To lose a game you led by three goals with 11 minutes to play would be crushing if it happened in February; to do it in Game 7 of a playoff series is nothing short of soul-destroying. – Chris Johnston, sportsnet.ca, May 13, 2013.
Sorry, Maple Leafs fans.
Today marks the third anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ Game 7 collapse against the Boston Bruins. (Yes, we’re noting that it’s also Friday the 13th.) For many Leafs faithful, especially of a certain generation, it was the most devastating sporting event they have witnessed.
If you’re a Leafs fan, whatever point of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief and loss you find yourself at, hopefully facing and reliving the trauma a bit will help you reach Stage 5: acceptance.
It’s going to be OK.
To commence the healing, let’s begin with acknowledging what actually happened that night. (Deep breaths, everyone.)
Here’s a look back at what some of the participants said post-game:
“I don’t know what happened to us,” then-Leafs winger Phil Kessel told reporters, including our own Chris Johnston.
“(Leading) 4-1, you can’t lose that game.”
“One minute you think you’re going to win the game, you’re up 4-1, and then 20 minutes later it’s all over,” Jake Gardiner said.
Here’s what the Hockey Central crew had to say:
And of course, the Twitterverse had its opinions too:
When Chris Hadfield lands and learns that the Leafs lost, he’ll probably hop on the next shuttle back to space.
— Caroline Cameron (@SNCaroline) May 14, 2013
Boy, gotta be a top 5 heartbreaking Toronto sports moment in my lifetime.
— Ben Ennis (@BennisSnet) May 14, 2013
…and its jokes…
I haven’t seen a collapse like the Leafs since Shooter McGavin at the 96′ Tour Championship.
— Happy Gilmore (@_Happy_Gilmore) May 14, 2013
To think some people are watching basketball tonight.
— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) May 14, 2013
Treasure the moment. Canadians feel sorry for a Toronto loss in sports. Doesn’t happen often. But no fans deserve THAT. OK, maybe Vancouver
— Terry Jones (@sunterryjones) May 14, 2013
—Strombone (@strombone1) May 14, 2013
… and hey, even a little insight…
Kudos to Phil Kessel, first guy waiting in the dressing room to face the media when they opened the door.
— Christine Simpson (@SNChrisSimpson) May 14, 2013
This time last year, the Leafs becoming this competitive would have sent this city into paroxysms of joy. Don’t forget that.
— JordanHeath-Rawlings (@TheGameSheet) May 14, 2013
Fast forward three years later to today, and the (painful) memories are trickling in over Twitter.
Stay strong today, Leafs nation.