True Blue 2019 (Vol.4)

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Even as the off-season winds down, there’s still time for another edition of True Blue 2019. As has become an annual tradition that began in summer 2014, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans!

What does that mean? It means featuring YOU, the fans. As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is a time to share your Canucks/hockey stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you in with no looking back.

Whether you’ve been fan your whole life, or only a little while, whether you grew up in British Columbia or across the country or in the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOU and YOUR story as a part of this year’s series. We all have a different story as to how this game and the team captured us, but through it all we are all connected. Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I asked for your stories, I also shared a part of my story.

If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

Without further ado, I present to you the 4th edition of True Blue 2019.

This is Gabriella’s True Blue story in her own words:

I’m going to start this with a kind of sappy quote from ‘The Fault in Our Stars’; “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, first slowly, then all at once.”

When I first got into hockey, Bure was my hero(despite the fact that he was already retired at that point). Yep, I was the girl who tried to teach herself Russian, partly because of him. Cool, да?

I watched with pride as the Canucks retired his jersey, and kept an eye on the team because of him. My first NHL game was at Rogers Arena in February 2016. Even though at that point, I wasn’t yet there as a Canucks fan, I was in absolute awe of the arena, the atmosphere…to the point that I got lost looking for my seat because I was giddy with joy.

I took a few more trips to Vancouver to watch the Wild play, (they are my other love). And gradually, something was happening at this point.

And then…I got a new job. And at this job, I bonded with a coworker, a native Minnesotan. This coworker would tell me about growing up playing high school hockey coached by Boeser’s late grandfather. He’d be so proud of him, he said. At lunch breaks, I’d show him the latest Boeser highlights. I became a fan of The Flow.

My next trip to Vancouver was ill-timed. Just 3 days before I left for Vancouver, Brock’s season was ended by a horrifying clash with the boards.

Sometime during the summer, I ended up with a Boeser jersey. I still didn’t consider myself a Canucks fan per se…or at least I didn’t yet know it.

In October 2018, I traveled to Vancouver yet again, Boeser jersey in tow. My first game saw both him and Petey return from injury. I proudly wore my jersey, despite a shutout and something started to click.

And then, I met Ben Hutton, It was the most random of occurrences…I was shopping in the team store(man, that place has gotten a TON of my money) and lo and behold, there he was. I went and asked him for a selfie. He took pity on my struggle to reach high enough(the guy is 14 inches taller than me) and asked a friend who was with him to take the picture. His kindness captured my heart. Canuck or not, I will always be a fan.

From then on, I considered myself a fan. I started passionately following games and planning more trips. I’ll never forget meeting Brock Boeser outside of Staples Centre before the Valetine’s Day game. He was kind and genuine. My selfie is blurry from my shaky hands. It took awhile to calm down, only for my heart rate to go back up during a thrilling shootout victory, in which Brock scored the winner. A few weeks later, I again ran into him in the team store(it is truly “where the players shop!”).

My Canucks journey has intertwined with my endeavor of playing hockey myself. I began to consider playing goalie right about the time that Thatcher Demko was called up. He inspired and continues to inspire me as I to stop pucks. When I finally got to see him play in person, I wrote a sign telling him that he was my inspiration. I hoped he’d see it. He not only did but he grabbed a puck to toss to me. Sadly, it missed. He shrugged, I shrugged…hoping he knew I was thankful that he tried. But it didn’t end there…he picked another puck and this one hit its mark. I will forever remember this as one of the best birthdays I have ever experienced. The icing on the cake (no pun intended) was seeing the moment captured on the Canucks Twitter.

This team–and–city–has stolen my heart. I’m already planning several trips for this upcoming season, with training camp being the first highlight. Vancouver feels like a second home. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

-Gabriella.

