Some hockey nights are more special than others, sometimes it’s about more than the game itself but rather the people who are with you. This one in particular will always be on that stands out. This past weekend, we took my 90-years young Grandpa to his first ever Vancouver Canucks game.
When he planned his visit a few months back, he said that it would be really fun to attend a hockey game together while he was here. And you know me, there was no convincing need on my part! So we took a look at the team’s schedule to plan out which game to attend together. We gave him the choice of games that would be available to him during his stay: Boston, Washington and Pittsburgh.
He chose Boston, as they are an original six franchise. And as you can imagine, as a Canucks fan, it may not have been my first choice of rivals to watch BUT it was not about my choice. It was his choice. And it was a great choice in the end but more on that later.
First things first, once the he made his choice we had to find tickets for the four of us that would be attending the game: my Grandpa, my dad, my sister and myself. Once we secured the four tickets, the next step was making sure he would be properly outfitted in Canucks attire for the game.
Up next was the long awaited game day! We made the trek to the arena all geared up and ready to take in all the sights and sounds, ready cheer on the home team!
It’s no secret that I’m ALWAYS going to root for the Canucks despite whatever the odds may tell me prior to any given game. This game was no different, I was told many times that this may not be best the game to bring Grandpa to as many did not expect the Canucks to put up much of a fight against a resilient Boston Bruins team. The expectation from them was a guaranteed loss with little or no push back. I learned long ago, that just because there is an expectation or certain odds, when it comes to hockey(and most sports), you can’t always go by the odds. Sometimes the odds go to the wayside and that team that everyone wrote off, just happens to surprise you.
The lights went down, the arena began to fill and the magic was just about upon us. Anthems were song and the puck dropped and the cheers began. Amidst our cheering, we talked about the team, the game progressing pretty well on both sides and taking in the sheer magic that is 18.000+ fans all taking in the moment together.
There’s the pure joy of opening the scoring early in the game. There’s the annoyance in unison at the refs/linesmen in the game. There’s the intensity of the game back and forth as the Canucks tried to seal it and the Bruins relentlessly not giving up. There was the unexpected fight from Bo Horvat that only had fans convinced even more so that he’s potential captain material. There was the moment Boston’s relentlessness paid off as they tied to game. There was the moment late in the final frame that Markstrom made a glove save out of the air to keep the game tied, and made for an exhilarating frenzied finish to regulation.
As overtime was about to begin, all I could think about was how much I really didn’t want to witness a shootout not because I thought either team was more favoured in that contest but because if passed regulation, I’d rather watch continuous overtime over a shootout any day. There’s a certain intensity that comes with 3-on-3 OT and overtime in general that just cannot be matched in a shootout.
And just as I was having those ‘please no shootout’ thoughts without taking my eyes off of the ice, it happened almost in slow motion and then all at once. Brock Boeser stole the puck, had a give and go with Bo Horvat ending with a perfectly placed Horvat shot for the game winning goal. The crowd went wild and we left the arena with an everlasting family hockey memory.
Sometimes hockey is about more than just the game itself, it’s about the people. It’s making memories of a lifetime that will long live on. And just in case there’s any doubt, Grandpa has officially dubbed himself a Vancouver Canucks fan.
As always, until next time, nuck said.