Wednesday December 22nd, 2010

By Stu Hackel

The war against waffle throwers at Maple Leafs games in Toronto has escalated. James Mirtle in The Globe and Mail reports that 31-year-old Joseph Robb, the alleged Eggo Bomber, has been charged with mischief (interference with property), faces a court date in January (now, that could be fun, even in staid Toronto), and has been banned from the Air Canada Centre for all events as well as other Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment events at BMO Field and the Ricoh Coliseum.

(If you want more insight into the mind of the Eggo Bomber, Jennifer Pagliaro in The Globe and Mail has an interview with Mr. Robb.)

“Being banned from the ACC for all events, we feel is a strong deterrent,”  Bob Hunter, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.'s executive vice-president for Venues and Entertainment, told Lance Hornby of  The Toronto Sun. Clearly, Mr. Hunter hasn't been watching his company's hockey team play because the threat of a ban might be an incentive.

Mirtle's story quotes a number of Maple Leafs players who expressed their displeasure at being waffle targets. Defenseman Luke Schenn called it "brutal.” Teammate Clarke MacArthur called Robb "an idiot.”

But Leafs fans are having none of it, judging by the comments to Mirtle's story, which number upwards of 200 at this point. It's worth reading the story and then checking out the comments, many quite humorous, to gauge an antipathy toward the club that is only increasing daily.

"The only thing that's brutal and idiotic is the way the Leafs play hockey. How about just sucking it up, putting your head down and being thankful you get paid ridiculous money to play a game," one commenter wrote.

"MLSE are upset because you can't throw crap onto the ice .... yet they've managed to consistently do that for over 40 years?" wrote another.

Jeff Blair in The Globe and Mail also had a piece worth reading on the waffling of the Leafs and writes, "Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the two incidents this season involving the tossing of frozen waffles onto the ice is that it’s taken Leafs fans so long to figure out a measurable way of expressing distaste for a team that hasn’t won jack since 1967. Okay, that and the fact that Mike Komisarek hasn’t passed one of the waffles onto an opponent’s stick leading to a 2-on-1."

And Blair concurred with CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who tweeted today, "Maple Leafs should encourage waffle throwing as their version of the Panthers' rats. Turn a negative into a positive."

Blair wrote, "If the Leafs ever do start winning, well, who knows? Waffles could become a celebratory symbol -- at which point MLSE will start charging $39.99 for foam waffles and allow them to be thrown on the ice at designated points in the game. Fans will be instructed by a perky in-game hostess shrieking at billions of decibels to 'wing their waffles' and, yes, it will be sponsored by some Bay Street firm. And Leafs fans? They’ll eat it up."

Not right now, though. For the Leafs organization, players and fans, it's going to be a blue Christmas.

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