True Blue 2017 (Part One)

It’s summer or more accurately the NHL’s off-season and you know what that means at NUCKSAID! It’s time once again, for True Blue and to put the spot light on you, Canucks fans. This year, it’ll be a little different than my past summer series. No questionnaire, but a more free form in which you can share whatever you’d like about your hockey/Canucks fandom, or focus on just one moment in particular in the team’s history that really shaped how you view this game or an experience with other fans that influence your view of the game now or really it’s up to you what you’d like to say. If you’d like to be featured/share the story of your hockey fandom or the moment that’s shaped how you view the game, send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com & we will set it up!

As always, since I am asking YOU to share, it’s only fair that I share MY story as well.

So here goes,

True Blue: NUCKSAID 2017.

It’s no secret that the Vancouver Canucks are my team or that every team across the league has incredible fans and those are the facts, plain and simple. When I stepped into this world that is the hockey fandom, I was not sure how it would be perceived or if I would be accepted, all I knew was that I loved this game and there was no going back.

Being part of the Vancouver Canucks fandom and part of the general hockey fandom is one of my favourite things. I know that from the outside some do not understand what it means to be a Canucks fan or how the team has any fans. The truth is that despite what you may have heard or what you may have read, the Canucks do have fans and even more so, loyal fans. Fans that will support the team every season, through the good, the bad and everything in between. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t frustrating moments but it does mean that even in the tough moments, they are still my team.

If I’m going to focus on ONE significant moment about why I love hockey, it would be from this past season. In the last year, I witnessed both the bad and the good in being a female hockey fan.

The BAD: More so than any other year, I was berated and harassed for not being just a Canucks fan but a female hockey fan. How could I, as a woman, possibly understand all the complexities of the game? Going to the arena and seeing my team play is something that will always feel like magic. Nothing beats seeing a live game, the atmosphere is spectacular from pre-game to anthems to puck drop to the final buzzer. Do you know how awful it was to be sitting in the arena, in the place that feels like home and have it made to feel as though I did not belong? Or to be talked down to in condescending tones about the game?

It was absolutely unsettling to my core to be treated as though I was not allowed to be a part of this hockey world. Everything from my different perspective of the game to my jersey choices were unacceptable. Things that were said to me on multiple occasions are far too offensive to repeat but they hit me exactly where they were meant to and for a few moments made me think maybe they were right and that I did not belong in this hockey world. Sounds pretty crazy right?

The GOOD: Instead of keeping it inside as I may have been prone to do in the past, I decided to let it out in the only way I knew how, writing about it. In those moments in the last year when I felt under attack for being a female hockey fan, it inspired multiple blog posts and a few social media rants. The response of support I felt from countless members of the hockey community through friends and on social media was overwhelming. I realized I was not alone in my experiences. I learned that despite those voices who tried to make me feel as if women and hockey do not go together, they were wrong. I was embraced by others who have had similar experiences and welcomed by those who welcome hockey fans of all kinds.

I was reminded that while these experiences were extremely difficult to be a part of and absolutely disheartening in the moments, these experiences also made me stronger. If anything, instead of turning me away from the game, all of these experiences only made me love the game even more. I know that there will probably be more of those moments down the road when I may be attacked for loving this game BUT the difference is, I will no longer let anyone influence how or when I am a fan of the game or my team.

Hockey is for everyone.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Rumour has it…

Rumour has it according to all of the experts on social media that the Vancouver Canucks are looking to make a splash in the off-season moving up in the draft and a few other trades. Rumour also has it that they will make zero moves. The rumour mill is as always in full motion at this time of year.

According to social media and local reporting media, I have absolutely NOTHING to look forward to ahead in the upcoming season or the next few as a Vancouver Canucks fan. If it was up to them, I would not be a fan of the Canucks.

Well I hate to break the news, but regardless of whatever negative jargon they write, I will ALWAYS root for my team. And yes, I know that they are not near the top of the league and may be in that position for a while. And no, you do not have to tell me the stats or that your story lines are based on fact, I am more than well aware of what the team’s statistics are and  of their current situation.

