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October 20, 2011

A visionary plan for preventing riots. First published in TheWalrusLaughs.com on June 29th 2011.

It took me a few moments to realize I wasn’t watching an alcohol-fuelled rerun of Jersey Shore, but rather the aftermath of the Vancouver Canucks losing yet another game seven in the National Hockey League playoffs. I haven’t seen so many fights break out and sideways peace signs tossed around since Snooki and The Situation made their rounds at Seaside last season. Downtown Vancouver was a who’s who of idiocy coupled with a smorgasbord of douchebaggery, as many people inexplicably posed for pictures as their beautiful city burned behind them. The police blamed a small group of anarchists for provoking the riot, as well as drunken fans who took advantage of the volatile situation. Though I don’t disagree, I believe there’s a more sinister culprit in this ugly episode that has become a stain on our national consciousness — success.

I hope you’re sitting down. The Vancouver Canucks’ insistence on having a talented and successful hockey team caused the riots. Consider this: If the Canucks weren’t a good hockey team, they never would have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, which means they never would have lost game seven, and consequently their city never would have experienced the riots. Nobody forced the Canucks to draft properly, make sensible trades, and employ a coaching staff that got the most out of its players. What else did they expect?

Being from Toronto, I used to be furious with the Maple Leafs for not having reached the finals since 1967 for a while. After the Vancouver riots, however, it dawned on me that there was a method to the Maple Leafs’ madness. Mediocrity = safe streets. Not as complex as other mathematical equations, but perhaps just as logical. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been purposely building mediocre teams in order to save the city from potential lawlessness. Now it all makes sense.

Not making the Stanley Cup Finals since the Lester B. Pearson era isn’t about a team that defines the word “futile.” Rather, it’s about a organization that cares for the safety of its citizens so much so that it won’t risk putting them in harm’s way by winning. What better way to ensure that they never lose in the finals — and subsequently incite a riot — than to simply never make it there? What selflessness.

I applaud the Toronto Maple Leafs and owe them a huge apology. If I could, I would build a time machine and go back to the year when I was ten years old; then, I would choose not to put that paper bag over my head and go trick-or-treating as a Leafs fan. I was too young to know better. Now that my eyes have been opened, I wish I could present every Leaf of my lifetime with the Victoria Cross for bravery. They’ve endured so much ridicule over the years, all in the name of civil obedience.

Thanks very much, Vancouver, but if having a competitive team means streets ablaze and high expectations shattered, I’ll stick to what we Leaf fans know best — a very quiet summer.