Special thanks to Gabriella for sharing your story with all of us! I look forward to hearing all about your adventures from Training Campand hopefully see you at the rink when the puck drops on the season!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

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Vancouver Canucks: Looking Ahead

Now that it’s September, that means it’s time to take a closer look at what’s coming up for the team as the season edges ever closer.

First things first: the Captaincy Conundrum. Will they or won’t they name a captain for the first time since Henrik Sedin retired in April 2018? It’s true that there are a few worthy candidate to follow in his footsteps, from Edler to Tanev to Horvat to Boeser to Pettersson. BUT there is ONE that stands out among the crowd: Bo Horvat. It’s one of a few things that the majority of Canucks fans agree on. It seems to be a matter of timing, so we will see what/when things unfold as the season nears. Mind you if they do name someone else the captain, I will still support the one who is chosen.

The Elias Pettersson factor. How will he perform in his sophomore season to follow up his Calder winning rookie season? From the work he has done to get himself ready over the summer, he looks poised to have a big year. Once the puck finally drops, we will get to see exactly how big of a next step he takes.

Quinn Hughes. We got a glimpse of what he can do over the final five games of the 2018-2019 season, and it was incredible to say the least. Can we talk about the OT shifts between him, Pettersson and Boeser? Think back on THAT magic vs LA and think about THAT for a FULL season. Are you ready?

Return of the dragon slayer. Need I say more? What a story Alexandre Burrows paved from a ball hockey player, to the QMJHL, to the AHL, to the NHL and a first line winger with the Sedins and knack for scoring timely goals. A versatile player who was able to play wherever he was asked and scored some of the biggest goals in franchise history. Pure determination and heart personified. Ring of Honour induction takes place on December 3, 2019.

SEDINERY will always be epic. It was never a question that Henrik and Daniel would be honoured with their jerseys being retired, it was merely a question of timing. A full week of celebration for two beyond deserving individuals. Class acts on and off of the ice. Legends that have forever left an indelible mark on the franchise. And in true Sedin fashion, as they have done everything in their careers, their jerseys being retired will be an honour that they receive together. #33 and #22 will go up to the rafters officially on February 12, 2020.

To think that this is only a taste of the excitement that’s to come this season. Lots to look forward to as every day gets us even closer to puck drop. Rookie camp followed by training camp and preseason AND then the fun BEGINS!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

True Blue 2019(Vol.3)

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Now that it’s officially the Vancouver Canucks off-season: True Blue 2019 is here. As has become an annual tradition that began in summer 2014, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans!

What does that mean? It means featuring YOU, the fans on the blog ALL summer long.  As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canucks/hockey stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you in with no looking back.

I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you’ve been fan your whole life, or only a little while, whether you grew up in British Columbia or across the country or in the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOU and YOUR story as a part of this year’s series. We all have a different story as to how this game and the team captured us, but through it all we are all connected. Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I’m asking for your stories, I also shared a part of my story.

If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

Without further ado, I present to you the 3RD edition of True Blue 2019.

This is Brieann’s True Blue story in her own words:

“So I guess you could say that I’ve been a Canucks fan my whole life. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t watching hockey. I remember my love for the team started in 2003 at 8 years old. I got my first ever jersey and proudly wore it to the Canucks training camp in 2003. This was the first time that I have ever seen the Canucks in person and it was SO awesome! I met Dan Cloutier and many other Canucks. It was amazing to see many of the Canucks I have seen on TV, now play in front of me. The same thing happened in 2007, when the Canucks came back for their training camp! This time around it was even more special, as I got yo meet my favourite player in Markus Naslund. I remember he walked out the door, missed my sister and I, looked back, saw us and signed our stuff. I was beyond happy! I also got to meet LU as he was just traded to the team the year before. 

As the years went on, I loved hockey more, but had yet to go to a game. That all changed when I was 16 as my parents got me tickets for a game! It was the second home game back after the Olympics on March 14, 2010. The funniest part of this story is the creator of this blog, Sarah, was at this same game and we hadn’t met yet! I remember she had a really cool sign that she had made that I loved! The game was awesome! Henrik Sedin became the all-time assist leader during the game and it was so nice to see them beat Calgary. It made me love the game more and I wanted to see them play live again. 

