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.

Memo to the Media

To Whom it may concern in the Vancouver Hockey Media,

“Vancouver Canucks fans do not know how to feel…”. Stop. Please, just STOP. I get it, the Canucks are officially out of playoff contention but please stop telling me how I feel about my team. Stop telling me how you think I should feel or when I should feel it about them. If anyone knows how I feel, it is me, not you. And believe me, I know how I feel about this team and not one of your headlines or articles this season has covered it anywhere near accurately.

Since the start of the season, you have told me that I have nothing to be excited about this team or even this season and if we were going by your headlines, you would be right. Yes the numbers that make a season tell a part of the story BUT they do not define the whole story. The numbers do NOT define when or how I am a fan of my team. No game results or season’s results will define when or how I am a fan of my team.

If anything when you write your constant negative headlines or start telling me how Canucks fans are supposed to feel or even when the team struggles, it only makes me support them even more. I know that choosing to be optimistic most likely puts me in the minority of Canucks fans, but if you ask me, a team can always use support.

Yes, you are right that there have been a lot of ups and downs along this regular season journey BUT that does not mean it has all been down hill. And before you tell me that perhaps I am uninformed about the team or detached from the reality that is their current situation…STOP. Please know that I am completely aware of the team’s current state. Or perhaps you think that I am delusional for remaining optimistic rather than joining in with all of the negative voices? Or perhaps you think I am against the team making moves at the deadline? STOP. I know the team’s stats every year backwards and forwards. I don’t need the game, the season or the team’s history explained to me in condescending tones. I understand these things as much as any other Canucks fan but I choose to have a different perspective.

And yes there may be some fans and many of you that are all aboard #teamtank but that will never include me. It goes completely against my nature to purposely cheer against my team. I know that this season has been less than ideal and very much a struggle for them at times but that does NOT mean that I will stop supporting the team. Just because I choose to look past the negatives and see the positives that DO exist does NOT mean that I am naive or misunderstand the game. All it means is that regardless of ANY stat, I will support my team through the good and the bad.

Win or lose, good or bad, the Vancouver Canucks are my team, ALWAYS. End of story.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: FAN Favourite Moments.

When it comes to the Vancouver Canucks there’s a lot of negative headlines out there about the team and their current season BUT today, we are stepping away from that to take a look back at some all-time great Canucks moments. As a fan, there are moments or milestones over the years that stand the test of time and some moments that define when we became fans of the game. Some moments that we can remember down the very last detail from the players on the ice to every word of the play by play call. Some are moments that go way back and others are more recent.

I asked you to share YOUR all-time favourite Vancouver Canucks moments over the last few days and you delivered sending me an impeccable list of moments from over the years. This post is for all of you, so without further ado, here we go:

The very first game, marking the beginning of the franchise: October 9, 1970. It also marked the very first goal in franchise history from Barry Wilkins.

1980s and a signature goal celebration were defined by Tiger Williams.

Pavel Bure. Russian Rocket. 1994. Game 7. Double OT. Need I say more?:

Or this other incredible 1994 playoff moment: “Babych, long shot. Potvin has trouble with it. Adams shoots, SCORES! Greg Adams! The Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Final!”:

Penalty Shot. Gino Odjick. GOAL. GINO, GINO, GINO!

Jim Robson’s call in game 6 vs. NYR in 1994: “Linden chopped down…he’ll play, you know he’ll play…and he’ll play at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night..”

Trevor Linden’s career synonymous with the 1994 run as well as THIS memorable hit:

2004. Game 7. Down by 1. Matt Cooke. 5.7 seconds left. TIED GAME. Pandemonium.

The early 2000’s are significant in many Canucks fans memories due to the rise of the West Coast Express (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison & Todd Bertuzzi)

Goals like these fueled why so many Canucks fans had high expectations of former Canuck, Cody Hodgson:

Just as there are moments of triumph there will inevitably be moments of loss and heartbreak. Loss and heartbreak will either break a team a part or pull them together bringing out the best in them. It still breaks my heart to know that we will never see Luc Bourdon or Rick Rypien play hockey again. Yet seeing how the team came together both times for the families, each other, the fans and the community was something incredible to witness.