I know what their reality is of the past and the present. Regardless of what their future holds, I will be standing by supporting them every single step of the way. No matter how they do at the draft, what their season record is or whether they make the post-season or not, I will be there to support them every step of the way. It may put me in the minority as you always tend to tell me, but that’s fine by me. It only means I have to cheer even louder. (Sorry not sorry!). And I will no longer allow someone’s view of me and how I am a hockey fan impact HOW and WHEN I support my team.

Yes, I know I may seem odd as a hockey fan that despite a mass of negativity from the media or other fans on social media that I always look for the good within the mess or silver lining, but having a different perspective on the game is NOT a bad thing.

This off-season, with the growing negativity, rumour has it that I’ve been considering a new venture to be a part of the blog. It’s true but first, I would need a little help from all of you. What am I asking from you? I’m thinking of creating a Canucks hockey podcast but as I’ve never made a podcast or been a part of one, this is something I would like to try. I am open to ANY and ALL advice. I love talking about hockey with anyone and everyone, even if we have different opinions, it’s one of my favourite things. If you have any advice on creating a podcast or would like to be a part of creating a new podcast, leave a comment below, connect with me on twitter (@nucksaid) or send me an email (nucksaid@gmail.com). 

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

For the Love of the Game

“You know that the Vancouver Canucks are not in the playoffs, right? Why bother watching the games or series if you can’t root for your own team?”

These are the questions that I have been asked every day since the 2017 NHL post season began. Yes, I know my team is NOT in the post-season this year, tell me something that I don’t know. You want to know why I will ALWAYS watch the NHL playoffs regardless of whether my team is in it or not?

The simple answer is: playoff hockey is the best, it’s a beast of it’s own whether it includes my team or not. Playoff hockey is incredible, pure and simple. As a hockey fan, how could I not enjoy it?

Would I have loved it even more if I was able to watch and root for my own team this post-season? Absolutely, but that does not mean that I will not enjoy the magic that is the playoffs. My love of the game goes beyond just my own team. Yes I will always be a Vancouver Canucks fan through and through, but I am also a fan of the game itself whether my team is involved or not. Give me all the games, all the overtime, all the unpredictability and everything in between that leads to the Stanley Cup Finals.

16 teams entered the fight on April 12. 2 teams remain to finish the battle for the Stanley Cup beginning on May 29. Will the Nashville Predators incredible post-season play lead them to their first Stanley Cup victory? Will the Pittsburgh Penguins be the first team to repeat as champions in back to back years since the Detroit Red Wings (’97 & ’98)?

Nashville has had incredible goal-tending along with a strong defense and players in every position stepping up every single game. Pittsburgh despite being without some of their core players have found a way to win in every situation. Both have what it takes to win and no matter which way this final 2017 playoff series closes out, we are in for one heck of a finish.

If you are like me, a fan watching with no loyalties to either side, which team are you hoping to see hoist the cup this year?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Canucks fans, don’t forget, as the off-season goes on, I’d love to feature as many FAN stories as possible. For more information for how you can have your story featured, click the link: https://nucksaid.com/2017/05/16/true-blue-2017/

True Blue 2017

As we edge deeper into the Vancouver Canucks off-season and the local media focus on all of the decisions that will or will not be made, here on NUCKSAID, it means that it’s time to put the spot light on YOU, the fans. The summer tradition continues. What exactly is the True Blue tradition, you ask? Allow me to explain.

The True Blue series takes the spotlight off of the angst that is off-season rumour mills and puts it on YOU the fans and YOUR stories. It has become a favourite summer tradition of mine to feature during the off-season. As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canuck stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you back year after year. Over the past three summers, I have had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Canucks fans from all over the world and sharing their stories with all of you.

Here’s a summary post from the first summer of TRUE BLUE to give you more of an idea of just how special this summer project is:

https://nucksaid.com/2014/09/23/true-blue-thank-you/

This year, I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you live in Canada or the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOUR story as a part of this year’s series.

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 share another part of my story as well. Is this the year, that you and your story will be featured? Or do you know someone who would like their Canucks story featured? If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2017, simply send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE.

