The Countdown is on…

The countdown is officially on and as we edge slowly closer to the upcoming season, my excitement grows even more. Yes, I know that probably sounds crazy coming from a Vancouver Canucks fan. According to the “experts”, what could I possibly have to be excited about or why do I even bother to support a team that is already predicted to be in the bottom of the league next season?

And you know what? Maybe all those “experts” are right that the team will finish near the bottom next year OR maybe they are are wrong. Regardless of how the “experts” predict next season OR how the season actually goes, I will be supporting the team from start to finish.

And yes, as crazy as it may sound, I am excited for the season that is just around the corner despite all the odds and disasters that could be.  And yes, I will be excited about the season and the team’s future. And yes, I will cheer the loudest when Daniel Sedin joins his brother Henrik in the 1000 NHL points club this season. Despite what people from the outside may think, that is an incredible feat in ANY NHL career and one that many players do not reach.

And yes, there is a lot of youth on this team moving forward and I am thrilled to see those players develop with the organization. I am excited to once again see Bo Horvat continue his evolution as a leader on this team on and off of the ice. Brock Boeser in 9 games last year, only showed a glimpse of what he can bring to the NHL. This season, he will play potentially a full season to fully embrace what it means to be an NHL player. Then there’s the case of Jake Virtanen, who so many have already decided is a bust, wouldn’t it be amazing if all that hard he’s put in this off-season helps him prove all those critics wrong? He deserves an opportunity to do just that…I have a feeling we have yet to see his very best.

And yes, I will continue to watch the game with a different perspective from many fans by choosing to always find the silver lining. Having a different view of the game does NOT make me less of a fan in any way. Yes, I do get frustrated at moments or disagree with a decision made on the ice but neither or those lead me to stop supporting the team. And yes, regardless of whether a season is good or bad, I will watch every game supporting the team through it all: the good, the bad and everything in between.

And when I inevitably read all the upcoming negativity directed at the team during the upcoming season, I will shout my support even louder. Perfect or perfectly imperfect, win or lose, the Vancouver Canucks are my team and they have my support all year round: 24/7/365.

The countdown is on and I can hear the echoes of what’s to come just beyond the bend…

“Is it October yet?
No, not just yet, but I can hear the echoes of what is just beyond the bend.
Anthems bringing the crowd to attention,
and for a moment all is quiet before it all begins.
The cool crisp smell of the ice followed by whistles blowing,
the clink of the puck finally dropping,
sounds of blades hitting the ice,
sticks battling for the puck,
resounding cheering for the many goals that will come,
the resounding boos for any and every bad or missed call by the refs,
the chirping between players,
the back and forth battle from end to end,
each shift more intense than the previous one as the clock winds down,
and the absolute bliss of seeing your team skate away with victory.
Is it October yet?
No, not just yet, but I can hear the echoes of what is just beyond the bend.

-Sarah Laug (August 9, 2014)”

The countdown is on, can you hear the echoes just around the bend? What moment are you most looking forward to in the upcoming season? For me, it’s getting to see Daniel join his brother in the 1000 NHL points club as they continue to fill up the Vancouver Canucks history books.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.