It’s a beautiful thing when commonalities bring us together.
When you think of Canada, you think of hockey. They’re synonymous. The NHL has 7 Canadian teams – more than any other North American major pro sport: The Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames & Vancouver Canucks.
While the Canadiens & Leafs make up the largest % of fans in the country, the allegiances of fans of the other 5 are pretty darn strong. Rooting for your hockey team is like practicing your religion, & the rivalries/trash talking run deep.
In 1995, the NBA expanded into Canada w the Raptors in Toronto & the Grizzlies in Vancouver. While the Raptors remained “in the north,” the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis in 2001.
This left the Raptors the lone team in Canada, representing an entire nation
There are few rare things or events that bring an entire country together. War is one of them…death of a hero another…the Olympics yet another. It’s even rarer that a single team in a pro league, galvanizes an entire country the way this Raptors team did.
Serendipity again that my travels brought me north during the Finals, but there was something special abt sitting w the leaders of the Fire Dept. in Vancouver – a place that had their Province’s team yanked from them – & getting a chance to watch them all gather to root for their Country’s team.
When it came to the Raptors run this yr, it didn’t matter if you were a Winnipeg Jets fan or a Calgary Flames one. It didn’t matter if you loved Trudeau or hated him. Lines that traditionally divided Canadians were blurred, as their countrymen all rooted together.
The connections even extended all the way back to the mid-90’s, when the pioneers of the team like Tracy Murray were first putting the Raptors on the map.
Yes I’m a big cheeseball for finding the camaraderie/connection in most things, & for finding the tie to how I believe we should treat MH in our society, but ain’t it a beautiful thing when we find commonalities that bind us, instead of allowing other factors to divide us?