I got to see the Canucks again before the 2010-11 season as they had their training camp near my hometown again. My dad and I got up at 4:00 in the morning to drive to the arena as it was about an hour and a half away. We were one of the first people at the arena when the doors opened. Again, it was an amazing experience getting to see the team again. I had gotten a few signatures from different players but I really wanted to get Henrik Sedin’s as I had his jersey and he was favourite player after Naslund retired. I ended up not getting his signature at the arena and I was crushed. I thought that was my one and only chance to meet him ever. I asked my dad if we could go to the hotel they were staying at and as were pulling in, I looked out and saw the Sedins standing there with Erhoff and Samuelsson! No one was with them! I ran over and got my autograph! You could not wipe the smile off of my face. 

2011 was the season that should have been us. It was the perfect season and you couldn’t have written it any differently heading into the playoffs. We all know what happened though and through it, I loved the team more. To see people come together to cheer for a single team, gave me so much excitement and I have a feeling that the tears we shed for 2011 will turn into tears of joy soon. 

I went to college and ended up in enemy territory. As we all know, being a Canucks fan anywhere is tough, but it was especially hard in Calgary. Luckily I made some friends online who loved the Canucks and could keep the passion alive for me. It was kind of fun being a fan there and I got to see the Canucks play while I was in college. I remember being decked out from head to toe in blue and green because I didn’t want anyone to think I was cheering for the Flames! 

When I moved back home, I continued to love the Canucks and watched them as much as I could. It wasn’t until I turned 23 that I went to Vancouver again and saw a game at Rogers Arena. It turned out to be Burrow’s last game as a Canuck. I always remember Burr as being a phenomenal player and he rightly deserves the Ring of Honour celebration he’s receiving. 

Over the years, the Canucks started doing the Young Stars tournament and I went to as many years as I could. My friends and I would always try to meet some of the players and to see who the young talent was on some of the other teams as well. One year, we had just finished watching the game and were getting ready to leave, there was an elderly man going up the stairs in front of me and he was having a bit of trouble. This kid, who was in a suit, was helping him up the stairs. I wanted to thank him for his knid gesture and I was looking at him and couldn’t figure our how I knew him, so no words came out. As we were walking away, my sister leaned over and said “was that Brock Boeser?!”

Years later, I finally to meet Brock Boeser as the Canucks had their pre-season game in Kelowna last year. It was a great moment as he signed MY jersey! I also got to meet a certain Swedish superstar by the name of Elias Pettersson! He was really nice and it was amazing to see his amazing season. 

The last incredible thing that I have done was attend the 2019 NHL Draft with Sarah! It was amazing to see the draft process and see the craziness of the draft floor. 

I’m excited to see what the future holds for this team. I think we could win a championship but only time will tell. We have a great core and we are getting some good pieces to play with them. Canucks fans should be very excited. 

Thanks for reading, 

Brieann.”

—-Thank-you, to both Brieann for sharing YOUR True Blue story with all of us! [I still think it’s funny how we were both at that game years ago before our paths ever crossed AND now you’re one of my BEST friends]. AND, if you’re not already following her on twitter, what are you waiting for: @BrieannKnorr.

Stay tuned as there are some more great stories lined up to be shared this year but there’s always room for more of you! If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

True Blue 2019 (Vol.2)

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Now that it’s officially the Vancouver Canucks off-season: True Blue 2019 is here. As has become an annual tradition that began in summer 2014, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans!

What does that mean? It means featuring YOU, the fans on the blog ALL summer long.  As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canucks/hockey stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you in with no looking back.

