Canucks Round Table (Vol.6)

Welcome to the latest edition of the official Nucksaid: Canucks Round Table! As you know, if you’ve followed my blog for awhile, one of my absolute favourite things is to connect with fellow hockey fans and to share our stories together. This series brings Canucks fans together from near and far to discuss all things Canucks through the year. There’s a lot to be said about them as a team, personally, I love to also hear other fans perspectives, it helps me to see the team and the game in new ways. Hopefully you enjoy the ride with all of us! 

Shall we begin? Without further ado, I present to you the 6th edition of the Canucks Round Table feature on Nucksaid.

Here we GO! [Thank-you to all the participants, and make sure to give them all a follow on twitter, their handles are included in the responses below]

1) As part of our new normal, the arenas in the hub cities and for the foreseeable future will not have fans in the stands, do you think this will either give the return to play teams an advantage or a disadvantage? 

Jacob New(@jkmnew): I feel that the lack of fans in the arena will most likely post a minor disadvantage to all teams considering that they have usually played in front of thousands of fans during their regular season games. The atmosphere, at least in person may be more akin to a practice with the lack of people inside the arena, but the NHL will most likely try to influence the presentation inside to replicate a game as much as possible(music during game breaks, pumped crowd noise, highlights and fan footage on the jumbotron). This replication will not be perfect but I do believe that after the first couple of games with no live audience, the players will grow used to this new normal and their performances will not suffer in significant ways.

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): I truly don’t think that the lack of fans will have much impact on the game, and it won’t really give any team an advantage per se. I think the players are already very excited to get back to playing hockey, and their energy and enthusiasm won’t be affected by the lack of fans. If anything, the designated “home team” might miss a bit of a “boost” that comes from the home crowd, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s an advantage or disadvantage. The players know that they have a unique opportunity to win the Stanley Cup this year, and that will be their focus.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): To be honest, I’m not sure! Fans do play a huge part in the flow and atmosphere of the game! I hope the NHL can incorporate the fans somehow.

(@Grampahockey1): I don’t believe this will be an advantage to either team, you may saw the home rink has a slight advantage because they know the idiosyncrasies of their own rink but I think that will be minimal and diminish over time.

(@tams3333): I think it will be an advantage. I think the guys are so tuned into the game and pretty much all teams being away will make for some amazing well balanced games.

Artisia Wong(@artisia_wong): I don’t think the hub cities without fans in the stands will give any team the advantage. There won’t be any noise to cheer on any teams so nothing will be a distraction or advantage for any teams.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): Having no fans is certainly going to be different. The players at this level are so used to having fans, scouts, management and media around at practices and games. However as all the teams experience that the same change and the practices during this two week period are focused on preparing, including no fans. I don’t think it will make a difference but I am intrigued by the different tales I’ve heard about the potential fan impact.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I suspect that everyone is in a similar state or confusion and trying to make sense of the new normal. My gut says that there not be any advantage or disadvantage to any team based on the fans of lack of fans in the seats.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): I think its both. I think having the fans there, gives teams energy and can be a big advantage to a home team in terms of creating intimidating atmosphere to play. At the same time, playing in front of no fans means less pressure. Watching the playoffs over the years, I’ve seen teams that really feed off of the crowd but also teams that seem to really struggle to put together a solid game in front of home fans, especially in Canada when you’re down a goal or 2, the crowd’s nervous energy seems to translate on the ice too.

Me(@nucksaid): I don’t necessarily think it’ll be an advantage or disadvantage as all the teams will be in the exact same situation. I think it’s unique in this most unusual of circumstances but the teams will adapt to the new normal and put their focus on the why they’re there, the Stanley Cup. I’m curious to see how it’s going to be from a fan perspective with all content that has been provided by the teams and various fans around the league.

2)The Minnesota Wild present a good challenge for a young Canucks team, what strengths do you think that both sides have?

Jacob New(@jkmnew): I think Minnesota is a good match up for the Canucks because of their up-and-coming young players– they remind me of the Canucks pre-Sedin retirement as they have their two anchor veterans, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They are not as good as the Sedins but they do possess extensive veteran experience that could help the Wild in the series. Of the two teams, Minnesota has more experience in the playoffs and even though they have not won many series in the last couple years, the experience can be crucial in a playoff environment. Then again, this is not your regular playoffs. As for Vancouver’s strengths, I do feel that Vancouver’s offence is ready for prime time and has the edge over Minnesota. Players like Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser have put up great regular seasons and have performed well under pressure of fans and the media. This is not to say that Minnesota does not have great young players themselves (names such as Kevin Fiala and Ryan Donato come to mind), but Vancouver’s young guns have both the stats and hardware to prove their talent(Boeser’s All-Star MVP award and Pettersson’s Calder Trophy).

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): On paper, it’s a coin flip as the two teams finished one point apart in the standings. It sounds simplistic but it really boils down to the Canucks having a more dynamic offence, the Wild having a more solid blue line, and the Canucks having a decided advantage between the pipes. Both teams have a nice mix of young players and veterans, and they both skate well and play with tenacity. I think Markstrom will be the difference in this series.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): Minnesota will be a tough test! I think the Canucks need to be careful. Minnesota is a team that hangs around and can close out games very well. The Canucks have high scoring offence and a goalie, who when he’s on, is one of the best in the league. I think its going to be be a fantastic series.

(@Grampahockey1): I think the Canucks will have an advantage because of their youth and goal-tending. They are healthy and when they were healthy last time, they could compete with anyone. However, having said that, they will have to fight for every inch of ice as the Wild will not roll over.

(@tams3333): The Wild are so stuck in their systems but I think if Travis gives the boys some freedom they will break through. Creative unpredictable play, I think will be the Canucks advantage and systems, I think will be the advantage for the Wild.

Artisia Wong(artisia_wong): The Canucks have a young and fun team that will hopefully do something in the playoffs. Score more goals and lots of assists. I don’t really know anything about the wild but I believe they are team as well. This will be a challenge for the Canucks but hope we come out on top.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The strengths of each side has been much talked about. Minnesota defence, Vancouver’s goal-tending and young scorers. To me, the biggest difference will come with the intangible ability to handle failure. How well will the different players recover from mistakes to come back and make the play next time instead of changing their game. The fear of quicksand. I think Green has done a great job with the young forwards to support their creativity while developing their game.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I feel like Minnesota has a few more veterans in their lineup that have extensive experience in the NHL playoffs that might prove to be an advantage for that team. However, I believe that the Canucks have a healthy balance of youth in the pressure to prove something that may be enough to see them go on a long run.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): I think for the Canucks, is their youth, the overall skill and speed that they have is much better than the Wild. Having Markstrom in net is also an advantage. The Canucks have their goal-tending is better than the Wild. My concerns with the Canucks is their defence, they really struggle defending, giving up tons of chances. If the Canucks can play their agressive style and speed game, play decent defence, then the series tilts in their favour. They have a more skilled top 6 than the Wild.

For Minnesota, their advantage is the experience that they have. They have lots of veterans who have played in the playoffs and have had little success. Being an older team, a lot of guys on the Wild might not get many more chances which makes them very motivated and dangerous. When I look at the Wild, their strength is their blue line, especially their top 4 which is good as any in the league. If the Wild can contain the Canucks speed and protect the middle of the ice, it will take advantage of the Canucks suspect defence and the series will tilt in their favour.

Me(@nucksaid): I think these two teams a very evenly matched on paper, separated by a single point in the overall standings. They each have their own strengths. Minnesota brings in a veteran experience with their own crop of young players and difference makers, especially their blue line that won’t make it easy on the Canucks. Minnesota was beginning to really gel together right before the pause, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly they pick up that pace again. For they Canucks, they have a hungry group of young players itching to prove themselves and get a real taste of NHL playoff hockey experience. If Pettersson, Boeser and Hughes are allowed to find their game while Markstrom stands tall, look out Minnesota.

3)Which Canuck(s) will have the biggest impact on the series?

Jacob New(@jkmnew): I’ve got two Canucks down as the impact players going into this series.

First, Jacob Markstrom. Goaltending is everything to this year’s Canucks. The offence has shown it can be capable of lighting up the opponent but without the stellar goal-tending we have been blessed with this season, we would not have made the qualifying round. Markstrom’s career has finally led to this summer, where he will make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. This season has been his ultimate breakout year, showing this franchise he can be the #1 they have needed over the last few years.

