Leafs-trolling father-daughter duo has been doing this for years
Curious Maple Leafs fans noticed something suspicious during Tuesday night’s Game 1 loss to the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Pictured celebrating one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s goals in the first round of the playoffs against the Leafs, the same pair of fans were seen wearing Panthers jerseys on Tuesday night’s broadcast after Florida took a 2-0 lead over Toronto in Game 1.
A tweet posted by user @rufus_mcdaniel generated over 3,000 likes, and people everywhere were searching for an explanation.
— Rufus (@rufus_mcdaniel) May 3, 2023
Paid actors? Generational haters? People from Florida who took an inexplicably long vacation to Canada? Reverse snowbirds?
Turns out, there’s a much different reason.
Enter Erv and Dani, a Toronto-based father-daughter duo who’ve been attending Leafs games together for years… and rooting for their opponents.
Erv is both a long-time Leafs season ticket holder and a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan, who chooses to show his support with his daughter by rooting against his team’s biggest rival.
“We can’t travel to Montreal for every game, so we’ll support the Leafs’ opponent,” Dani said in an interview with Daily Hive. “It just so happens that this game we were recognized.”
As for the odds of getting recognized on two different broadcasts? Well, in a sea of Leafs jerseys, Dani admitted it was pretty easy to spot her and her dad sitting in the lower bowl.
“There’s not that many Panthers fans [in Toronto]… it’s a bright blue jersey,” Dani added. “It’s right near where one of the camera ladies is.”
They pawed at the camera 😹 pic.twitter.com/nIoc394l2k
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) May 3, 2023
While Erv became a fan of Montreal for players like Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur, Dani, a former goalie herself, became fond of the Canadiens team’s backstopped by star goalie Carey Price.
Over the years, attending Leafs games with her dad while donning their opponents’ gear became a ritual for the two.
“He goes to every one, and I go to almost all of them. I’m still in school, so I can’t be as committed,” Dani added. “He’s had season tickets as soon as he could buy them.”
THERE'S MORE 😭
If you know who this guy is, DM us 🤣 https://t.co/UpHV9LdE1N pic.twitter.com/GkPkE1pB0n
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) May 3, 2023
While her dad has “every single” jersey in the NHL, Dani said she’s working on her own collection.
“It’s such an amazing way to connect with my dad,” she added. “I think hockey is very special because when you’re sitting there as a Leafs fan you’re kind of high-fiving everyone [when they score], but for when you’re [cheering for] the visiting team and there’s not many other people around, it’s just you two enjoying the moment.”
And while she said a stray beer has been thrown her way once, it’s been nearly all positivity from those in the areas surrounding her and her dad, whatever jersey they’re wearing.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to never really have a bad encounter,” Dani said. “I know Leafs fans that went to Tampa for round one and they’ve gotten punched, so I’m very grateful for the Toronto fans for not being as mean.”
Dani, a high school student with an interest in studying either sports management or sports psychology, said she and her dad aren’t afraid to support the Raptors or Blue Jays throughout their respective seasons.
“We love all Toronto teams… except the Leafs,” Dani added. “I’m not a Leaf hater… I want them to do well. I just want the other team to do better.”
As for if she’ll be in attendance in Panthers blue with her dad once again for Game 2?
“I’m a little nervous, but we’re definitely going back for Thursday.”