vancouver and Montréal are gone.

Ever since Coca-Cola Inc. introduced Coke Zero, I have found it even more difficult to drink Diet Coke. Taste the two one after the other and the difference is surprising. To me, Diet Coke tastes saltier. Yes, it does have more sodium in it. There is also a different mouth feel between the two, Coke Zero being a bit smoother. Coke did their own testing before introducing Coke Zero, of course. A friend who works at Coca-Cola Canada tells me that their taste tests showed a statistically significant preference for Coke Zero over Diet Coke - and Diet Pepsi. So Coke Zero was introduced.

What continues to surprise Coca-Cola is how much consumers still purchase Diet Coke over Coke Zero. Coke Zero is Diet Coca-Cola. Diet Coke? That's diet Coke II. We all know how well Coke II did. People, being creatures of habit, even when they see both Coke Zero and Diet Coke on offer, still have a "knee-jerk" response of ordering Diet Coke over 80% of the time. Habit over actual (tested) taste preference. Interesting. Which do you prefer and why?

May 13, 2013 @ 11:44 AM


I'm excited about tonight's game, but cautiously so.

Even if they don't make it, I'm grateful they brought actual hockey excitement back to this city after nearly a decade. There's no hockey like playoff hockey.

May 13, 2013 @ 12:51 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


"There's no hockey like playoff hockey".

Amen to that! Playoff hockey rules.

May 13, 2013 @ 12:53 PM


I've said since the beginning of the series, these two teams are so close in talent and coaching that's its going to come down to a lucky bounce or the goalie having a brain fart. Expect overtime.

May 13, 2013 @ 2:04 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I'm now not sure my heart could take overtime.

May 13, 2013 @ 2:17 PM



I'm sure you meant "Not" because I couldn't handle overtime. Not tonight.

May 13, 2013 @ 2:35 PM


Go Bruins go. That's all I have to say. too bad my Habs are out.

May 13, 2013 @ 4:30 PM

Dave Williams

Mike, it is now baseball season, we should be placing our efforts behinds the Jays. The Leafs will only disappoint again.

May 13, 2013 @ 6:51 PM


Douglas, I completely agree with you. I can't Diet Coke now, Coke Zero is the superior beverage.

May 13, 2013 @ 7:48 PM


I meant can't DRINK Diet Coke now.

May 13, 2013 @ 7:48 PM


Glad the Bruins won. I won't get into baseball. It's too slow and boring. Can't wait for next hockey season. My Habs are going to win the cup next year, not the Leafs.

May 14, 2013 @ 6:09 PM

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