Second, Brock Boeser. Besides playing against his hometown team in this series, Brock will be facing adversity, both physically and mentally. Physically, he has been fatigued with injuries almost his entire career so far but has put up incredible numbers in the face of them. Mentally, he was the subject of a trade rumour right as training camp started, leaving fans (and probably players) in a state of confusion and speculation. Jim Benning has completely denied the report, but I am sure that Brock will put in the extra mile during training and these playoffs to quell any sort of idea that he is going anywhere. He is a superstar sniper and those are not easy to come by in a league that is shooter-heavy.

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): Markstrom, Pettersson, Hughes, and Miller are the obvious names. But I’m looking at Brock Boeser to have a massive series. It’s almost funny to think of him as a forgotten man, but he only played one game for the Canucks since getting injured on February 10. He looked fast in training camp, and it looked like his shot was back. He’ll be very motivated to play against the team based in his home state. Another player I look to have a big impact is Michael Ferland. It looks like he’ll get a chance to start on the third line as he has much more playoff experience than Virtanen and MacEwen. I remember how he terrorized the Canucks (in particular their d-men) back in the 2015 playoffs when he was playing for the Flames. I was scared of him…and I wasn’t even playing. Back then, I thought to myself, “Why can’t we have a guy like this on our team?” Well, now we have a guy like this on our team. And it could be amazing.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I think it’s going to be a breakout series for the young core! I also want to see what Juolevi can do that he’s made the team.

(@Grampahockey1): It’s got to be JT Miller and Michael Ferland, however I think the bottom 6 will come to play.

(@tams3333): I think Hughes. Defensive quarterbacks are critical.

Artisia Wong(@artisia_wong): I will have to say the goalie! Jacob Markstrom will be key to this series and potential playoff run. He will need to make some pretty big saves if the Canucks want to keep themselves in this.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): This series is the coming out party for Petey and Hughes. Their creative high pace games should still shine though in this play-in series. With the questions about experience being asked, Petey reacted to point out his SHL experience. He is challenged and steps up, every time.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I believe JT Miller and Jacob Markstrom will continue to be two players that have an enormous impact regardless of who is playing against them. Pettersson, Horvat, Hughes and Boeser will likely all have opportunities to shine in one of more games but I believe the first two mentioned names will be the ones carrying the consistency in round one. I also suspect there will be somebody like a Toffoli or a Peason who has an amazing series as always seem to be the case in these sort of competitions.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): I think Markstrom will be the biggest key and after that it be will guys like Hughes, Boeser, Pettersson, Horvat, Miller, Toffoli and Pearson if they can play to what they’re capable of, the Canucks will win the series. Also, if Jake Virtanen can get in the lineup and play like the power forward with his physical game, he can single handily change this series. In my opinion, his game is built for the playoffs but he can’t seem to stay out of trouble with coach and management.

Me(@nucksaid): Jacob Markstrom’s strength of play will definitely influence this series, if he finds that same gear that drove him all season, he will be a force for the Canucks against Minnesota and beyond. Quinn Hughes driving the blue line in that insanely astute way he does so naturally with a steady calm that is well beyond his years will inspire his teammates. Playing against his hometown team with his newly rediscovered shot and fully healthy for the first time is forever, Brock Boeser is going go be a very determined player looking to be the series spark.

4) Which Canuck do you think will open the scoring in their play-in series?

Jacob New(@jkmnew): I like to think creatively about these questions. Most people select bigger names but I’ll take Tanner Pearson as the opening scorer in this series, assisted by Toffoli and Horvat.

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): I’m going with Brock Boeser.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I’m going with Brock Boeser.

(@Grampahockey1): My favourite alien will pop the first goal in spectacular fashion as his play is out of this world. Go Petey Go!

(@tams3333): I’m going to say Bo.

Artisia Wong(@artisia_wong): I am going to say Horvat will open the scoring.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The first goal will be Boeser as he is working hard and with Bo and Tanner doing the board play, they will wear out the line and then give Boeser a shot.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): My bet is that it is somebody that we don’t suspect, like a Sutter.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): I am going to go with Brock Boeser playing against his hometown team. I expect him to come out flying and produce, I feel like he scores the opening goal for the Canucks.

Me(@nucksaid): I’m calling Brock Boeser to open and close the scoring in this series. I have a feeling we’re going to see something special from the kid when the puck drops on Sunday.

5)How many games do you think the play-in round against Minnesota will be, will see a shorter series or one that goes the distance?

Jacob New(@jkmnew): I think it will be a closer series than Canucks fans would hope for. Minnesota and their talent won’t go down without a fight, even with the prospect of #1 overall in the NHL draft as a consolation prize. I see the series going to 4 or 5 games, with Vancouver winning.

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): The Canucks will win in 4. A sweep would be nice, but I think it may be unrealistic. If the Canucks can win the first game and Markstrom plays well, I don’t see the Wild coming back in a short series.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I think it’s going to be a longer series.

(@Grampahockey1): Canucks in 4.

(@tams3333): I think it will go the distance. I think every game will be close actually and goal-tending will be the difference.

Artisia Wong(@artisia_wong): I hope we will see a shorter series! The longer the series, the more injuries will happen.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I’ve heard different numbers thrown around but the most likely to me would be 4 games. The Canucks take two. Minny takes one and then the Canucks step up and finish the series.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I’m banking on a 4-game series.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): I think the Canucks take this in 4, although I would not be surprised if it goes to 5. The teams were even in the regular season only by 1 point difference. I can see a lot of tight 1-2 goal hockey games. I don’t expect this series to be lopsided. If this series ends in a sweep either way, I would be surprised.

Me(@nucksaid): I think the Wild will give the Canucks a fight for every inch but I still think the Canucks take the series in 4 games.

6) With the CBA now extended, are you excited about NHL players potentially returning to the Olympic games that may feature a few of the young Canucks?

Jacob New(@jkmnew): Absolutely. If there was anything that the Winter Olympics has missed out on over the last half decade, it is NHL players in the Men’s Ice Hockey competition. Looking forward to 2022, there are bound to be a couple of Canucks to make the cut for their respective countries. Jacob Markstrom would be in contention for Sweden’s starting goalie position and Elias Pettersson could be the country’s top centre-man. Brock Boeser’s shot would be a lethal weapon for the United States team and Quinn Hughes’ mobility and puck-moving skills will make him hard to pass on for Team USA as well. Though these players would not be playing for Team Canada, it is hard to cheer against them when they play just as hard for your own team. If I had to isolate a single player to be most excited to see in the Olympics, it would be Elias Pettersson. His performance at the World Juniors was impressive but he could shine even more knowing what he is capable of at the NHL level at this point in his career.

Clay Imoo(@CanuckClay): I absolutely love Olympic hockey. I love seeing best-on-best and I love seeing Canada compete. You’d think that Pettersson and Markstrom would be automatics for Sweden, while the States could have Hughes, Miller, Boeser and Demko. I think Horvat may have an outside shot at making the Canadian team. And Sweden and Russian might inject some youth with Hoglander and Podkolzin, respectively. I can’t wait!

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I’m SO EXCITED that players can go to the Olympics(hopefully). It’s going to be insanely hard to not cheer for the USA with Boes and Huggy on that team! Cannot wait to see these young guys represent their countries!

(@Grampahockey1): I don’t believe the NHL should hijack Olympic hockey games. Having said that, I will of course watch Sweden win the gold so we should be well represented.

(@tams3333): Absolutely! I love Olympic hockey! Such an amazing experience for all the players.

Artisia Wong(@artisia_wong): Yes, I’m so excited for the NHL players to return to the Olympics! It’s always so much fun watching them play!

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I haven’t really though much about the Canucks and the Olympics. In one sense, it is better for team Canada to have Canucks there. The NHL at the Olympics will make for some very exciting hockey. With so many good players from other countries, it will be a really competitive and skilled tournament. I have always tracked team Canada and any Canuck players (or former Canucks) when international play is happening. I don’t always watch it though. I don’t see that changing but will still be interesting.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): 100%. I think this is what the players want and I am confident it is what the fans want and I am glad they found a solution.

Deepak(@Deepak_Hockey): Yes, I am very excited about NHL players in the Olympics. I think the best in the world should compete. The Olympics also allows hockey to grow on the world wide stage. With the youth and young stars that the Canucks have, they have quite a few future Olympians on their team which would be exciting to watch them play as always. Though I won’t be cheering for them when they play Canada.

