Matthew Tkachuk publicly criticizes Canadian hockey fans

Published September 23, 2023 at 10:49

For many American-born players, there's far more allure playing U.S. based cities rather than playing in Canadian markets. For one, the pressure is a lot higher in Canada and most players lose their anonymity playing up here, versus playing south of the border, where hockey is likely the 3rd or 4th major sport.

Players don't often publicly criticize hockey fans in certain markets, but during a recent interview, Matthew Tkachuk shared his displeasure with the Canadian fans over how they treat star players - namely Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

Tkachuk, who requested a trade out of Calgary in the summer of 2022, is very close with both Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. One of the things that irks him the most about Canada is how rabid the fans are up here and how fans treat Matthews and Marner when they go through a rough patch, when the Leafs lose a game to a bottom-feeder or when they're eliminated from a playoff series.

"I appreciate the fact that it's tough. Playing in Canada is very different with the spotlight and the history. What I've noticed in the difference between playing in Canada and Florida is the highs and the lows.

So I think for them [Matthews and Marner], maybe, and they're unbelievable talents, but unless they win the Stanley Cup, they're basically getting crucified and it's not their fault; it's kind of just the way it is. I know that they're mentally tough enough, and I know them well, and they've been able to handle it and have kept getting better and better in their careers in each year. But I know, seeing it from afar, nothing against here, but I know I wouldn't want to deal with it on any given day."

Obviously, we know all about how much heat the Leafs take for all of their shortcomings in the playoffs. They've been the laughing stock of the NHL for some time, which is odd considering the fact that they're perennial contenders. The Leafs have been a top-5, top-7 team for a few seasons running now, and Matthews and Marner are two of the brightest young stars in the world.

For Tkachuk, he may simply be showing his support for his friends from afar. However, the message that he's sending isn't going to earn him any new fans up in Canada. For an antagonist like him, though, I'm not sure he really cares what anyone in Canada actually thinks of him.

September 23   |   104 answers
Matthew Tkachuk publicly criticizes Canadian hockey fans

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