I look forward to hearing and sharing as many stories as you are all willing to share and have read by many more throughout the summer. Here’s to making the long off-season a little more enjoyable by sharing all kinds of hockey stories!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

From Utica, to Vancouver, Here’s Coach Green

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time signalling that the Willie Desjardins era with the Vancouver Canucks is over. And so began the search for the team’s next head coach. Rumours have swirled the last few weeks that they would hire Travis Green, the coach of their affiliate team, the Utica Comets. And while there are a few coaching vacancies league wide and lots of big names out there, Green seemed to be at the top of the Canucks list from the beginning of the search.

And after a few weeks of speculating, it has now been officially announced that yes, Travis Green is indeed now the coach of the Vancouver Canucks. That is the story but all that I have heard since the news broke is how he cannot possibly be a good fit or that his tenure is bound to be an absolute disaster before it has even started. 

Yes, maybe it was the obvious choice. Yes, maybe he does not have experience coaching at the NHL level. Yes, maybe he was not the anticipated choice from some fans. However you feel about the hiring, one thing is certain, Travis Green deserves a chance to actually do the job before he is critiqued. Maybe he will make some bad decisions along the way but it’s not fair to attack when he’s yet to actually coach this team for even one game yet.

He deserves credit for the impeccable job he’s done with Utica over the last 4 years and he deserves credit for his experience as a former hockey player.  He deserves credit for helping to develop and mentor a bulk of the Canucks prospects over the last 4 years. He deserves respect as someone who has paid his dues to get here. He does not deserve to be compared to past coaches successes or mistakes, the decisions he makes will be his own. His mistakes and successes will be his own.

Today, he was introduced to the local media and had a lot to say about his vision for the team moving forward and how he welcomes the challenge of coaching at the NHL level.

“There’s pressure…there’s pressure wherever you coach. I like challenges and I’m excited about this. I’m ready.” – Travis Green

“There’s only 31 of these jobs in the league. I’m ready for the task at hand. There’s a lot of great people in this organization.” – Green

“Fans, we share the same goal: to have a winning team that’s exciting to watch. It’s not an overnight process, but it begins now.” – Travis Green

You hear that, Vancouver fans? He’s ready for the challenge and he knows that the process is not an overnight magic fix, the process takes time. Let’s give him a chance to be the catalyst as the process moves forward.

As much as there is youth needed, the veterans will also be called upon to help lead the way.

“I’m hopeful this group of veterans is eager to get back at it and bounce back next year. They’re going to push our culture.” – Travis Green

He knows that players will come back motivated after a tough season and he’s not afraid to push them when needed or encourage when needed. There will be no guessing games for his players as to where they stand with their coach. Communication will be clear between both sides.

“I don’t play mind games. Players know where they stand with me, good or bad. I’ll push my players, that’s what good coaches do.” – Travis Green

“I expect a lot of my players. I want players to succeed. I want to push a 15-goal scorer to become a 25-goal scorer.” – Travis Green

He’s worked his way up from playing in the league to coaching at different levels before landing here in Vancouver. Yes, he doesn’t have any experience coaching in the NHL but his time coaching in the minors will help him as he navigates this latest step. Every NHL coach started behind the bench somewhere and this is Green’s shot. Welcome to the big leagues, Travis.

Welcome home, coach! You’re officially one of us now! We are all Canucks.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

Vancouver Canucks: Season’s End.

Dear Canucks,

It’s hard to believe that the end of the 2016-2017 season has come and gone already. Where did the time go? Those looking from the outside could easily call the season a complete disaster and leave it at that. Some fans may even say the same but not this one. Yes, perhaps your stats were nowhere near ideal, a lot of things went wrong and the team had a lot of injuries but that doesn’t mean that I stopped supporting you. And yes, there were tough stretches, but the way I see it..it is during these tougher stretches that you need our support even more.

This year was my second season being a partial season ticket member along with my sister and personally it was another unforgettable year for us as fans. And yes while there were difficult moments, it doesn’t mean we loved the game or the team any less as the year went on. When it comes to hockey, even in the worst of seasons, I still feel the magic walking into the arena like I did the very first time that I saw a game played live in the arena.

From walking in the doors, to finding our seats, to the lights going down prior to anthems to the crowd singing in unison to puck drop to final buzzer, no matter the score, there is something completely magical about seeing the team play live.

There were definitely downs this season but there were also a lot of incredible things that happened.

Up: Starting the season with a win streak on home ice. As a fan, that was all kinds of awesome for us to see to start the year.

