Ice Hockey in the Spotlight: Toronto Maple Leafs
This game-day guide has everything you need to know for the best home game experience.
Attending a Toronto Maple Leafs game is like watching history happen in real time. As one of the National Hockey League’s founding teams, the Maple Leafs are one of the oldest ice hockey teams, with a history dating back to 1917. And not for naught—the team’s winning streak began with two Stanley Cup victories in their first five years, to be followed by 11 more wins over the years. Although the Montreal Canadiens have the most Stanley Cup wins overall, the Leafs are one of Canada’s most important hockey teams and a huge reason that ice hockey is the country’s most famous sport.
Watching a game of ice hockey is an emotional rollercoaster—players are bundled up in gloves and strapped into their ice skates for 60 minutes of playtime. The sport has just three periods, making it fast-paced and different from other arena sports. You’ll also find that the NHL, and ice hockey, moreover, is perfectly fine with letting players “take the gloves off” and throw punches at the other team’s players. The heavy puck has been known to knock out a tooth or two, as well. Before you go to a game, tune your ear to lingo like “face-off,” “hat trick” and “breakaway.”
Even though the Leafs’ reputation as an excellent hockey team has dwindled in recent years, with a 54-year freeze on Stanley Cup victories, they’re one of the country’s most beloved teams. They are known to fill the stadium at Scotiabank Arena (40 Bay St.) in Toronto for nearly every game. The Leafs are known for their long history and their dedicated, fun-loving fans from across Canada and the world. Join the Leafs and their rowdy band of loyal supporters at the next game!
Places to eat in and near Scotiabank Arena
Scotiabank Arena fills with the smells of poutine, hot dogs and fried food when the Leafs come to play in true game-day spirit. With food stalls dotted throughout the stadium, there’s no shortage of options that will satisfy vegetarians and vegans, meat lovers and picky eaters. Gourmet mac and cheese is a Leafs fan favourite and you can never beat an ice-cold beer at an ice-cold game.
Scotiabank Arena is not only home to three Toronto sports teams—it’s one of the only Canadian arenas with a brewery inside, as well! Craft beer heads can find fresh Rickards brews made on-site at stands throughout the stadium.
The Draught Deck
This area of the stadium has tons of taps offering your favourite beers and a restaurant with game day essentials like prime rib sandwiches, wings and burgers.
Mac & Cheese Boutique
Yes, you read that right. This food stall by Toronto’s Cheese Boutique and Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment cooks up specialty mac and cheese—and on a grilled cheese sandwich if you desire.
Harbour 60 Toronto
Located just outside Scotiabank Arena is this upscale steakhouse where Leafs fans can enjoy high-end wine and traditional fare up to the highest standards. Enjoy your seafood or steak on the suave patio outside. 60 Harbour St.
Things to do at Scotiabank Arena
As the home to three of Toronto’s favourite sports teams, the Scotiabank Arena is filled with history, merch and fun spots to explore. Make sure to stop into every shop you can to pick up the ultimate Maple Leafs gear, like a cozy hat or a miniature hockey stick signed by your favourite player.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the Scotiabank Arena ICONS, musicians (like Madonna) and organizations (like the WWE) that have contributed to the arena’s success, portraits of whom are showcased in the Galleria, a covered public square near Union Station. The Galleria, which is home to several shopping and eating locations, also showcases artifacts that speak to the building’s history, which was originally the first Canada Post Delivery Building.
Outside, make sure to snap a photo with the arena’s iconic and ever-changing jumbo screen, advertising the day’s events in bright colours. The screen even changes on holidays and days of mourning, so make sure to check it out any time you’re in Toronto.
One of Scotiabank Arena’s most notable things is how accessible the entire stadium is, both within and outside. The PATH system is a covered walkway that stretches from the stadium to Dundas Street, Union Station, and the Galleria. Don’t miss the nearby Harbourfront and some of downtown Toronto’s coolest attractions like the Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN Tower nearby.
Fun facts about the Toronto Maple Leafs
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of six teams that founded the National Hockey League in 1917
- The Leafs have had not one but three name changes over the years. The team was first referred to simply as “Toronto” before becoming the Toronto Arenas from 1917 to 1919, then the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927
- The team is named after the maple leaf badges that many Canadian troops wore on their uniforms during World War I. The manager at the time, Conn Smythe, was a veteran of World War I and World War II
- The Leafs hold the second most Stanley Cup wins of any NHL team
- The Leafs have had two dynasties, winning each Stanley Cup from 1947 to 1951 and from 1962 to 1967
- The Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup for 54 years, but they are one of the NHL’s most valuable franchises
- Tim Horton, who co-founded the Canadian staple Tim Horton’s, played on the Leafs for 18 years. He entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977 after winning four Stanley Cups with the Leafs
- The movie Face-Off is about a beginner Leafs player falling in love
- The Leafs originally played at Maple Leaf Gardens, where they won 11 of their 13 Stanley Cups. The building is now a retail space and athletic centre, despite having a long heyday of hosting acts the likes of the Beatles
- Leafs players didn’t have names on their jerseys until 1978. Then-owner Harold Ballard agreed to put names on the jerseys in the middle of a game in the face of hefty fines from the league
- On the official Stanley Cup, the team’s name is incorrectly written as “Toronto Maple Leaes”
- Dave “Tiger” Williams, one of the Leafs’ most famous players, holds the record for most penalty minutes—3,966 total—throughout his career
How to get to Scotiabank Arena
Located in downtown Toronto, Scotiabank Arena is easily accessible by all methods of transport.
By car from the east or west: The Don Valley Parkway from the east and the Gardiner Expressway from the west lead to Lakeshore Boulevard, off of which drivers should turn onto Bay Street.
Parking: Pre-booking is available for parking near the arena, which is recommended as downtown is bustling on game days.
By bus: The 6 and 72 busses will bring passengers to Union Station, a few minutes’ walk from the arena.
By TTC or subway: Streetcars 509 and 510 also stop at this station and the Yonge/University/Spadina subway line.