Me(@nucksaid): I’m ecstatic to see the players having an opportunity to return to the Olympics. There’s something truly spectacular when the best on best in the sport represent their countries at the Winter games. There’s a fair number of Canucks that have a chance to represent their respective countries and that’ll make for a very exciting and competitive tournament.

That’s it for this edition of the Canucks Round Table! If you’d like to take part the next time, or down the road as we work our way through this new pandemic normal or if you have a question that you’d like to see included in the NEXT round table, find me on twitter (@nucksaid) or send me an e-mail (nucksaid@gmail.com). Special THANK-YOU to each and every person that took the time to be a part of this Round Table! [And if you’re not already following the  participants on twitter, please find their handles in their above responses!] 

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: 2019/2020 Reflections

More than three months have gone by since the NHL was officially put on pause and who knows if we will even see hockey return again with training camps or if it gets fully put on hold before preparing for next season. Whether or not the season does actually resume and the Stanley Cup eventually awarded, I think it’s still important to take a look back at the season that was before the pause.

(Apologies in advance as this post is long overdue but thanks to the pandemic has been delayed until now.)

Shall we begin? Let’s go. Again, this is going to be long post but there were a lot of noteworthy moments this past season and a few memorable stats to look closer at. For starters, can we talk about how the team scored 5 OR more goals in a game, 21(yes, 21) times this season in 69-games? The previous 2 seasons, that feat was managed just 14 and 11 times in 82-game seasons.

This season was a season loaded with expectation from the start as the franchise itself was going to celebrate their 50th season in the NHL. A big move at the draft in June put a load of expectation on JT Miller before he ever stepped onto the ice this season from the media and the fans. A new captain was going to be named for the first time since the Sedins retired. Many milestones from the previous seasons were going to be celebrated including the dragon slayer Alex Burrows being put into the Ring of Honour and the Sedins’ numbers officially being retired. It was from the start going to be a season full of honouring the past and forging a new future.

OCTOBER: Starting 0-2 out the gate was not exactly an exciting start to watch but it wasn’t the end of the world either.

By the time the 3rd game came around, you could feel a shift with it being their home opener and the official naming of the 14th captain on the anniversary of their first game ever played and of the day Henrik Sedin had been named captain in 2010. There was a palpable buzz even though MOST people had already guessed the captain to be named was going to be Bo Horvat. It may have been the worst kept secret around but it was still a spectacular moment to witness when both Henrik Sedin and Orland Kurtenbach came to centre ice to present Bo with his new jersey with the captain’s “C”. Maybe it was the excitement of a captain being named, maybe it was bringing legends from every Canucks era into the starting lineup, maybe it was wanting to show people they are different team than they have been in previous seasons, maybe it was a combination. Whatever the motivation, an 8-goal explosion including Quinn Hughes first NHL goal had the fans on their feet and one Drew Doughty flabbergasted by such performance from a “Team Like That”.

Home ice this past season became a place where the Canucks have had a little swagger that has been missing in recent years.

Late October saw a road trip that saw some big games in St.Louis, New York, & Detroit including a few big comebacks and a massively impressive game from Markstrom in New York. In Detroit that had the team down 2-0 heading into the third period and the script seemed to have been written already if you were to look at the history from recent years when comebacks of any kind were few and far between. The Canucks came swinging in the 3rd period scoring 5-straight goals that concluded with Bo Horvat’s first career hat trick.

And yes, I’m well aware of the game that followed this one. The one against the Capitals in which the Canucks had built up a 5-1 lead but those pesky Capitals had their own special comeback to earn a shootout victory. (Those Capitals put on a clinic of what it means to play until the final minute of every game, a lot of teams this season were met with the persistence of a Capitals comeback).

And how can we not talk about the 2nd meeting with LA that closed out October and featured a Brock Boeser hat trick? Not bad, for a team like THAT.

NOVEMBER: While the month of November didn’t bring as many wins as most Canucks fans would have liked, it did feature some standout moments and perhaps most important of all, it brought back the SKATE jersey!

The much loved retro SKATE jersey made it’s comeback and let’s just say that those jerseys looked slick on the ice and I would not be against them returning more than just 4 times a season. Seriously…can we bring it back more often as in maybe make it the official third or bring it back full time?!

Markstrom’s play began evolving during the 2018-19 season, but this past season, his game hit another gear an example of which we saw in a game against Nashville when he made 45 saves and the team surged with 5 power-play goals.

One moment in particular that I keep replaying is the Canucks rematch with the Capitals which featured the ever classic Ovechkin one-timer that is all kinds of ridiculous and matched with a Pettersson one-timer to keep the game even at 1. One legend and a player still looking to leave his mark on the game exchanging two highlight reel goals. The game would once again ultimately be decided by a shootout, but this time it was the Canucks who would steal the second point after a 7-round shootout winner from Horvat.

DECEMBER: Aside from SEDIN week in February, December may have been one of my all-time favourite parts of the season.

The dragon slayer came home. It’s seems only fitting that in a season when the Sedins were going to be celebrated, that their best line-mate also be honoured. And how fitting that on the night Burrows joined the Ring of Honour is also the same night that the team earned their 14th victory of the season. It would be remiss of me to not mention this game also marked the debut of Antoine Roussel who opened the scoring with a great goal celebration that honoured #14.

Once again the SKATE returned. A Saturday matinee that featured some very interesting reffing all game long and a bottle bursting JT Miller overtime winner. Again, let’s talk about HOW awesome that skate jersey looks on the ice…because it’s real shame they aren’t worn more often.

Carolina came calling but Jacob Markstrom put on a goal-tending clinic that was clinched in victory when Elias Pettersson scored a dazzling overtime winner a mere 40 seconds into the extra frame…

2019 closed with a 5-game winning streak featuring wins against: Vegas, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, LA and Calgary. There was an energy in the rink in the back and forth game against Vegas when the team earned their first ever home ice victory against a tough Golden Knights team.

JANUARY: A team like that came into the new year with a 5-game winning streak looking to build on it with their first game of the year against the Chicago Blackhawks. Let me tell you, THAT game was WILD. It had a little bit of everything. The Canucks had a 2-1 lead, within minutes the Blackhawks had suddenly taken a 4-2 lead and the building was deathly quiet. Cue a Travis Green timeout followed by two spectacular rookie goals to the tie the game back up that brought the arena back to their feet. Bo & Kane exchanged goals in the 3rd period before Gaudette scored the game winner, it was a roller coaster from start to finish but an incredibly fun game to witness live.

How did they follow up their first game of the new year? By bringing back the SKATE jersey again, this time to celebrate the 90s Canucks era. It was as if Jacob Markstrom was in retro form with Captain Kirk in the house, he made an awesome throwback two-pad stack save. It was everything and perfect. PLEASE, Canucks bring back the SKATE at least as the official thirds? (pretty please!).

And then came that game against Tampa Bay that we’d all like to forget…seriously that second period was like watching a never ending nightmare. Definitely not the way they envisioned their winning streak coming to an end, but it gave them a reminder that they still had some work to do to be on Tampa Bay’s competitive level.

For the first time in many years, the Canucks had not 1 but 3 players taking part in ALL-STAR weekend with ; well technically 4, including Canadian ALL-STAR, Meghan Agosta. From a rink side bet between Markstrom and Bieksa to a shoutout for Hughes from the greatest of all-time to a take everyone by surprise speedy sniper shot from Petey to a stellar 3-on-3 tournament between the Canada/USA women’s teams, it was a pretty special all-star break for the Vancouver contingent.

FEBRUARY: SEDIN WEEK. Some people outside of British Columbia made it known that they thought a week an absurd amount of time to celebrate the careers of two players who never won the cup. To them I say, a week was not too much to celebrate the careers of two players that defined the franchise for 20 years and redefined what it meant to truly have the heart of a Canuck. Yes, they didn’t win the cup and that’s a shame but the mark they’ve left on the franchise is indelible. As Canucks fans, we were truly lucky to have witnessed the entirety of Henrik and Daniel’s careers; how they portrayed themselves both on and off of the ice was truly special. I’ll never forget the atmosphere from both their final game played in Rogers Arena and the one in which their jerseys were raised to the rafters.