We still miss you, Luc.

And sometimes that unbearable loss brings to light issues that once went unseen and inspires raising much needed awareness all year round. The loss of Rick Rypien illuminated to the importance of raising mental health awareness and inspired the creation of Mindcheck. Wish you could see the awareness and bravery that you have inspired, Ryp.

Heartbreak hit Canuck nation once again when the news broke that former Canuck, Gino Odjick was suffering from a rare heart disease. The team came together again to support him but it was seeing the community come together to rally for Gino one more time when he was in the hospital that was absolutely incredible. GINO, GINO, GINO!

Alex Burrows. The underdog, the one who was never supposed to make it to the NHL, let alone carve out a career as a franchise player over 12 years.

OT series winning goal in St.Louis in 2009 celebrated with a tribute to Luc.

Or perhaps his even bigger OT series winning goal vs. Chicago. Game 7. A cheer heard province wide and the beginning of an epic playoff run. It was a moment 3 years in the making and one that will long be remembered by Canucks fans.

And as was a habit of his, he loved breaking streaks. Whether that was breaking Detroit’s 23-game home ice winning streak:

OR if it was ending the Canucks lengthly regular season skid with a timely short-handed goal vs. Carolina in February that changed the course of the 2008/2009 Canucks season:

So you see, Burrows, we will not forget you. You defied the odds and left an indelible mark on the Vancouver Canucks.

OT forced with 15 seconds left on the clock in regulation in game 5. Kevin Bieksa will always be synonymous with this moment in the 2011 Conference Finals. Double overtime. OFF THE STANCHIONS TO KEVIN BIEKSA to the back of the net! “We’re going to the CUP!!!”. A goal that was 17 years in the making.

The goal was simply, BIEKSALLENT. That goal will long live on in Vancouver Canucks history but more important than any goal, assist or fight on the ice was the one Bieksa helped fight off the ice: helping to raise awareness on the importance of mental health and spear heading the creation of Mind Check and leading the way during the league wide hockey talks initiatives.

SEDINERY never gets old and it is hard to comprehend that one day these two players will retire but it is not that day yet! From rookies developing their game to now seasoned veterans, the Sedins have led the way for the Canucks defining what it means to be a Canuck on and off of the ice.

Early Sedinery. 1 Game. 4 goals from Daniel Sedin.

Game 7. 2007. Home ice. Quadruple overtime. HENRIK SEDIN WINS IT!

From playing their entire careers together to back to back Art Ross trophies. Twintuition indeed with Henrik winning the Art Ross in 2010 and Daniel in 2011.  Despite each having career years, it was not a guarantee that either would win it with players like Crosby and Ovechkin keeping the race close both years.

A ridiculous goal from Daniel set up by Hank that helped to secure the Art Ross for Henrik in 2010:

Many people have questioned the Sedins longevity over the years but it is Henrik Sedin that holds the 7th longest iron man streak of 679 consecutive NHL games played.

Or a more recent favourite memory. #HENR1K. Oh captain, my captain. It seems only fitting that his 1000th point came on home ice on a goal assisted by his brother. HENRIK! HENRIK! HENRIK!

I remember every single thing about witnessing that moment in the arena and always will. From the atmosphere in the arena, to the goal itself to the team celebrating with Hank on the ice. Where will you be when Daniel hits the milestone?

The list is long and I know that there are a lot more that did not make it onto this list and there are even more still to come as the years go on. Sometimes it’s nice to look back at the moments that remind you of why and when this game and team completely captured you.

If there’s an all-time favourite of yours that didn’t make the post, leave it in the comments below or tweet me (@nucksaid). Those “extra” moments just may inspire another post ;)!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Vancouver Canucks: The Good in the Bad.

