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It's not that they're a bad team (though they have been for the past few seasons). It's not that people are jealous of the team's past success (otherwise, we'd hate the Montreal Canadiens even more).

It really has nothing to do with the team itself. It's much more to do with the fans.

1) They're everywhere. They're like the New York Yankees of hockey. If you don't love them, you have no choice but to hate them.

2) They claim to be Canada's Team, forgetting that Canada actually has six teams - the others all having made Stanley Cup Final appearances in the past four (actually, the past two) decades. If Torontonians wished to dub The Raptors as Canada's team, that would likely create less backlash.

3) The media coverage is very one-sided. CBC is much more likely to cover a game featuring the Leafs and an American team than they are to cover a game between two Canadian teams.

4) During Coach's Corner, there seems to be a strong correlation between Don Cherry's mood and the performance of the Maple Leafs.

5) (This pretty much sums up the other four) - Leaf fans seem oblivious to the fact that most of the country DOESN'T CARE about them!

Contrast the Maple Leafs to the Canadiens. Both are Original 6 teams - both were able to accumulate a good number of Stanley Cups (thanks to the lack of competition before 1967). But outside of Quebec, you don't hear much about the Habs. You don't hear them claiming to be Canada's Team (despite the fact that they wear Canadian colours, have the highest number of Stanley Cups, and bear the name "Canadiens"!). I am, by no means, a Canadiens fan. Yet, I don't hate the Canadiens - because they're not pushed into my face from every hockey network in the country.

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Q: Why do people hate Toronto maple leafs?
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