The second night of SEDIN WEEK, was full of pomp and circumstance and absolute perfection in the speech given by Kevin Bieksa(is there anything this guy can’t do?). The building was entranced from the moment the ceremony began and then came the game which everyone hoped would be a victory but the 49-save performance from Jacob Markstrom was stupendous. Who doesn’t love a good shutout to follow an epic jersey retirement ceremony? It was beyond perfection from a purely fan standpoint. Were there elements of the game itself that could’ve been improved upon? Sure, but at the end of the day the team led by a monstrous effort from Markstrom earned a victory on a momentous evening for the franchise.

It’s no secret that games against Boston have taken on a bigger significance since 2011 and that the team wanted to avenge their loss to the Bruins from earlier in the season. Did we expect a better team effort in their second match up this season? 100%. Did we expect 9 GOALS? No, but we will 100% watch ALL the replays of that game.

It’s also no secret that the Canucks have had a difficult time finding wins against Montreal in recent years and falling behind 2-0 early in this game certainly was not the most optimistic start. Give the team some credit, they found a way to be resilient and tying the game up twice to force overtime. Tyler Toffoli came up clutch with the overtime winner giving the Canucks their first victory against Montreal in nearly 5 years! The rest of that road trip was not as kind as the Canucks adjusted to a new normal without Markstrom who had been injured against Boston.

MARCH: That first game against Columbus….ugh was great until the last 10 minutes when the game slipped away due to a myriad of errors…I can’t even look back at the one.

Enduring one of their toughest stretches in the season as Markstrom’s absence became louder with game that passed, then came the ever talented Colorado Avalanche. Maybe it was the inspiration of a tough opponent of the throwback to the West Coast Express era, but the team came out with a 6-goal performance and HUGE win in the standings.

Another match up against Columbus that once again did not result in a win but it did result in yet another ridiculous goal from Elias Pettersson, who straight from the penalty box made no mistake putting the puck in the net.

In their final game before all things sports were put on pause, the Canucks met the Islanders for a back and forth affair that required both overtime and a shootout. Thatcher Demko was a monster making 45 saves through overtime and stopped all three shooters in the shootout. JT Miller with a nifty move earned the Canucks their final regular season victory in the 2019-2020 season before the NHL officially put the season on pause.

Feels like a lifetime ago now doesn’t it? Maybe the season resumes, or maybe it doesn’t resume at all. And it wasn’t a perfect season, but it was definitely a season that felt like a breath of fresh air compared to recent years.

My one request, IF I haven’t said it enough, should the season resume, can we PLEASE bring back the skate jersey for playoffs or in the very least as our official thirds next season? Pretty please?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks Round Table (Vol.5)

Welcome to the latest edition of the official Nucksaid: Canucks Round Table! As you know, if you’ve followed my blog for awhile, one of my absolute favourite things is to connect with fellow hockey fans and to share our stories together. This new series will be bringing Canucks fans together from near and far to discuss all things Canucks as the season progresses. There’s a lot to be said about the team, personally, I love to also hear other fans perspectives, it helps me to see the team and the game in new ways.Hopefully you enjoy the ride with all of us! Shall we begin? Without further ado, I present to you the 5th edition of the Canucks Round Table feature on Nucksaid.

Here we GO!

1)SEDIN WEEK arrived! What were you anticipating most, OR what was your favourite moment during the week? (Please note some answered this question BEFORE the retirement ceremony).

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I anticipated tears. I cry like a baby during every jersey retirement and I anticipate twice the tears this time. Hank is my all-time fav Canuck. It’s going to be one hell of a week.

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I am very excited about this week. But the most exciting will be the number retiring ceremony. It will be nice to see some old, beloved Canucks there but I was living in Alberta when Pavel got his retired and I missed it. The main reason I got season tickets this year was for this moment.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I waited to respond as I wanted to see the Sedin week celebrations. The Wednesday game against Chicago was the pinnacle of Sedin week. Seeing all those gathered, hearing stories again about the Sedins, and seeing these jerseys go up to the rafters, I soaked up every moment I could. The ceremony before the game was well done. It did not feel long, it hit so many good notes in the speeches and the humour. The win helped make sure the good feelings from the ceremony hung on after the game.

(@ItsBrieann): I was beyond lucky to go to the jersey retirement game. Going into it, I was excited for all of it! The moments that stood out for me the most was the speeches by Juice and the Sedins. As soon as I heard that Juice was making a speech, I knew it wasn’t going to disappoint and man, was I right! I also loved the Sedins’ speech, they showed how classy they are and as a fan it filled with pride.

(@tams3333): Honestly, I don’t want to take away from the Sedins, but my favourite moment was the cheer for Kesler. Only the Sedins could bring together so many people who are at odds, and through subtle role modeling, point out the positives and promote healing and forgiveness. They are something so special to hockey. So many of the guests at the ceremony had tears in their eyes. It was magic.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I loved how everyone came together to appreciate the Sedins. It’s great to see how universally loved the twins are.

(@CConway96): I am anticipating that buzz Vancouver had in 2010-2011. I think the way the Sedins left the game allowed them to really enjoy the stretch and let the fans have time to not only appreciate the twins but reflect on everything they have done for this team and city. I was lucky enough to watch them in Edmonton and give them a personal send off, the respect shown to them from the Oilers players and fans in attendance was magical.

Me(@nucksaid): SEDIN WEEK was WOW. I have been anticipating the retirement game since the moment it was announced and from the ceremony to the game itself, it exceeded all of my expectations. It had all the feels. From reuniting with ALL their former teammates to the twins choosing Chicago as their opponent, to the jerseys going up to the rafters to the BEYOND stellar performance by Markstrom, it was everything I could have wanted. And can we talk one more moment about how perfect that speech by Bieksa was? It had comedy, it had heart and he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he started speaking. He’s gold and should definitely do more speaking things…(hockey night in Canada, you know what to do!).

2)With Alex Burrows being added to the ring of honour, and the Sedins having their jerseys retired this season, which other former Canuck(s) would you like to see the team honour and how?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Kevin Bieksa(@kbieksa3)- player/coach on the back end, mic’d and do commentary throughout the game. It could happen…right?

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I truly believe that Bobby Lou should be included in the Ring of Honour. If McLean is up there, so should he. He is THE best goalie in the history of our franchise. I think he deserves it. If not for Torts, he would have stayed here. Kesler should also get some consideration.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The two most kicked around names are Kesler and Bertuzzi. I could see both go into the Ring of Honour. Luongo should be celebrated but there is no rush and if he ends up in the Hall of Fame, then he should have his jersey retired. From the old days, Richard Brodeur and Tiger Williams would be interesting people for the Ring of Honour.

(@ItsBrieann): I would love to see Juice and Kes honoured in some way. After the responses they got on Sedin night, I think they deserve being honoured. Kes was huge for us during the 2011 Cup run and pretty much got us into the third round of the playoffs, and Juice deserves it because he got us into the Stanley Cup Final. You can see how much these two love the team and I think the should honour them back.

(@tams3333): Kesler. He has asked for forgiveness. He sacrificed his body and health to win for us. His heart is here, you can tell.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Hmm, I’m not sure! I’d say Bure BUT he might already have his jersey hanging from the rafters :)!

(@CConway96): I have to go with one of my favourite Canucks of all time, Bieksa. I loved the way he showed up every game with an in your face attitude. He was the type of player you could connect with. I think his competitiveness helped push the team over the top and I know his sense of humour was a big part of the glue that held the team together. I believe he deserves to be up there with Burr among the guys that gave everything they had for this team on and off of the ice.

Me(@nucksaid): Luongo, Bieksa, Kesler. Luongo was THE best goalie in franchise history and that in itself deserves recognition and IF he goes to the Hall of Fame, even more so he deserves to be acknowledged. Not only did Bieksa score the goal that sent the franchise to their third Stanley Cup Final, he was a leader on and off of the ice, specifically his work to help shine a light on the importance of mental health awareness. Beyond Ryan Kesler going full on beast mode in the 2011 playoffs, he gave his heart and soul to the team and city when he played here, every single game. Did I hate the way he left? More than you know, it made me angry and broke my heart all at once. It took me a long time to be able to let it go, but I did. Letting go, allowed me to remember everything he did and gave to the team. I didn’t forget what he or how left and I’m not defending it, I’m simply saying that enough time has passed for me to move past it. And to be honest, the podcast that Juice & Kes do together has been a fantastic outlet for them to share their stories and memories and give the fans an inside look at what its really like to be a part of the every day NHL grind.

