The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of their first playoff run in four years, and that fact alone has awakened an army of superfans. Three games into the first round and the entire city is already alive with Leafs fever. For the record, the team seems to be feeding off of this electric energy too. Not only are the Buds up 2-1 in their opening series, but they're doing it against the NHL's most formidable opponent: regular season champs, the Washington Capitals. With seemingly everyone in Toronto rocking the blue and white, it's hard to identify the most diehard Leafs supporter out there. Thanks to the power of the internet, however, we may have discovered the most iconic fan of the bunch.
During Toronto's epic overtime win against Washington this past Saturday, the live broadcast displayed an incredible sight. Midway through the game, viewers were treated to the image of a chap with crazy face paint and a unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. It was a brief moment, but the whole thing quickly exploded online and made this so-called 'Dart Guy' the team's newest and most unlikely mascot. The colourful character was soon identified as Jason Maskalow, who became an online folk hero overnight. One of the earliest shout-outs came from the NHL's official Twitter account, which you can check out below.
After his spotlight moment, Maskalow graced the pages of local media outlets. On an episode of the awesome Steve Dangle Podcast, the Dart Guy seemed to be shocked and overwhelmed by all of the attention. "It's been a crazy 24 hours but I'm loving every second of it," he told the Toronto podcasters. "I think you turned the tide of the game," joked host Steve Glynn.
It proved to be a good omen for the organization, who invited the now-viral star to the following game; yet another win for the Maple Leafs. Throughout the last few days, Twitter users and hardcore fans have used the Dart Guy's imagery in a plethora of amazing memes. You can check out some of the best highlights below. In the meantime, here's hoping the newest hockey hero will make an appearance during tonight's home game.