I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you’ve been fan your whole life, or only a little while, whether you grew up in British Columbia or across the country or in the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOU and YOUR story as a part of this year’s series. We all have a different story as to how this game and the team captured us, but through it all we are all connected. Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I’m asking for your stories, I will also share a part of my story.

If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

AND in case you missed VOL.1 of True Blue 2019: VOLUME 1

Without further ado, here’s the 2nd edition of True Blue 2019: My story.

“It’s only fair that as I am asking all of you to share your story with me, that I also share mine with all of you.

Growing up, in our house, watching hockey aside from the odd game here or there or during the Olympics/Stanley Cup Final, but overall was not a common practice. It was always kind of on my periphery until something clicked around high school. It was a neighbour and long time family friend who initially sparked my love for the Canucks and taught me much of the terminology and rhythms of the game.

There was a game on, and a few players caught my eye; the trio of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison & Todd Bertuzzi otherwise known as “The West Coast Express” as I would learn, who played together with a finesse and speed. In that same game there was a particular duo who also took me by surprise with their insane ability to read plays to one another with a seamless no look communication: Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Even in their early playing days, they had something special whenever they played together.

And suddenly I was watching every single game, learning all the stats not just of the Canucks but stats from around the league and simply learning all I could about the game itself. And then the lockout hit..but after THAT, those Sedins elevated their game to another level, the likes of Bieksa, Edler, Kesler and Burrows emerged, Luongo joined the team and there was NO going back.

I found that I really enjoyed talking about the game any time I met another kindred spirit who also loved the game. Just ask my family, I was driving them crazy with my hockey talk. And when they realized it wasn’t a passing fad, I was gifted a Luongo jersey for my birthday(the jersey count is currently at 9…soon to be 10). It was my absolute favourite game day attire for as long as he was on the team and still makes an appearance each season as I’ll always be #teamLU.

Watching the games were great BUT when I finally got to see my first LIVE game, it took my love of hockey up another level. It was pure magic from the pre-game warm-ups to the anthems, to puck drop to final buzzer.

There’s something truly spectacular about watching a game from start to finish with 18,000+ other fans. We all become one it that arena, and it’s unbelievable.

From the start, my love of the game of the game and the team has only grown exponentially. From merely watching the odd game to never missing a game to making it an annual tradition of attending a game on my birthday to becoming a partial season ticket holder, it’s been an unforgettable transition.

I’ve been incredibly blessed over the years from experiencing attending games to meeting some of my all-time favourite players, but I have to say that the connection I’ve made with fellow Canucks/hockey fans over the years has been one of the best parts. Whether it’s been through simply being a fan, or via this blog/social media, connecting with other fans over this game that connects all of us will always be something that I’ll hold dear. I know that hockey fans won’t always agree about certain things but that’s okay, in fact many times, it acts as a way for me to see the game or their team from a fresh perspective. I love seeing the different ways that each person’s team and the game itself draws them in.

For me, it was slow and then all at once, hockey became so much more than just a game to me and the Canucks have become more than just a team.

Here’s to the season just around the bend and seeing Pettersson & Co. thrive when the puck drops in October and seeing the Sedins have their jerseys retired in February!–S.E.L.”

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

True Blue 2019 (Vol.1)

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Now that it’s officially the Vancouver Canucks off-season: True Blue 2019 is here. As has become an annual tradition that began in summer 2014, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans!

What does that mean? It means featuring YOU, the fans on the blog ALL summer long.  As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canucks/hockey stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you in with no looking back.

I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you’ve been fan your whole life, or only a little while, whether you grew up in British Columbia or across the country or in the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOU and YOUR story as a part of this year’s series. We all have a different story as to how this game and the team captured us, but through it all we are all connected. Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I’m asking for your stories, I will also share a part of my story.

Without further ado, here’s the FIRST edition of True Blue 2019 featuring two fans and their True Blue stories in their own words.