3)This season has been refreshing to see the team be competitive nearly every night, what has been the biggest surprise to you?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I am surprised at how surprised we are every year. A few years ago Boeser was going to be lucky to make the team during pre-season and then went on to be MVP at the all-star game. The following pre-season, Pettersson was going to be a second line winger as best in his early years, until he was instantly the number one centre. Quinn Hughes was going to need to “earn minutes” and not expect PP time, until he was suddenly one of the most productive players on the roster. Can we stop that lowered expectations that are REALLY low each pre-season?

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): There has been a few pleasant surprises this year. From Gaudette’s emergence to Jake breaking out and Quinn’s rookie season, also Tanev staying healthy and a couple more. However the biggest surprise for me is JT Miller. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the trade the day it was made because I knew he would be impactful. But darn, I never saw this coming. coming. He is exactly what we needed and is proving a lot of doubters wrong. I love this trade now. He has everything possible int he tool bag and he brings leadership and playoff experience. Well done, JB!

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The biggest surprises for me has been the offender of Miller, the assists and defending I’ve seen from Boeser, the impact of Hughes, and the lack of injuries. While we’ve had some recently again, they haven’t been the same as past years and the team has filled in well when the injuries have happened so far. Markstrom continuing to provide great goal-tending is a surprise and a huge impact on the standings. I was hoping for Demko to get more starts but the way Markstrom has stolen games like the Chicago one, impacts the perception of Demko. He still has learning to do and this year is the big year for Markstrom.

(@ItsBrieann): The play of Jacob Markstrom. I saw glimpses of it last year, but this year, he has proved to me that he is a legit goalie in this league. He’s kept us in games or has won games outright for us. With everything that he’s had to deal with this season, it’s amazing to see how dialed in he is. I hope he can keep up this play for us down the stretch run.

(@tams3333): I thought that Hughes would be weaker defensively than he has been. I thought he would need a couple of years of development after watching him at world juniors.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Markstrom. I knew he was a good goalie, but he has been incredibly solid and in my opinion, the MVP of this season. All of this while going through so much personal pain? Vezina AND Masterton material.

(@CConway96): I thought making the playoffs was a possibility this year but I did not anticipate the team making this big of a jump. Steady goal-tending has played a big role but I tend to lean towards JT Miller as the biggest difference this year. The way that Miller approaches the game is rubbing off on everyone. I am a strong believer that culture is just as important as having a lot of talent. The Canucks have the talent to be good but that confidence where you come in expecting to win has been the difference maker.

Me(@nucksaid): JT Miller. As excited as I was for him to join the team when the trade was announced, he has surpassed what I hoped he would bring to the team. He’s one of the hardest working Canucks every single time he’s on the ice. He’s embraced being a contributor and a leader and fully embodied what it means to be a Canuck both on off of the ice. Bonus surprise, the emergence of Jake Virtanen. He’s becoming the player I always envisioned since he was drafted in 2014.

4)Quinn Hughes, what an incredible season we’re witnessing from the rookie. We knew he was a special player but did you ever suspect that he could be as consistent as he’s shown this season?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): 100%. You only need to see 2-3 shifts of this kid and then you realize what you’ve got. And I suspect he will only get better.

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I knew we had something special with Huggy and he was like a Petey on the back end. But he was my runner up for the last question. JT barely beat him out. But yeah he is amazing, I did not think that he was gonna be battling for the Rookie scoring lead. I also thought he would be more of a liability in our zone, but the kid has proven me wrong. This is just his first year. I can’t imagine how good he will be in the next couple of years!!

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I did not expect him to get the opportunities he’s gotten. I did expect a Calder challenging year but I did not realize it would take this much to qualify for that. His numbers right now are a really good season, He’s still got more than 20 games to rack up points. Outside the counting stats, watching him skate, control the puck and manage the game still amazes me. He gets pressured and moves in a different way, suddenly creating space. His instincts with the puck and on defense is incredible. He skates back and takes the puck away from Patrick Kane. I expected to see some good offense from Hughes. I thought he’d get beat on some plays defensivelt and be overly criticized as he learns the game. Instead he’s battling Edler for the number one D job in his first year. Hughes is only going to get better.

(@ItsBrieann): Oh our rookies! I’ve been proven wrong 3 years in a row! No, I didn’t expect Hughes to be having the season that he’s been having. To be perfectly honest, I thought it would have been Jack Hughes leading the scoring race. Quinn has been a treat to watch this season and every game, I’m in awe of the fact that he’s on our team. He’s a special player and he’s only going to better, which is insane to think about.

(@tams3333): As mentioned above, I really thought he’d be good but I thought he’d be a work in progress, his patience is on another level. So smart.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Honestly, I forget that he’s a rookie sometimes! His transition to the show was so natural. Super blessed to have this guy on the team.

(@CConway96): Quinn Hughes in unbelievable. His maturity at such a young age seems to play a big role in his success and consistency. What is hard to believe is that he will only get better and could go down as the best d man in franchise history.

Me(@nucksaid): QUINN HUGGY BEAR HUGHES! I knew he was going to be a special player BUT I never envisioned his transition to the NHL being as seamless as he has made it look. He’s making plays and creating space on the ice in ways I’ve not seen other defensive players make over the years and he does so with absolute confidence. To think that THIS is just the beginning of his career is just mind boggling that as he continues to grow, he will only get even better.

5)With the post season as a very real possibility, what would you like to see the team do down the stretch drive to the playoffs? (**some answered this before the Schaller trade). 

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Nothing. Rest. Plan. Bond. Make a run. Too early to go all in, but too deep in to take their foot off the pedal.

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): Honestly, I don’t really want them to do much. If we can shed some salary for next season that would be the best thing they can do. Unless we get someone that is very cheap. No one thought we would even make the playoffs, so everything after that is a bonus. I would take Simmonds only if we gave up VERY little and have him on the 4th line over Schaller. Simmonds, Beagle and Motte! Or maybe a cheap rental D-man just for this season. Other than that, I would just go with what we got. Ferland and Leivo are pretty much deadline acquisitions.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I have enjoyed the winning and the success the team has had. I don’t see any potential trades as helpful or a good idea at this point. Team growth is happening and this is good enough this year. This is a growth year for the Canucks young stars. The improvement from last year to this year was a bigger jump than I expected. I don’t see any of the trade pieces being what Vancouver needs and I’d rather see some prospects like Lind, Jaske and others get some opportunities if someone is needed. Defensively Rafferty, Juolevi and even Rathbone could play to see the NHL speed. None  of these would help this year but they would continue the development. That is the real goal this year still.

(@ItsBrieann): I think the team needs to stay as healthy as they can. We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had that many injuries this season, and yes I know right now we have key guys out. I think as soon as they get healthy, this team will get back to their winning ways.

(@tams3333): Personally, I don’t want them to be buyers. I want long term deep depth and cheap options if people have to go. Maintaining a great team long term IS possible.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Stay healthy. Give it 100% every night. Do things to help out the goalie :).

(@CConway96): I would like to see the Canucks clinch a playoff spot as soon as possible. I say this because I think they need to take a look at their depth without risking the result of a game. Currently you see guys like Schaller and Eriksson in the line up because Green knows exactly what they will bring. I think a playoff run relies on depth and the depth hasn’t had much experience in games this year. We all know injuries happen and getting some games in for players like Bailey, Big Mac etc. would be helpful.

Me(@nucksaid): If I’m being honest, I don’t want to see a lot of change roster wise down the stretch drive. I want to see THIS group that has come together this season, our #TeamLikeThat get a real chance to show us what they can do. I want to stay healthy and continue to become a cohesive group, because once they get to the post-season, ANYTHING can happen.

6)Who would you like to see the Canucks face off against in the opening round of the playoffs?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Anyone. So much parity in the league that you just never know who is coming in hot or cold. Remember in 2012 when we “luckily” got LA and then they kicked our a** and won it all?

Bure9610(@Nav87247842): My first choice would be Arizona. But if they don’t make it, I’d like to play one of the Alberta teams. Mostly Edmonton.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The Canucks facing any of Arizona, Calgary or Edmonton would be okay for me. I’d like to see Calgary and Edmonton play each other so that leaves Arizona and potential wild card teams. I do not want to face Vegas. That said the key in the playoffs is not team skill or defensive systems but the ability for the goalie to steal games. The rest of the team just has to be good enough. I could see if Markstrom is on his game, the Canucks can handle any of the first round teams.

(@ItsBrieann): I have no idea! No Calgary or Edmonton though.