Down: being “shh-ed”  at a hockey game. How on earth is a person supposed to be completely quiet when watching a game in an arena with 18,000 other fans? Answer, it’s impossible, fact.

One of my favourite moments I was able to capture this season from #LightUpVancouver:

Up: Finding this sign outside of Rogers Arena shortly after that incident… #priceless

Down: This season was the first in a long time that more times than not, I was made to feel as though being a female hockey fan means that I am not a “real hockey fan”.

Up: All of those who reached out to me after each incident and made me feel validated as a hockey fan and especially those who shared their own stories with me. Thank-you.

Down: The injury bug hitting the team all season long.

Up: With the injury bug that paved the opportunity for young players to step up. Troy Stecher and Nikita Tryamkin helped to steady and anchor the blue line and becoming fan favourites as the season went on.

Up: Seeing the evolution of players like Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi as they all had career years. Also seeing players like Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser step up late in the season giving fans a glimpse of the future down the road was a welcome surprise.

Up: Seeing Henrik Sedin reach the 1000 NHL points milestone live. Sincerely that moment is one I will never forget. From the anticipation of the crowd leading up to the goal, to the play itself, to the entire team joining Henrik on the ice after the goal to the standing ovation, to the crowd singing “Don’t Stop Believing”, I can remember every detail of that night.  We look forward to seeing Daniel reach the same early next season!


Up: Having the opportunity to meet former and current Canucks players. 

Up: The opportunity to be back as partial season ticket holders with my sister. Hockey is one of the things that bonds us together and despite what a lot of media have written about there being NO excitement about you, we had A LOT of great moments this year thanks to you.

Thank-you for a truly unforgettable year of ups, downs and everything in between. And yes, the season may have been far from perfect but it still had a lot of magic. And just as I was a fan before this past season, I still am one today and will still be one for all my years to come. No stat, season record, or media outlet will ever change how or when I will support you.

And as we have the last two years, we will be back in the arena supporting you again next season, loud and proud every time you hit the ice!

Here’s to the future!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

The Dark Side

No April Fool’s joke here, just the bold truth. When it comes to hockey and the Vancouver Canucks, I love everything about the game but this season has been a challenge not because of my team or any stat but because of my being a hockey fan who happens to be female. Lately I have been seeing a lot more of the dark side of being a female hockey fan. I’m not sure what is about this season in particular but this is the first time since the game stole my heart that I have had numerous experiences whether in the arena or attempting to engage in a hockey discussion that I have been made to feel that I am not good enough when it comes to knowing about hockey.

This season has been one in which I’ve been told too many times to count that in no uncertain terms that hockey and women do not go together. Any other ladies felt like this recently or in the past? Tell me, do any of the following statements sound familiar?:

  • “You can’t possibly understand the game, you’re a girl/woman. You only watch for the ‘eye candy.'”
  • “Women cannot understand the complexity that is hockey. It’s much too complicated.”
  • “You like hockey? Do you even know what that means or actually know anything about the game? Doubtful.”
  • “You probably don’t even know who’s jersey you are wearing. You probably only bought it because you liked the design/colours”
  • “If you want to understand the game, you should just not bother even trying.”
  • “You could not be more wrong about [insert hockey stat] if you tried”
  • “What you actually mean to say is…”
  • “Shh…please be quieter, we are trying to watch the hockey game.”

And worse than any of the above assumptions about females understanding the game are the statements made about us or to us that cannot be repeated. Or then there is the fact that we may have differing opinions or perspectives and that according to many mean that we must be wrong. Having a different opinion or perspective does not mean either of us is wrong, it just means we see the game differently.

Why is this normal? Why is this okay? When did it become acceptable and why is it still acceptable? This is 2017, if you love hockey at any level, all that matters is that you love the game not what gender you are. If you love the game, you love the game.

I understand that there are fans who know more about the game than me and some that may know less BUT that doesn’t mean any of us are any more or less of a fan. I love discussing the ins and outs of the game and discovering new facets of it BUT that does not mean that I or ANY other hockey fan should be looked down on IF we know less or more than another hockey fan.

Hockey is for everyone? It certainly has not felt that way at all for me this season.

In an ideal world, the belief that “hockey is for everyone” would be true always.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.