Despite another first-round playoff loss, the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to benefit thanks to the help of Tampa Bay Lightning fans who helped donate to Toronto-area charities.
Fans of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions have spent the days since the team's Game 7 victory to donate to Toronto Charities across the city as a way to show their gratitude for an amazing opening series of the playoffs.
Michael Mahoney, a Florida native and over a decade-long Lightning fan, organized the fundraiser. He suggested on a Tampa Bay Lightning Reddit page that fans should donate to Toronto charities after reading about fans of the Vegas Golden Knights donating pizzas to homeless shelters in Dallas after the Stars eliminated them from playoff contention at the end of the season.
“I made a post saying if the Lightning lose this series, I would love to organize a GoFundMe for a charity based in Toronto,” Mahoney wrote on the fundraising page.
His idea had gained so much attention that the plans changed; win or lose, Lightning fans were going to donate.
Mahoney proposed the idea that fans donate in increments of $19.17 and $20.23. The year 1917 was Toronto’s inaugural season in the NHL, while 2023 is to signify that there is always next year.
Other donators took the opportunity to take a friendly jab at their divisional foes by donating $19.67. Obviously, 1967 is a year that has been permanently ingrained in the minds of Leafs fans for over half a century, that being the last time they won the cup.
The fundraiser was posted on May 15 and has already reached over $500. The proceeds will be going to Easter Seals Ontario, an organization that helps kids with physical disabilities succeed. While, other fans chose to donate to a different charity, the Street Health Community Nursing Foundation, a non-profit that provides health care and social services to homeless communities across Toronto.
With a goal of $2,023, Mahoney says he’s confident they’ll reach the mark and has heard that more donations are on the way.
“The love I got from both Bolts Nation and Leafs Nation has been overwhelming and has really touched me.” Mahoney wrote. “Us fans are just people, and I believe people are generally good. It’s fun to talk smack and chirp, but at the end of the day, hockey is just a game. A glorious, hell of a game.”