MICHAEL COLEMAN: “I grew up in the 70s/80s and street hockey is what we did every day after school. Sticks thrown into the middle of the street, tossed randomly into two piles to divvy up the teams. “Second Captain, First Pick!” was another way to select teams and to this day, I still haven’t found value in being the FIRST Captain with the second pick. Next was to select who you were going to be. I was always the pride of Powell River, #7, Gary Lupul! Gary was 5’7″ and I was chasing my gigantic peak of 5’6″ and always found his play inspiring. Coincidentally, another favourite player later in life was #7 Cliff Ronning. Cliffy checks in right between Lup and myself. I recently played one of the 7 dwarfs on a show for ABC called ‘Once Upon a Time’ and was #33 on the call sheet. It always felt like an homage to my first favourite player (Lupul) and my most recent favourite player (H. Sedin).

We’d play as soon as we got home and tossed the school bags in the front door, would break for intermission to eat dinner and go back out and play again until it was time for bed. We didn’t have the internet, most games weren’t televised, we had to use our imagination and we connected to these heroes differently.

As I grew older and found myself in a position of pseudo-popularity due to the various character roles that I’ve played on television and cartoons; I was able to give back more to my community and get involved with some really cool people. One such gentleman is Robin Wyss who looks after the Canucks Alumni. We were able to raise some money for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and I was able to skate with some of my childhood heroes. It also provided me with the unique opportunity to meet Bob Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine and we were able to create an annual charity event with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Hollywood North.

The honourable, mindful, and involved professional athletes that the city of Vancouver has been able to attract is mind blowing. We have been gifted with incredible talents with a strong sense of community and charity. They also have been very respectful, kind and interactive with their fan base.

I love the athletes that we’ve been able to attract to this city and I am grateful for the efforts that they put in to be a part of this community. This extends to the staff and executives and everyone involved. The culture of a professional sports franchise in Vancouver is something admirable.

The Canucks and Whitecaps have become somewhat of a religious experience for me. I am proud to be connected to these teams, these sports, these fan bases. They give me a sense of hope, a sense of community, and a sense of honour.

Becoming a season ticket holder a few years back has been a proud commitment to “my church” and I love the community that it creates. I am looking forward to this next chapter of the team.

#WeAreAllCanucks

Sincerely, Michael Coleman.”

ERIC BAILEY: “My Canucks journey is a long one. I moved to Victoria in 1977. I played street hockey and ice hockey. Skating was such fun that when it came time to choose between school activities(skating or swimming), I would choose to take the skating lessons. I loved to skate and playing hockey. At the same time, with the milk delivery came these larger hockey cards of Canucks players. I didn’t collect them like collectors do but I did collect them, I remember them being in my toy box.

Then in 1982, came the cup run. I didn’t know too many people on the team (despite having the cards) but I knew the name King Richard. From then on, the Canucks were my team. In high school, I played hockey for my high school team. My practice jersey was the Flying V in black. I always wanted the yellow one.

I graduated from high school in 1988. That same year is the first year that I was at all aware of who the Canucks drafted. Trevor Linden was drafted and he wore my number. I discovered his birthday is only a few days before mine. I followed the Canucks more closely at this point. I also discovered and played a statistics based hockey game. I got a Pavel Bure poster. Petr Nedved being drafted was also exciting as I had heard of his story before he joined the Canucks.

1994 was different. The Canucks were a big fast, exciting physical team. My wife and I got married the previous Christmas. As the playoffs started, we both supported the Canucks. Her team was in a different conference so there was very little chance of us having our teams face each other. We cheered against the Flames, believing in the Canucks. I don’t remember the Dallas series. I remember the Maple Leafs though. We had many of their fans around us. My wife and I argued that the Canucks were bigger, and this would ultimately give them the series. We were right. Then, the impossible happened. My team face my wife’s team. My hero versus her hero. While my team lost, it was SO close. Our marriage survived this event but we don’t talk about THAT Ranger team.

