Young Penticton boys' parody of high-profile Toronto Maple Leafs contact dispute goes viral - InfoNews

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Young Penticton boys' parody of high-profile Toronto Maple Leafs contact dispute goes viral

Rhys, left, and Ryder Johnson's Halloween costumes imitate Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and forward William Nylander.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Rick Johnson
October 31, 2018 - 1:32 PM

PENTICTON - Two South Okanagan boys with a unique Halloween costume idea struck a nerve amongst the nation’s die-hard Maple Leaf fans this week.

Rhys and Ryder Johnson, nine and 11 years old respectively, are ardent Toronto Maple Leaf fans who came up with a costume idea to emulate GM Kyle Dubas and forward William Nylander, who are currently engaged in contract negotiations.

The boys’ father, Kaleden resident Rick Johnson, tweeted a couple photos of the kids presenting and signing a “contract”.

“It’s pretty surreal, the power of the internet, to put something like that up and have it take off,” Johnson said today, Oct. 31. He said he’d forgotten about the photos until Sunday morning when he was awakened by incessant vibrations from likes and re-tweets.

Toronto Maple Leaf fans Rhys, left, and Ryder Johnson hope there will be smiling faces and a contract in real life soon.
Toronto Maple Leaf fans Rhys, left, and Ryder Johnson hope there will be smiling faces and a contract in real life soon.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Rick Johnson

“By Monday night I had to mute my phone. By then it was being shown on TSN. It took about 48-hours to catch fire,” he says. “The Leaf nation is a pretty crazy group of sports fans, and I guess Toronto media is looking for what they can find on the topic of the Nylander contract negotiations."

His tweet, which has grabbed more than 38,000 views so far, was posted to Instagram and got more than 32,000 likes there.

The photos were shown during the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames game on Monday night, and Dubas saw it on the big screen at the arena and did a double take.

“It’s actually pretty hilarious. The boys have some resemblance to Dubas and Nylander. They were going to wear the costumes initially for trick or treating tonight, but Rhys (playing Dubas in a suit) wants to change into a referee costume to make better time moving from house to house,” Johnson says.

The family plans to send a copy of the photo to the Leafs organization in the hope the GM will sign it, meanwhile they’ll put the photo up in the family rec room for posterity.

His son Rhys is hopeful the attention will help resolve the contract dispute, to the betterment of the Leafs organization.

“That’s a nine-year-old’s perspective of it. We love the Leafs, and ultimately we want to see the situation resolved,” Johnson says.

“I just love how it has caught on. It’s not often you get something on the internet that at least a portion of society isn’t negative about. This has been overwhelmingly positive."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
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