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BSH Explains: Why are you watching hockey at 2 p.m.?

Let’s run through this real quick.

Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Alright it’s 11AM on a Thursday. You’re probably at work. If not at work, probably running around doing last-minute holiday stuff. So why, then, are your Philadelphia Flyers playing a hockey game at 2PM? On a Thursday? In December?

Say hello to the Toronto Maple Leafs annual Next Gen game.

What is this?

Beginning in 2017, the Toronto Maple Leafs have held an annual afternoon hockey game, called The Next Gen Game, right before Christmas, that aims to get new Maple Leafs fans excited about the team. As you likely already know, the Maple Leafs are a very popular sports team. Tickets are wildly expensive, if they are available at all. So, for one day, all of the rich suits that own all of the excellent tickets in the arena donate them back to the team, who then share them with a bunch of local kiddos.

But the kids aren’t just spectators at the Next Gen game. There will be kids who get to stand on the bench with the team during warm-ups. Kids making some P.A. announcements in the arena. Kids filling in on all kinds of jobs relating to the hockey ops and the in-game experience. For a city in which taking your kids to a game is unattainable for most fans of the team, this is a very cool thing to do.

Fun facts about this oddly-timed hockey game

Remember the time legendary EBUG/random-guy-that-worked-in-the-building David Ayers had to suit up for the Carolina Hurricanes, and went on to beat the Leafs in their own barn?

That was The Next Gen Game.

We’ve since been informed that we mixed up our Leafs-Hurricanes games. We’re blaming it on our resident Canadian. Oh well that David Ayers game was still cool as heck, YOU’RE WELCOME for reminding you of it.

Remember when the Leafs let Noted Leafs Fan Justin Bieber design a jersey? No? Oh. Well this is them:

Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

They’re reversible. What an artist. Anyway, those debuted at The Next Gen game.

Will we get an EBUG appearance today? Will a pop star put a smiley face on the Flyers’ logo? Will people mistake Mitch Marner for one of the visiting children? Maybe! Maybe not! But in any event, this pretty-cool community outreach event up in Toronto is the reason why you’ll be watching hockey at 2PM. Enjoy.