As sports fans, we sometimes feel reduced to something less than human. We’re account numbers for season-ticket brokers or twists of a turnstile or percentages of a ratings point. The relationship between fan and franchise can seem impersonal at best, artificial at worst.
That’s why this gesture from the Toronto Maple Leafs was such a nice surprise. A Reddit user named ‘CanadianGladiator’ uploaded two images to r/leafs on Tuesday, with the subject header: ‘My Grandfather, a Leafs season ticket holder for over 25 years, passed away. This is what the Leafs sent us.’
The family received flowers and a card reading, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you as we mourn the loss of a great member of Leafs Nation – The Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club.”
They also received this letter signed by Dave Nonis, senior VP and general manager of the Leafs. The text of it:
On behalf of the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization, please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of your father, Paul.
I understand your father was a long-time and loyal Leafs fan, as well as a season seat holder for more than 25 years, and that the two of you were able to share many special memories together cheering on the team.
Hockey offers a fantastic bond between Canadian fathers and sons and we hope that the memories you shared together at Leafs games will comfort you and your family during this difficult time.
Again, our deepest sympathies; our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
No fanfare, no publicity; just a team doing something to recognize the passing of a dedicated fan in a classy manner. Well done.