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.
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
—-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: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.
As always, until next time, nuck said.