When Messier joined the team, I bought my wife(a Messier fan), a Messier doll in a Canucks uniform. While we united on the team, we did not feel the same way about Messier after this time.

I followed the Canucks passionately until the Bertuzzi event happened. I found myself being very negative and getting angry about things not going the Canucks way in playoff games. I found the same thoughts creeping into my mind that promoted the thinking(the code) like that during the Bertuzzi-Moore incident. I did not like thinking that way. I withdrew from following closely(a strike also happened during this time). 

2009-10 and 2010-11, I was following more closely again but I tried to find ways of not being as upset when they lost (because of bad reffing?). The hype at the beginning of the 2010-11 season captured me again. We got an elliptical machine and I ran on it during the playoffs. While the Canucks were dominant during the regular season, round one with the hawks was tense. The Nashville series seemed to reawaken the way the Canucks dominated in the regular season. The Sharks series was short and sweet, leaving 4 wins to become the champions as was predicted. My son and I flew halfway across the country to take in game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. My wife, who is awesome and amazing (added after her proofreading for me) bought me those tickets. Is that penance for the whole Messier debacle? 

After that season, the magic was gone. Injuries, another shortened season and I found myself disconnected from the games again. However the last few seasons, I’ve gotten back into watching games. I’m enjoying interacting with other fans. Reading about the team and rediscovering hope.I like hockey best when the team plays well and I remain positive. #GLCPC 

Eric.”

—-Thank-you, to both Michael & Eric for sharing YOUR True Blue stories with all of us! If you’re not already following them on twitter, what are you waiting for: @1MichaelColeman & @EBailey16.

Stay tuned as there are some more great stories lined up to be shared this year but there’s always room for more of you! If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2019 NHL Draft Rewind

The 2019 NHL Draft has come and gone, and boy was it memorable! Can you believe it’s already come and gone?! I’m still re-living the magic of it all.

I’m not sure what I expected from the NHL Draft, but to say it was a whirlwind is putting it lightly. This is the first year I’ve had to privilege of attending the draft in person as the Canucks were hosts to the event. Prior to this year, I’ve only ever watched it unfold on TV or following along on social media, and I’ve got to say that seeing it all happen LIVE was something incredible to witness.

I remember the moment the NHL announced that the Canucks would be the host for the 2019 NHL Draft, and immediately I knew I had to attend. In fact, I texted my friend, Brieann and my sister and told them in uncertain terms that WE were going. Not that we should think about it, but that we HAD to go. It was non-negotiable. Their reactions were to say that absolutely we WILL go! And so this post will be purely seen from the fan perspective behind the scenes of the magic that was the NHL Draft.

Attending the draft, was a plan in the back of my mind for the entirety of the 2018-19 NHL season as we waited to hear the details of the draft and the availability of tickets. It felt like an eternity before any ticket information was available and once released, we made sure to secure our seats.

When I told people I wanted to go the Draft (& then that I was going), they told me it would be all kinds of boring. The Draft has always fascinated me and to have the opportunity to see it up close was something I had to do.

 

Hello Rogers Arena, the NHL Draft looks good on you.

DAY 1: Round ONE.

Walking into the arena and seeing the tables and stage set up. you could feel the electricity of what was about to happen. There was a buzz in the air. We found our seats and I was ready to take all the notes as we waited to witness history.

Shall we start with the part when John Shorthouse came out and announced that: “Hello folks, we have a trade to announce…” which brought immediate intrigue from the crowd for a brief moment before we all realized he was of course kidding. And then he gave us one of the worst kept secrets: ALEX BURROWS will be inducted into the Ring of Honour during the Canucks upcoming season. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate, especially in a season that will feature the Canucks retiring the Sedins’ jerseys.

