Auston Matthews, as an American-born hockey star and face of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ franchise, is in a weird place. To say the least.
The 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick is a big reason there’s unlimited optimism in hockey-crazed Toronto over the future of the Leafs’ organization. For the first time in a long time, there’s an actual vision for success, and Matthews clearly is the biggest reason.
But he’s also a good American boy whose patriotism runs deep. Like any red-blooded American hockey fan, Matthews spent Thursday night glued to his seat for one of the best hockey games anyone has seen in a long time. Team USA pulled off the upset, twice coming back from two-goal deficits to beat Canada in a shootout and win the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal.
Matthews took to Twitter to celebrate, sending this seemingly innocent emoji-laden tweet.
And then, Leafs fans got mad online.
There were plenty more, too, but at some point it’s just piling on, and really, you get the picture. And somewhat ironically, Matthews — who’s only 19 — is still young enough to play in the world juniors, but he’s, you know, playing in the NHL … for a team from Canada.
Of course, this pocket of fans probably represents a small portion of Leafs/Canada fans, and there were a handful of fans congratulating Matthews and joking around about his harmless tweet.
Sports fans, right?
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images