SnowbirdsNews.ca: So what does Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale, Miami & Toronto have in common? Its simple – sports franchises that are vying for championships.
These 4 cities are home to 5 (Sorry, I am leaving out the Dolphins) of the most exciting professional sports franchises in all of North America. South Florida is a mecca for US and Canada Snowbirds who love hockey, basketball, baseball and of course, football.
This year is exceptionally exciting – Toronto sports franchises are set to invade the Florida landscape. This year “we the north” could very well have teams making significant playoff runs. I am betting the Toronto Maple Leafs will play against either the Lightning or the Panthers, and a possible Basketball playoff match-up between the Raptors and the Heat.
Just to see Fast Freddie play his old teammate Kyle Lowry – both of whom will be striving for another ring, has to be one of the ultimate basketball guard match-ups. Another thing you have to admit – a Miami Heat match-up with any team exudes excitement. Get the Fire Marshall out because when the Basketball and Hockey playoffs begin, it is going to be South Florida Mayhem.
So are the sad sack Toronto Maple Leafs a real contender this year? Is this possibly their year? Well, the odds are definitely against them.
The Leafs have been searching for a Stanley cup since 1967. As a little tyke I remember an article in the Toronto Telegram where the leafs decided to let one of their best centers go – Dave Keon, on the premise they needed to “rebuild”. As many Leaf pundits’ say – they never stopped. Furthermore, lets not forget how they (again) melted down last year in the first round. They gave up a 3 to 1 lead in games against the Montreal Canadians, only to find themselves golfing. Will history repeat or will they shake off the cloak of mediocrity? Bet on mediocrity.
The Maple Leafs though, have a core of players who are bonafide stars. Whether they are good enough to get past the Panthers or the Lightning let alone Boston or Carolina the jury is still out. We do know though, during the playoffs – goalies rule. Something which the Leafs have lacked since Belfour and Cujo retired.
So hold on to your hats. The playoffs are about to begin, and for us Snowbirds, south Florida is one of the best places to watch and cheer.