News, Sports

Turning Over New Leafs

Mike Babcock in 2013. Image: Tom Gromak. Derivative work: Connormah
Mike Babcock in 2013. Image: Tom Gromak. Derivative work: Connormah

Canada is a hockey nation and arguably, nowhere is a hockey team more beloved by fans than in Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans are incredibly loyal. But in the last few years it has been particularly tough for Leafs fans. That’s because, frankly, the Leafs are a terrible team. They haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967–the longest any hockey team in the NHL (National Hockey League) has ever gone without winning the championship. They haven’t even made the playoffs more than once in the last decade.

However, because of their loyal fans who love their team and still hold out hope no matter what, the Leafs are also the richest team in the league. Tickets are hard to get and they’re very expensive. One ticket for one game can cost hundreds of dollars–some even go for $1,000 or more.

Last week, something happened that is making Leafs fans very happy. The Leafs hired a new coach: Mike Babcock.

Babcock is a very good hockey coach–one of the best. He has coached a Stanley Cup-winning team and he led Canada’s Olympic hockey teams to gold medals in 2010 and 2014.

Babcock most recently coached the Detroit Red Wings. He was lured to Toronto partly by the money; and he’ll be getting a lot. He will be paid $50-million over the next eight years.

He says the Leafs are “Canada’s team” and that he wants to help put them “back on the map.”

That’s what Leafs’ fans want, too. They will find out next year if Babcock has been able to do help Toronto turn over new Leafs.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, here are some average salaries (they vary widely according to the job, but these are approximations):
Truck driver: $75,000 a year.
Elementary school teacher in B.C.: $71,400 a year
Journalist: $20,000 to $40,000 a year
Tattoo artist: $30,000 to $50,000 a year
Mike Babcock: $50,000,000 divided by eight years = $6,250,000 a year

Look at the salaries listed above. Do you think professional coaches and athletes are paid fairly or too much?

The Globe and Mail’s “salaries” series.

Reading Prompt: Making Interferences/Interpreting Texts
As the article explains, The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a bad record for a long time. However, their fans are still paying a lot of money to see them play and they still wear the team’s blue and white colours to cheer them on. Why do you think this is the case? Why do Maple Leaf fans have such loyalty to their team despite their losing record?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME. Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME. Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of oral texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretation (OME. Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Pun
A pun is a play on words that is read as a joke. Sometimes puns make you laugh and other times you may just groan!
Puns use words that sound similar but have different meanings. For example, the headline uses the pun: “Turning Over New Leafs.” The headline uses the saying: turning over a new leaf, which means to start again. However, it is a pun because Toronto’s hockey team is the Maple Leafs. The word ‘leaf’ is used in two different ways.

Read the following sentences and explain the puns:
1. I was struggling to figure out how lightning works then it struck me.
2. I really wanted a camouflage shirt, but I couldn’t find one.
3. The grammarian was very logical. He had a lot of comma sense.
4. I’ve been to the dentist many times so I know the drill.
5. A boiled egg every morning is hard to beat.

Pun examples from