It wasn’t a classic hockey rivalry, but Vancouver still had plenty of pent-up hostility against Toronto when the Canucks and the Leafs met in the 1994 NHL playoffs.
Two classic Canadian rivalries could be revived as the playoffs get started in in 2021.
As the first round gets underway, Edmonton and Winnipeg will meet Wednesday for the first time since 1990, according to CBC Sports.
Toronto and Montreal are also in a pending playoff matchup, on Thursday, and that hasn’t happened since 1979.
“I would say they’re arrogant … they’re obnoxious,” a man in business wear told CBC reporter Ian Hanomansing. “They’ve got big attitude problems.”
The puck was set to drop that night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, and the teams were tied at one game each. The winner of the series would go on to the Stanley Cup finals.
Toronto-bashing was such a popular pastime in the west coast city that a local newspaper leveraged it for a ticket giveaway contest.
The contest was called “Why I Hate Toronto.”
19 reasons why
“All week, the fax machines have churned out hundreds of reasons,” said Hanomansing as a fax machine was shown spitting out page after page, one of which repeated the word “Arrogance” 19 times.
Another Vancouverite took issue with Torontonians who relocated for career purposes, including her boss of four months.
He seemed unperturbed by the vitriol directed Toronto’s way.
“A lot of people have been dictated to by the people in the East and this is a real good way of venting their frustrations, through the hockey team,” said Daniel Lisicky.
Another strike against Toronto was its TV audience, whose game time preferences influenced the scheduling of that night’s game.
It was a convenient 9 p.m. in the Eastern time zone, which meant 6 p.m. Pacific time — and hustling out of work for many ticket holders.
“I don’t get the deal where we’ve got to accommodate the East by bringing our start times from 7:30 down to six o’clock,” said Bob Conway, who was spelling out a message for a sign at a tire store urging the Canucks to “rake up the Leafs.”
“I mean, I want to watch the game too.”
Toronto’s worst insult: ‘Canuckle heads’
Two days earlier, a CBC reporter went to Maple Leaf Gardens for Game 2 and assembled a montage of stock footage of fans on their way in.
Toronto had won Game 1, and fans were decked out in Leafs jerseys, T-shirts and headscarves for the game on May 18, 1994.
One fan shouted “bye-bye Vancouver!” and others brandished pre-printed signs from a local newspaper that dismissed their rivals as “Canuckle heads.”