(@tams3333): San Jose or LA would be nice but since we can’t have that then I would choose Edmonton but ideally Edmonton and Calgary will beat the snot out of each other in the first round and be tired in the second.

Gabriella Smith (@wildestdreams_3): Honestly, not sure! I think I’ll just be excited for postseason action (and hopefully my first playoff game EVER!).

(@CConway96): I’m going to be selfish here, I hope they play Edmonton since I live near there and could attend a couple of playoff games!

Me(@nucksaid): As much fun as an Alberta opponent would be, don’t we all want to see a full on battle of Alberta come April? For the Canucks, I don’t really care WHO they play in the first round, once they’re in, anything can happen and I just want to see them be a part of it again, its been far too long since we’ve had meaningful playoff hockey in Vancouver.

That’s it for this edition of the Canucks Round Table! If you’d like to take part next time or down the road as we work our way through the stretch drive towards the playoffs, OR if you have a question that you’d like included in the NEXT round table; find me on twitter(@nucksaid) or send me an e-mail(nucksaid@gmail.com). Special THANK-YOU to each and every person that took the time to be a part of this Round Table! [And if you’re not already following this group on twitter, please find their twitter handles above!]

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2019 NHL Draft Rewind

The 2019 NHL Draft has come and gone, and boy was it memorable! Can you believe it’s already come and gone?! I’m still re-living the magic of it all.

I’m not sure what I expected from the NHL Draft, but to say it was a whirlwind is putting it lightly. This is the first year I’ve had to privilege of attending the draft in person as the Canucks were hosts to the event. Prior to this year, I’ve only ever watched it unfold on TV or following along on social media, and I’ve got to say that seeing it all happen LIVE was something incredible to witness.

I remember the moment the NHL announced that the Canucks would be the host for the 2019 NHL Draft, and immediately I knew I had to attend. In fact, I texted my friend, Brieann and my sister and told them in uncertain terms that WE were going. Not that we should think about it, but that we HAD to go. It was non-negotiable. Their reactions were to say that absolutely we WILL go! And so this post will be purely seen from the fan perspective behind the scenes of the magic that was the NHL Draft.

Attending the draft, was a plan in the back of my mind for the entirety of the 2018-19 NHL season as we waited to hear the details of the draft and the availability of tickets. It felt like an eternity before any ticket information was available and once released, we made sure to secure our seats.

When I told people I wanted to go the Draft (& then that I was going), they told me it would be all kinds of boring. The Draft has always fascinated me and to have the opportunity to see it up close was something I had to do.

 

Hello Rogers Arena, the NHL Draft looks good on you.

DAY 1: Round ONE.

Walking into the arena and seeing the tables and stage set up. you could feel the electricity of what was about to happen. There was a buzz in the air. We found our seats and I was ready to take all the notes as we waited to witness history.

Shall we start with the part when John Shorthouse came out and announced that: “Hello folks, we have a trade to announce…” which brought immediate intrigue from the crowd for a brief moment before we all realized he was of course kidding. And then he gave us one of the worst kept secrets: ALEX BURROWS will be inducted into the Ring of Honour during the Canucks upcoming season. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate, especially in a season that will feature the Canucks retiring the Sedins’ jerseys.

And then came Gary Bettman and the overwhelming boos. It’s no secret that many fans, and a legion of Vancouver fans have a great dislike of Gary Bettman and they let it be known very LOUDLY, to the point of which we couldn’t hear a word he said during his introduction or when he walked away telling us that he’d be right back. Legit, because we couldn’t hear what he said due to the thunderous boos, we weren’t sure if he was even coming back to the mic or not. And then, it happened, he returned as did the boos, UNTIL we all realized that with him came the Sedins. Full credit to Bettman for taking all the boos in stride, and going with it. In fact, until I saw this video from the Canucks, it was impossible to know any part of what Bettman had actually said because of how loud it was from the booing and then the cheering for the Sedins:

SEDIN WEEK IS HAPPENING. Consider me officially booked for FEBRUARY! All the feels will be happening when #22 & #33 go up to the rafters. The Sedins may have hung up their skates, but they’ve left a permanent mark on the franchise and the fan base.

Onto the pomp and circumstance that is the opening round of the NHL Draft. Some will probably tell you that this was a very boring first round as there was very little drama with only one trade that merely involved a swap of picks. BUT, more about that later, let’s get straight to the beginning from walking into the arena and seeing the official Draft floor set to be the stage for many prospects have their dream become a reality.

It’s quite something to see each team go up as a group, call out the name of the player they’re drafting and to see the immediate of reaction of joy and relief come over that player and their family as everything they’ve worked for has become a reality. To no one’s surprise, it was Jack Hughes drafted first overall, followed by Kaapo Kaako.

And then came the Canucks with their selection. Not going to lie, I was anxious not about who they were going to select but because ALL day leading up to the draft they had been rumoured to be trading their pick both up/down. Instead of a Canucks trade, we watched the first 9 selections be made and then Stan Smyl announced the 10th overall pick: Vasily Podzolkin. There was a mix of uncertainty and excitement that met the selection, mostly because most people hadn’t had him on their list. I didn’t think he’d still be there at 10th but when you hear many commentators saying that the Canucks got a steal with this pick,  you know it’s one to be excited about.

A few other highlights from the first round included: Martin Brodeur announcing New Jersey’s pick and Shea Weber announcing Montreal’s pick. Then there was the absolute surprise and perfect reaction from Moritz Seider when Detroit announced him as their pick. Oh and can we mention how Wayne Gretzky was on hand with the Oilers when they announced their pick but that fact went unannounced. Each time Bettman spoke, he was met with loud “boos” with the exception of when he made the ONE trade announcement of the evening between Arizona and Philadelphia: “Oh, now you like me.” (Credit to Bettman for handling the heavy dislike with humour).

It’s always fun at events like these to connect with fellow Canucks fans and meet a few new ones:

DAY 2: ALL THE THINGS.

If people were unhappy with a quiet trade front on Day 1, they weren’t disappointed on a very active Day 2 with many trades including 3 pretty significant ones!

Changes from Day 1 is that instead of Gary Bettman making the announcements, it was Bill Daly(*Deputy Commissioner).

My sister Abi joined us for Day 2:

For those of us in the building and in our seats early before the draft began again, we were witness to all the madness that was buzzing on the draft floor with most GMs in constant rotation from table to table. Not going to lie, I felt a little on edge with nerves watching the action between all the tables on the draft floor. In fact before rounds 2-7 began, we got to our seats early and looked to the left of our seats to see Mike Babcock on what looked to be a pretty intense phone call. Moments later, we saw Bob McKenzie and his fellow reporters break on twitter that the Leafs had traded Marleau.

Around the same time that the Marleau trade broke, so did the news about PK Subban being moved. A lot of us at the draft were very surprised as he had seemed like a great fit in Nashville.

And of course, then there was the home town team trade: JT Miller from Tampa Bay. I know the Canucks took a lot of heat for this trade due to giving up a first round pick in the deal BUT I’m actually pretty stoked to see Miller join the team and give stability to either a line with Boeser/Petey or play on Bo’s wing. Time will tell how this deal works out, but I’m optimistic about seeing it play out.

All three trades while not officially announced until the Draft was once more underway, had broken on social media and spread very quickly. Aside from these three player trades, the rest of the trades were picks being swapped, but I lost track of how many trades made as I got caught up in the moment of the draft.

In fact, I didn’t even realize there were cameras scanning the crowd as I was so focused on the event itself and making sure that I didn’t miss anything important as I took ALL the notes: yes, I got caught taking all the notes. You know you love hockey when…

The Canucks went on to make 8(yes, EIGHT) selections on DAY 2: Nils Hoglander(#40), Ethan Keppen(#122), Carson Focht(#133), Artus Silovs(#156), Karel Plasek(#175), Jack Malone(#180), Aide Mcdonough(#195) and Arvid Costmas(#215).

A notable moment on Day 2 was one that happened in the 6th round. Nashville ran out the clock and used their FULL timeout before making their selection. It drew the ire of the crowd but hey, they got their player!

AND not to be forgotten, we got to meet Quinn Hughes!

Hughes was a class act. The line up was INSANE and yet he took a moment with EVERY single fan in that line.

Some may say it was a boring first day and a maybe a trade they wish the Canucks hadn’t paid the price on, BUT for me it was a weekend I’ll always remember. It was a weekend where I got to witness history, spend time with great company, make new friends, get caught taking hockey too seriously and had the time of my life!

