Toronto’s NHL playoff drought has been fodder for Leafs haters for nearly a decade. But the wait is now over.
No, seriously. The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Trust me, this has been cross-referenced, verified, and triple checked.
Never mind the 46-year Cup drought. Leafs Nation is just happy to be invited to the dance at this point.
To put the length of time since the Leafs' last post-season appearance into context, consider the following list of either entertaining or excruciating facts, depending on which side of the Buds fence you sit on:
The last playoff game featuring the blue and white took place on May 4, 2004 at the Air Canada Centre and ended in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the second round.
Ed Belfour was the starting goalie for the Leafs in that game. He played his last NHL game six years ago and is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
You won’t see a photo of Belfour making a save in Game 6 posted on Instagram, because it was still six years away from being invented. In fact, Instagram started as an iPhone app, and the first-generation iPhone was still three years away from introduction.
No one has ever tweeted about a Leafs playoff game. Twitter was still almost two years away from launch when the Leafs were eliminated by the Flyers.
The last Maple Leaf to score a playoff goal was Mats Sundin, who's been retired long enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which he was in November. He buried a third-period goal to tie Game 6 against the Flyers, with assists by Gary Roberts and Alexander Mogilny.
You wouldn't have read about that goal on Facebook unless you were enrolled at Harvard, where the social network launched three months — to the day — earlier. Or maybe if you were one of the early adopters at Columbia, Yale or Stanford, where Facebook expanded two months earlier. And it was still called The Facebook back then.
Be-Leafers have been around longer than Beliebers. Justin Bieber may not have even been allowed to stay up to see the end of a hockey game on a school night. He was only 10 year old and just another kid in Stratford, Ont., not yet a mega pop star.
When Pat Quinn coached the Leafs to that last post-season appearance, a certain man representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate had yet to give his famous speech at the Democratic National Convention that thrust him into the U.S. political spotlight. In fact, he hadn’t yet been elected a U.S. Senator. Though, as a supporter of Chicago teams, Barack Obama was unlikely to be a Maple Leafs fan.
More unlikely, but possible, viewers include the now deceased Ronald Reagan, Marlon Brando and Christopher Reeve. All were still alive that night when Jeremy Roenick drove the overtime nail into the Leafs’ playoff coffin.
But now the Leafs are back in the playoffs, trying to end one of the most talked about championship droughts in North American sports.
Better yet, you can follow their post-season run on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And you can do it all on your iPhone. Belieb it.
Steven Bull is a CBC News reporter based in Windsor. Follow him on Twitter @BullCBC.