And then came Gary Bettman and the overwhelming boos. It’s no secret that many fans, and a legion of Vancouver fans have a great dislike of Gary Bettman and they let it be known very LOUDLY, to the point of which we couldn’t hear a word he said during his introduction or when he walked away telling us that he’d be right back. Legit, because we couldn’t hear what he said due to the thunderous boos, we weren’t sure if he was even coming back to the mic or not. And then, it happened, he returned as did the boos, UNTIL we all realized that with him came the Sedins. Full credit to Bettman for taking all the boos in stride, and going with it. In fact, until I saw this video from the Canucks, it was impossible to know any part of what Bettman had actually said because of how loud it was from the booing and then the cheering for the Sedins:

SEDIN WEEK IS HAPPENING. Consider me officially booked for FEBRUARY! All the feels will be happening when #22 & #33 go up to the rafters. The Sedins may have hung up their skates, but they’ve left a permanent mark on the franchise and the fan base.

Onto the pomp and circumstance that is the opening round of the NHL Draft. Some will probably tell you that this was a very boring first round as there was very little drama with only one trade that merely involved a swap of picks. BUT, more about that later, let’s get straight to the beginning from walking into the arena and seeing the official Draft floor set to be the stage for many prospects have their dream become a reality.

It’s quite something to see each team go up as a group, call out the name of the player they’re drafting and to see the immediate of reaction of joy and relief come over that player and their family as everything they’ve worked for has become a reality. To no one’s surprise, it was Jack Hughes drafted first overall, followed by Kaapo Kaako.

And then came the Canucks with their selection. Not going to lie, I was anxious not about who they were going to select but because ALL day leading up to the draft they had been rumoured to be trading their pick both up/down. Instead of a Canucks trade, we watched the first 9 selections be made and then Stan Smyl announced the 10th overall pick: Vasily Podzolkin. There was a mix of uncertainty and excitement that met the selection, mostly because most people hadn’t had him on their list. I didn’t think he’d still be there at 10th but when you hear many commentators saying that the Canucks got a steal with this pick,  you know it’s one to be excited about.

A few other highlights from the first round included: Martin Brodeur announcing New Jersey’s pick and Shea Weber announcing Montreal’s pick. Then there was the absolute surprise and perfect reaction from Moritz Seider when Detroit announced him as their pick. Oh and can we mention how Wayne Gretzky was on hand with the Oilers when they announced their pick but that fact went unannounced. Each time Bettman spoke, he was met with loud “boos” with the exception of when he made the ONE trade announcement of the evening between Arizona and Philadelphia: “Oh, now you like me.” (Credit to Bettman for handling the heavy dislike with humour).

It’s always fun at events like these to connect with fellow Canucks fans and meet a few new ones:

DAY 2: ALL THE THINGS.

If people were unhappy with a quiet trade front on Day 1, they weren’t disappointed on a very active Day 2 with many trades including 3 pretty significant ones!

Changes from Day 1 is that instead of Gary Bettman making the announcements, it was Bill Daly(*Deputy Commissioner).

My sister Abi joined us for Day 2:

For those of us in the building and in our seats early before the draft began again, we were witness to all the madness that was buzzing on the draft floor with most GMs in constant rotation from table to table. Not going to lie, I felt a little on edge with nerves watching the action between all the tables on the draft floor. In fact before rounds 2-7 began, we got to our seats early and looked to the left of our seats to see Mike Babcock on what looked to be a pretty intense phone call. Moments later, we saw Bob McKenzie and his fellow reporters break on twitter that the Leafs had traded Marleau.

Around the same time that the Marleau trade broke, so did the news about PK Subban being moved. A lot of us at the draft were very surprised as he had seemed like a great fit in Nashville.

And of course, then there was the home town team trade: JT Miller from Tampa Bay. I know the Canucks took a lot of heat for this trade due to giving up a first round pick in the deal BUT I’m actually pretty stoked to see Miller join the team and give stability to either a line with Boeser/Petey or play on Bo’s wing. Time will tell how this deal works out, but I’m optimistic about seeing it play out.

