the loss of sauce to fans hung out to dry

The nightmare is always the same. After more than four decades without a Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs end the drought, beating the Phoenix Coyotes in the Stanley Cup finals -- I did say this was a dream.

The nightmare is always the same.

After more than four decades without a Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs end the drought, beating the Phoenix Coyotes in the Stanley Cup finals—I did say this was a dream.

After laps around the rink with the Cup raised triumphantly above their heads, the jubilant Leafs take to the locker room where they take turns swilling Barq’s root beer out of it—root beer!

I wake in a cold sweat, quickly turning on Sports Centre to quash my fears.

(If you think that’s scary, don’t get me started on the part about the three-armed juggler and his pet giraffe. But I digress.)

I’m a recovering Leafs fan—I recover after every season—so my fear isn’t that they win the Cup. And the ensuing riots and looting in Toronto isn’t a concern either because if the Buds were to make it to the finals, there’d be riots and looting if they win or lose … besides, I’d love to upgrade to a 50-inch TV at no cost to myself.

Instead the crux of my fear is that, after so many years of being national laughing stocks, they’d still be the butt of hockey fans’ jokes because champagne and all other alcohol substances are banned from Toronto sports arenas, at least, in my dream.

Pure fantasy—or a terrifying reality set to unfold? (Shudder.)

Because of some unruly spectators at the Rogers Centre during various events and at a Toronto FC soccer game in the BMO Field, the two venues have received alcohol bans for a few games this season. The Toronto Argonauts’ home opener at the Rogers Centre on August 1 will be dry as will an FC game May 30. The Blue Jays have already played two dry games, not even being allowed post-game beer in the locker room!

Never missing a chance to demonize people who drink at sports event—or anywhere

—teetotalers have used the situation as an argument for the bans to become permanent.

Funny how people think society has entered an enlightened era of tolerance, when really we just tolerate what’s deemed politically correct.

Signs at the Rogers Centre informed fans the temporary ban is the result of the venue, “permitting drunkenness, permitting the use of narcotics, selling and serving to apparent minors, failure to request approved identification and permitting illegal liquor on the premises.”

I see, so banning the sale of alcohol is going to prevent fans from sneaking in their own supply—or using drugs?

If anyone stumbles across the logic here, please drop me a line.

To take it a step farther—not 12-steps farther—the only thing likely to slow the consumption of alcohol at events is the outrageous price of beer. If people bring their own hootch there’d be no financial incentive to sip. Or they’ll just get plowed before going.

Many of the reasons are fairly easy to counter, with more security, better training of concession workers and wristbands to identify those who are of legal drinking age, for example.

Still, the obvious and logical thing to say is, Why punish the many for the actions of the few? But that’s just half of it. Some of the incidents that prompted the Rogers Centre ban date back to 2007 and are not limited baseball or football games.

In fact, one of the incidents involved patrons at an AC/DC concert smoking marijuana. Pot at a rock concert, now I’ve heard everything!

“For an offence at an AC/DC concert, for instance, you couldn’t offer Disney on Ice or the Wiggles,” said Lisa Murray, spokesperson for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate a coherent statement from Murray. But it sounds like she’s saying it doesn’t make tons of sense to punish patrons of one event for actions by patrons of another … Well, that’s my interpretation.

There’s no doubt the Maple Leafs will still be selling out home games even after the apocalypse. But this isn’t about ticket sales—it’s about rights. Force smokers outside and remove the intoxicated—that makes sense!

But enough is enough.

The world isn’t perfect because perfection is an impossibility. When people attempt to prod society towards utopia, their efforts always results in the loss of rights and privileges.

If there is a desire for dry sports events, let the market decide, or designate some sections alcohol free.

For crying out loud, it has been years since the Jays, Leafs and Raptors made the postseason, so just toss the troublemakers and let Torontonians enjoy a drink in the stands.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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