It’s easy to look at the Vancouver Canucks season and completely write it off as a disaster. And yes it is true that this is hardly their best season on record and that the team will most likely miss the playoffs BUT despite all of the negatives surrounding their season, there is still a lot of good when you look back behind the layers. And as you know, with me, if you follow my blog or my social media that I will ALWAYS find a silver lining when it comes to my Canucks.

So instead of focusing on all of the negative narratives out there, today let’s take a look at the GOOD that DOES exist within this season for the Vancouver Canucks:

Mattias Ohlund being inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour before a loud home crowd and a winning effort on home ice. MATTIAS, MATTIAS, MATTIAS! A fan favourite when he played for the team and still even now.

The hockey talks initiatives that took place in February as well as continuing everyday with the Vancouver Canucks to continue the conversation on the importance of mental health awareness.

The 4-game win streak to start the season or their great run after Christmas while they may not have lasted, were both incredibly fun to watch.

Troy Stecher. Etch a stech. The home grown talent that was never supposed to make the roster but due to his strong play early in training camp and injuries that hit the blue line, he quickly became a Canucks roster staple. Did anyone believe prior to the season that Stetcher would become one of the Canucks most reliable blue line members?

Or how about Nikita Tryamkin? Who doesn’t love seeing a good Tryamkin smash in a game? There was a lot of uncertainties with the BFG early in the season when he refused to be sent down and there was not a spot…but he proved he was more than ready to be an anchor on an NHL blueline.

Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi have continued to evolve amassing 19 goals and 16 goals respectively. Bo Horvat continues to grow his game and his impact on the community. He’s hit new career highs in points and goals during a season but also surpassed the 100 NHL points milestone! The first 20-goal season for Horvat is in the books! Did you think that the points leader on the Canucks roster this season would be Bo? And with 13 games remaining on the season, he’s still got time to add to those points totals!

Sign me up for team Goldy! What a debut for him, it may have been limited minutes but what a preview of things to come with his highlight reel breakaway goal.

I suppose that’s the long winded way of me saying that it’s been incredible to see the maturing of the younger players on the team. It’s fun to see the potential of the future of this team.

Not to be overlooked is the veteran leadership on the team. Players like Alex Edler and Chris Tanev have been mentoring the youth on the back end. Ryan Miller has been a steadying force in the crease while mentoring and welcoming players to the roster. The Sedins are at the heart of this team in the way they play on the ice and set an example off of the ice.

Speaking of the Sedins, they are still doing sedinery things. And yes they may not be producing their normal numbers but how lucky are we to have witnessed not one but TWO franchise leaders for the entirety of their careers from draft year to NOW. And by early next season we will have witnessed BOTH reach the 1000 points milestone. It seems incredibly fitting that Henrik’s 1000th point came on a goal assisted by his brother. As long as I live, I will long remember being there in the arena the moment Hank got that milestone 1000th point. Seeing that goal happen right in front of our seats followed by the entire team coming down the ice to celebrate with him will long be an all-time favourite moment for this kid.

And yes I know that these moments may not seem like a lot when you focus on all of the things that have gone wrong over the season or the negative headlines BUT they are still a part of the fabric that is this season. It’s true that I could simply spout all of those negative truths as well but you already know all of those and you might just miss out on some of the magic that has happened this season. Sometimes, it’s good to step back from the constant negatives and see that amidst all of the havoc that has been this season, there were still some great moments and still remain to be a few before the season is over.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

THANK-YOU, JANNIK.

Dear Jannik Hansen,

Here we go again. The winds of change. I was at the game last night, saw you in the warm ups and when it was announced that you were a late scratch, you could feel something was brewing behind the scenes. Thank-you, hardly seems enough for what you gave this team and this city for 10+ years, but I’m going to try. First things first, please know that you never once for a second ever let me down.

Fans from across the league never really knew just how lucky Vancouver Canucks fans were to have you as a part of the team. The road wasn’t any easy one, but you have stayed the path. From one of a few players drafted from Denmark, to developing your game to the AHL and then to the NHL. From a rookie looking to make his mark to a seasoned veteran and leader, you did it all and you did it with incredible grace.

