Jason Maslakow went to Washington, D.C., to watch his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He returned home an internet hero among Maple Leafs fans.
Maslakow, known as "Dart Guy" because of the unlit cigarette hanging from his mouth during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Washington Capitals, developed such a cult following in Toronto that he was invited by the Maple Leafs to Game 3 of their series against the Capitals at Air Canada Centre on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC).
Maslakow accepted the Maple Leafs offer Sunday and also was invited to Game 4 on Wednesday by Toronto radio personality John Derringer.
Maslakow was sitting in the stands at Game 2 with a beard dyed Maple Leafs blue, the Toronto logo painted on his face, the phrase "Go Leafs Go" shaved into the back of his head and a mohawk in the shape of the Stanley Cup when CBC discovered him and compared his beard to those of Toronto's young players during the second period of the Maple Leafs' 4-3 double-overtime win.
After Kasperi Kapanen scored the game-winning goal, Maslakow became the face of Maple Leafs nation when fans created memes and changed their avatars on Twitter to a screenshot of his face on TV.
"When I look at my face, what do I see? I see a guy that's bleeding white and blue," Maslakow told the Washington Post. "And so what if he's got a smoke in his mouth?"
According to his Twitter account, Maslakow lives in Sudbury, Ontario and ventured nine hours to Washington for Game 2. According to the paper, he and some friends went to the game to celebrate a friend's birthday, and he painted his face and shaved his head "because I love the Leafs."
Maslakow did not intend to become an internet meme, though his online likeness could have been different if he'd caved into his nerves during the stressful overtime periods.
"I almost lit my smoke about 20 minutes ago," Maslakow told the paper on Saturday during overtime. "That would have been a better picture."