Thank-you to Brieann and Abi for coming along with me and enduring all my note-taking. Thank-you, Canucks for hosting, I’ll never forget the magic that was the Draft weekend!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Fan Confessional

When people find out that I’m a hockey fan, and a Vancouver Canucks fan in particular it’s met with a myriad of responses. One of the most common is: “Really, you like hockey? And you root for the Canucks? Are you sure you are a hockey fan, you know they’ve never won the Stanley Cup, right? Sure, they had that great run in 2011, but they came up short, why keep supporting them? If you do, that must mean you’re on team tank, right?”

So, let me settle this once and for all. Am I aware of who I’m rooting for? Yes. Do I know that they’ve never won the cup before? Yes. And no, I don’t need you to tell me the stats of my team or attempt to talk me out of rooting for them. Yes. that 2011 run was absolute magic and I really thought that would be their year, when it wasn’t it broke my heart completely but it didn’t end my being a fan of the team. And whether or not they are in the playoff hunt now or in April, I will never EVER be on team tank, rooting against my team goes against the grain for me. That said, everyone defines for themselves what being a fan means, and having a different perspective doesn’t make either of us wrong.

Falling in love with the game was slow and sudden all at once. Before you knew it, I was learning not just the current stats and roster players but learning all I could about the team’s history and the game itself. It was seeing the return of Trevor Linden, the rise of the West Coast Express followed by the emergence of the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Bieksa and the impeccable play of Roberto Luongo that completely captured my heart. From Naslund and Bertuzzi dominating to the Sedins making seamless plays that took the league by storm, there was no looking back.

I know that even so, many will point out that the Canucks have never won a cup and maybe even throw a few jabs at some former players. Trust me, I’ve heard all the insults/jabs/below the belt comments about my team, it’s nothing new. And no, while I haven’t been lucky enough to see my team hoist the Stanley Cup, just yet, I’ve still been pretty lucky to witness some incredible hockey moments and players over the years.

The West Coast Express of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison helped launch this team into a competitive upswing that inspired players and fans. Every time they were on the ice, you could anticipate an exciting rush or play was upcoming, it was electric.

Alex Burrows, known to most around the league as a pest and agitator but in Vancouver, we defined him as the heart and soul of our team. His determination and tenacity was something truly special. He went from a fourth liner to his bond with Luc Bourdon to him honouring his friend with every goal he scored to eventually becoming an “honourary” triplet when playing on the top line with Henrik and Daniel. Never drafted, he defined what heart meant to this city with his knack for timely goals and will forever be our dragon slayer.

Kevin Bieksa may not get as much recognition because he never won the big NHL awards but he was a tenured blue liner for this team. He was loyal and fiercely competitive and his interviews were ALWAYS gold. Perhaps his biggest triumph is his fight for the importance of mental health awareness in honour of Rick Rypien and those who continue to battle their issues every day. Some things are bigger than hockey.

Ryan Kesler. Yes, these days he gets some of the loudest boos when hes in town but there was a time when he too was a part of the heart and soul on this team. He thrived on helping the team with some big goals while being a pest to his opponents and we all know he loved a good chirp. He may be seen as the enemy by many these days but there’s no denying that he did A LOT for this team while he was here.

Roberto Luongo. A player who often took the heat when it wasn’t always fair or deserved. He didn’t need people to tell him it was his fault on an off-game or series, he almost always took the blame even if it wasn’t always true. His on ice compete level is almost as impressive as his work off the ice in the community. He’s a fierce competitor that lead this team to the playoffs in 6 of his 8 seasons here, including that incredible 2011 run. Let’s not forget that he’s still the leader in most wins in Canucks history. His time here may have ended on a bit of a sour note, but regardless of what some will argue, he’s one of THE best goalies to have ever played for the Canucks

The Sedins, where do I even begin?! The Sedins gave EVERYTHING they had to this city for 18+ years. Sure their first couple of years were tough but they took it all in stride and will go down as two of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Canucks. To those on the outside, you never really got to fully appreciate what we saw on a daily basis, two brothers redefining hockey plays left and right. The way they could read each other on the ice was something truly amazing to witness. Back to back scoring titles, and each surpassing 1000 NHL points, along with their incredible community work, the Sedins left behind a legacy that will always be appreciated. A future call from the Hockey Hall of Fame seems to be not too far down the line for these two Swedish dynamos.

And now, we are getting a glimpse at the future with a new young core is emerging. Bo Horvat, as the (unofficial) team captain seems to have picked up where the Sedins left off with being a leader on and off of the ice. He spent the last four seasons being mentored by the Sedins and it’s showing in his play, his dealing with the media daily, his interactions with the fans and his work within the community. And if you somehow haven’t yet seen the Brock and Petey show on display this season, let me enlighten you. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson have reignited a fire in Canucks fans this season with their dynamic play and Sedin-like vision on the ice when playing together. And can we talk about the pure magic that is Elias Pettersson’s rookie season?!

Yes, it’s true that this season hasn’t been perfect BUT that in no way means that I’ll stop supporting them this season or beyond. They’ve got my heart 24/7/365. And I know that may make me seem a little crazy to some or naive but I assure you it doesn’t. I’m more than aware of the current state of my team and their stats, all it means is that we may have a different perspective on them and the game itself.

I can still remember what it was like to be in the arena for the first time, from anthems to puck drop to the final buzzer, I remember it all; it was magic. I can honestly say, that I still feel that same magic every time I’m at the rink.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

For the Love of the Game. (the female perspective) Vol.2

In May, I had the idea to bring other female hockey fans together to share our experiences, and shed light on the game that brings us all together despite rooting for different teams and players. I put out a tweet, asking if any other female hockey fans would be interested in sharing their stories, sharing their voices, and be a part of opening up the conversation. The response was overwhelming and demanded a second volume.

Volume 1 was popular, and there were more who have stories to share.

Here we are deep into 2018 and it still boggles my mind that when it comes to loving hockey(or any sport really), girls and women are told that either we cannot love the game OR we are dictated to on how to properly love the game. If we love it too much or too loudly, we are told that we are obsessed and to quiet down or if we don’t have every single stat memorized we are deemed clueless. Or then there’s the take that tells us that we only love the game for superficial reasons, because we must be attracted to the players or just love the uniforms. Or heaven forbid when we wear our favourite player’s jersey to be told that we either must not know whose jersey we are wearing OR that we are only wearing it because we are attracted to that player. And when those tactics don’t work to dissuade us from the game, we are put against one another.

If we were male, no one would raise an eyebrow or give us constant unwanted commentary every single time that we take in the game.

It’s 2018, and we aren’t going away, there are simply more and more of us discovering our voice declaring our place in the hockey world. We’re here to stay.

Special thank-you to each and every one of you who once again took the time to be part of this piece! Anyone who once again missed out or didn’t have time to get their response in and would like to take part in a similar post down the road, let me know and we can set it up! And to those of you stumbling upon this post, please read all of the experiences below. Maybe you’ll relate to the experiences or maybe you’ll see part of your story in theirs or maybe you’ll see hockey in a whole new perspective through someone else’s experience.

Represented below are some incredible women from across the world, many who root for different teams across the league but all united for our love of the game. (And if you’re not following these incredible hockey fans yet, you can remedy that by reading and sharing this post and following all of them on twitter!)

Here are some more of our stories:

Marion (@mazza_shad): “I have always loved sports – just like my dad! I grew up in England watching TV with him and my 2 sisters; football, rugby, the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth games, anything that was on, and we were all into playing and going to the games. Football was the main draw (soccer, you heathens, lol). Tottenham was and is my team!

BUT then I married a Canadian hockey nut and moved to Vancouver! Needless to say, he barely misses a game and pretty soon I was hooked too! I loved that speed and the passion of hockey and the atmosphere in the arena, I’m louder than him – I yell and scream encouragement and jump up and down when we score!

My husband has never questioned my love for the sport or any that I’m watching – for that I’m lucky – but wow other men can be so dismissive: “I’m just a girl” or “I’m English and can’t possibly understand hockey!” OR “ha ha, you just like his looks”. Well, yeah I can appreciate a hunky guy as much as the guys appreciate Genie Bouchard – I have as much appreciation for skill as any of you, as do the rest of us female fans. Yes, I have my favourite players – lots of Canucks of course but many in other teams who are a wonderful joy to watch. (Who doesn’t hold their breath when McDavid’s rushing the goal?!). So, I laugh them off now and say: “yep, I’m a hockey nut” – love it, it is my favourite game.