In 565 games over the last 10 years in Vancouver, you have embodied everything that it meant to have the heart of a Canuck. On and off the ice you found your place in Vancouver and forever left your mark.

At the beginning no one was sure of what kind of impact you could or would go on to have in an NHL lineup. You brought speed, determination and compete every single shift, every single game. No one knew what to expect but your versatility to play anywhere in the lineup and in any situation quickly won you over with the coaches, your teammates and the fans. And the rest as they say, is history. He was right, they were wrong, and you continued to prove all your critics wrong every single day.

And the critics came after you a lot over the years but you never let the negativity in. You rose above it all, every step of the way. You always did whatever was asked of you by the coaches or management. You were and are the consummate professional on and off of the ice. And when called upon to be a pillar in the community and be a part of helping make a difference for the community or helping to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, you were there. You gave everything you had with every shift on the ice and every moment you gave to the community in your tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.

And yes that magical run in 2011 will forever be cemented in part of your tenure in Vancouver, as will so many more on ice moments. Seeing you get your first goal, or you getting the Canucks first 3-on-3 OT goal or earlier this season when we witnessed your 100th NHL goal but for me, my all-time favourite moment happened just last season. It was an honour to meet you and talk all things hockey for a few moments. It meant more than you will ever know, thank-you.

jannikhansen2

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again for more than 10 incredible years of memories on and off of the ice and, the ever persistent pursuit of your dreams, and inspiring so many more to keep pursuing their dreams. I wish you all the best in San Jose, but remember, that you will always be the Canucks, honey badger. You made your coaches proud. You made your teammates proud. You made this city and Canucks fans around the globe proud.

And to THIS fan, you will always and forever be a Canuck. Thank-you doesn’t seem quite enough but it’s what I have to offer. Thank-you for everything, Jannik.

Sarah E.L.

THANK-YOU, BURR.

Dear Alexandre Burrows,

Thank-you, hardly seems enough for what you gave this city for 12+ years, but I’m going to try. First things first, please know that you never once for a second ever let me down.

Fans from across the league never really knew just how lucky Vancouver Canucks fans were to have you as a part of the team. The road wasn’t any easy one, but you stayed the path. From a ball hockey champion, to the Quebec Major Junior League, to the AHL to the NHL. From a rookie looking to make his mark to a seasoned veteran, you did it all and you did it with incredible grace.

822 games over the last 12 years in Vancouver, you have embodied everything that it meant to have the heart of a Canuck. You were never meant to make it to the NHL, let alone play on the top line for an extended period or score a franchise dragon slaying goal or become a pillar within the community and mentor for the younger players.

At the beginning no one was sure of what kind of impact you could or would go on to have in an NHL lineup. Most people saw you as tenacious with innate ability to get under the skin of your opponent and didn’t see the potential beyond that. Somehow, I think both Marc Crawford and Alain Vigneault always knew, and when AV made that seemingly crazy decision one fateful February day, to put you on a line with the Sedins, it gave people pause. And the rest as they say, is history. He was right, they were wrong, and you continued to prove all your critics wrong every single day.

You never let the negativity in. You rose above it all, every step of the way. You always did whatever was asked of you by the coaches or management. You were and are the consummate professional on and off of the ice. And when called upon to help carry on Rick Rypien’s legacy with mindcheck and help raise awareness about the importance of mental health, you were there. You gave everything you had with every shift on the ice and every moment you gave to the community in your tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again for 12 incredible years of dragon slaying, the ever persistent pursuit of your dreams, and inspiring so many more to never give up. I wish you all the best in Ottawa, but remember, that you will always be our dragon slayer. You made Luc Bourdon proud. You made your coaches proud. You made your teammates proud. You made this city and Canucks fans around the globe proud.

And to THIS fan, you will always and forever be a Canuck. When I have felt like giving up, all I have had to do was think of how you always kept pushing forward despite the odds and I would be reminded that when you tune out the negativity, anything is possible. Thank-you doesn’t seem quite enough but it’s what I have to offer. Thank-you for everything, BURR.

Sarah E.L.