All three trades while not officially announced until the Draft was once more underway, had broken on social media and spread very quickly. Aside from these three player trades, the rest of the trades were picks being swapped, but I lost track of how many trades made as I got caught up in the moment of the draft.

In fact, I didn’t even realize there were cameras scanning the crowd as I was so focused on the event itself and making sure that I didn’t miss anything important as I took ALL the notes: yes, I got caught taking all the notes. You know you love hockey when…

The Canucks went on to make 8(yes, EIGHT) selections on DAY 2: Nils Hoglander(#40), Ethan Keppen(#122), Carson Focht(#133), Artus Silovs(#156), Karel Plasek(#175), Jack Malone(#180), Aide Mcdonough(#195) and Arvid Costmas(#215).

A notable moment on Day 2 was one that happened in the 6th round. Nashville ran out the clock and used their FULL timeout before making their selection. It drew the ire of the crowd but hey, they got their player!

AND not to be forgotten, we got to meet Quinn Hughes!

Hughes was a class act. The line up was INSANE and yet he took a moment with EVERY single fan in that line.

Some may say it was a boring first day and a maybe a trade they wish the Canucks hadn’t paid the price on, BUT for me it was a weekend I’ll always remember. It was a weekend where I got to witness history, spend time with great company, make new friends, get caught taking hockey too seriously and had the time of my life!

Thank-you to Brieann and Abi for coming along with me and enduring all my note-taking. Thank-you, Canucks for hosting, I’ll never forget the magic that was the Draft weekend!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: #ThanksLUUUUUUUU

We all knew this day was coming sooner than later, but that doesn’t mean I was prepared for the official announcement from Roberto Luongo that he is officially retiring from the NHL.

And just as he always has, he gave us heart when he said good-bye to the game:

https://www.nhl.com/panthers/news/luongos-open-letter-to-the-fans/c-308071408

There are NO words that I can put together that will possibly ever come close to enough to express my thanks, but here we go:

LUUUUUUUUUUU,

What can I say that properly expresses the thanks that we owe to you in Vancouver. You gave your all to this city every single time you stepped onto the ice and between the pipes. During your tenure here, you ALWAYS gave the team a chance to win, every single time.

I’ll never forget the day the Canucks traded for you. You could feel a buzz among Canucks fans, igniting a hope for the future. You brought with you, a confidence and quiet determination and that was noticed by all your teammates. It was palpable. And with that first season in Vancouver, wow did you make the league take notice.

For me, the love of the game came on slowly and then suddenly all at once. That first year you were a Canuck, was the year there was NO looking back. In fact, when my parents realized how seriously I loved this game, they surprised me with YOUR jersey for my birthday. It’ll always be my favourite because it was the first jersey I ever owned and truly connected me to this game. 

Over 8 seasons, it was truly something spectacular to see you in your groove. And to hear the “LUUUUUUs” every game at home, was sensational, and you made many a LU-mongous saves for us to cheer for over the years.

From setting personal bests, to winning OLYMPIC GOLD ON HOME ICE to that breath taking 2011 to becoming the WINNING-est goalie in Canucks history. No one can ever take that away from you.

I’m sorry for how it seemed at times that this city blamed you for the ending in 2011 and seemed to turn on you at times. It wasn’t always fair, and you deserved so much better before your time in Vancouver ended. Maybe it didn’t end the way you envisioned, but just know that you have left an indelible mark on Vancouver and the NHL.

I’m forever grateful that we had one last time to see you play in Vancouver this past season and one  more time Rogers Arena filled with thunderous rounds of “LUUUUUUUUU”.

I hope that as you move forward with whatever comes next, that you know that you were appreciated and looked up to. I hope you realize how big an impact you had and will continue to have on the game of hockey.

Your career may have officially ended in Florida, but to THIS fan and many more in BC, you’ll forever be a Vancouver Canuck.

#ThanksLU for everything all the best in whatever comes next!

Sarah E.L.