Twitter’s fun when a game is on, and enjoy the female commentary, often way more insightful than the armchair GMs!

This summer, I was glued to my TV watching the World Cup, cheering for England but watching most of the games, and appreciating the talent of all the great athletes!”

Michele G. (@MicheleMyBell71): “My story – what can I say? I used to watch hockey when I was in college back around 1990-1992 but wasn’t a huge fan. I enjoyed it a lot and cheered on the Detroit Red Wings with a friend of mine regularly at our favourite sports bar. I live in Iowa where hockey isn’t really huge, YET. There is a local team in Des Moines called the Buccaneers and now the Iowa Wild(which is an AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild located in Des Moines). My road back to watching hockey happened last year. I was dealing with significant depression and anxiety that fall. I usually have some Seasonal Affective Disorder in the fall, but it was really bad this time. One of my favourite musicians, Gord Downie died that fall and I was touched by his music with The Tragically Hip. While listening to several of the HIP’s hockey songs, I thought why not watch hockey again? Maybe it will help me get out of the funk I was in. You know what? IT WORKED! I caught a Bruins game on TV and decided to learn more about the team. I fell in love with the unity of these men and their coach almost instantly. I never missed a single game and found myself on twitter chatting with new friends about the Bruins almost daily. My depression started to lift and I felt a renewed sense of well-being even with the “hockey anxiety” that I had during the playoffs!

I never missed a single game and found myself on twitter chatting with new friends about the Bruins almost daily. My depression started to lift and I felt a renewed sense of wellbeing even with the “hockey anxiety” I had during the playoffs! But that’s a good kind of anxiety to have. I got to attend my first NHL game in Minnesota (Bruins-vs-Wild). I walked into the arena with my Bruins-Zdeno Chara jersey on and was so proud to be there. It was a dream come true for me! I am a Boston fan in the Midwest. We are a rare breed, but we do exist. I’ve learned so much over the past year about the game and how it has changed a lot since I first watched it in the 90s. I’m so glad to be back cheering for a team again and being part of something amazing. My cubicle at work is covered in posters of my favorite players. I’ve even helped my husband develop a love for Hockey now. I truly love this sport and its passion.

Allie Parks (@charliedebrusk): “My brother and I are 9 years apart, he being the older sibling. We were never really close until he got into college and I got into high school. He became my best friend and I have always looked up to him. He was always into sports, whereas I really did not have a care for them. One night, a few years back, we were hanging out and he wanted to watch a Boston Bruins game against the Oilers. Instead of complaining or leaving, I wanted to bond with him over this and seem like a cool sister, so I stayed, watched, and fell in love. I was never an active person, quitting most sports I tried to play and I never watched. Hockey was different. I knew in my heart that it was my sport. I fell in love with the game, the fights, the speed, the skill, and the I always loved Boston Bruins so they were automatically my team. Its now how my bother and I bond. We always watch hockey games together, always texting back and forth about hockey, and it’s our brother and sister thing. I took my love to twitter and I made so many other hockey friends on this app. Although I have been called a puck bunny, I expected it and ignore it. I know the game, the players. I know hockey and I express the love.”

Karen (@bluinsfan2017): “I was 10 years old when we first started following hockey: my parents had season tickets for the St.Louis Blues for 3 seasons, back when they still played at the Arena (ie: the Old Barn, formerly the Checkerdome). Bernie Ferderko, Brian Sutter, Greg Millen were a few of the names on the team at the time, an any Blues fan worth their salt understand and know those first two names to be legends. I’ll never forget the iconic voice of the late, great Dan Kelly making the call (and later Ken Wilson). I learned early that there was nothing more evil than the Chicago Blackhawks (I still feel this way 30 years later!). Your first hockey game is nothing you ever forget: I remember walking down the corridor behind my mom toward our seats and ducking back a moment once I saw how big it actually was, as it was so much smaller on TV. Mom was annoyed with me before I explained the aforementioned sentiment. I was also scared of heights, so looking up toward the rafters kind of frightened me. And cold, let me tell you! Back then, we played teams in our division 500x times a year, so there was plenty of Blackhawks/Red Wings rivalry action (including the very famous Cujo/Cheveldae fight that can still be found on youtube). Those were games you always looked forward to.

My first favourite player was Wayne Gretzky. A story to go along with that: I was really sick and my mom and sister went to the library. She came back with a surprise for me: a children’s book on 99! I was so excited! My sister got into the bed and read it to me, and after she was done, I distinctly remember saying: “Read it again, Sis!”.

The bedroom wall was decorated with Blues stuff, from cutouts of team calendars with little flags I made stapled to straws. The absolute best Christmas gift I received was my first Blues jersey of my crush at the time, (to be fair, I was 14 and what teenager doesn’t have crushes?). It still hangs in my closet as you never forget your first love right? I also made a scrapbook in which I also still have despite having survived a flood, and man I’ll tell you it really hits my heart with memories. Some of my other favourite moments was my dad, younger brother, and I would watch the games –that was our ‘family time’, as we really didn’t have many of them. Let me tell you, were were all loud enough that my stepmom would go upstairs to watch her TV! The three of us were NOT shy about how we felt about some of the action going on and to this day, not a single one of us has changed –still swear like sailors at times if they do something stupid (most certainly not sorry about that either).

I learned all the little but important things any sports fan must come to terms with, one of which is that’s your favourites that will leave, either by trade, FA, or retirement. They’re not going to be there forever, and only the greatest of the greats become legends. It was hard but necessary. I was in-and-out of hockey for over a decade but I usually kept tabs here and there on my team, and I’ll always love guys like Chris Pronger, Cujo, etc. I remember being wholly embarrassed by 99 being a Blue despite loving him (mostly because it came off like a bad publicity stunt gone awry). And David Backes, which is how I came back for real this time.

To me, it was never really about being a girl who loved hockey, I just did, it’s a part of who I was and am today. I do not think that I feel any differently, but times have drastically changed from my 10 year old self. And while I don’t experience it a lot, I do see other ladies go through it and it’s absolutely ridiculous. I personally could care less what others think about me loving my hockey and I’ll not change for anyone. It’s a shame that people feel the need to judge females by their love of a game and accuse them of certain things when some of the posts I see made by males are far worse and makes you wonder to their sanity. Double standard much?

Keep loving your hockey, girls! And keep screaming so much it makes you hoarse for 3 days (or longer –heh one of my favourite consequences of going to a game)!”

Ashley March (@marchhockey): ” I could actually split the whole things into two topics. The first being the usual that is women get treated like dirt by male fans, males that we interact with on social media, males who we confer with about hockey in general. And then there’s the other side, how I was treated by players from junior right up to senior pro from around the world, to management from certain teams and more.

There’s also the side of the males in the business (and players) who actually did want to help me to succeed, that would help me get opportunities and things like that. I think it’s important to touch on that too because not every sporting man is a douchebag. I’ve met a few former pro players who I’ve become good friends with. And that’s actually still weird to me, but that’s a whole other topic.

But yeah, I stopped writing literally because of all the hate I would get just for being a woman in hockey! I’m sure you know how exhausting it can get to defend yourself all the time. With health issues I’ve had going on, I just said screw it, this isn’t worth it right now. Hopefully, I’ll come back some day.”

Me (@nucksaid): “Truthfully I’ve lost track of how many times or encounters I’ve experienced that have attempted to take my love of the game away or those who think I have to prove my knowledge of the game. These moments happen in everyday conversation when hockey comes up, on social media, and of course in the arena at most games I’ve attended. Someone finds out I love the game, and before I can explain why or say one word about the game, I’m forced to having the game “man-splained” or forced into proving my knowledge with the google test. Sounds a bit ridiculous right?

As incredible a tool as social media can be to connect with other fans, it can also be a dark place where some use their keyboards or their phones to attack those who have a differing opinion or who they deem not worthy to love the same game or for no reason whatsoever. There are names and words that have been tweeted towards me and fellow female fans that I cannot and will not repeat here. At one point it got so bad, I had to step away from twitter for awhile. And while those dark moments exist, there’s also lighter moments that take me by surprise such as the time I was at a fan event and someone who I had a beyond terrible twitter/hockey experience with, sought me out and APOLOGIZED. It was not something I ever expected to happen but it was a moment that showed me that change CAN happen and that the words we use to express ourselves and the words we use towards others DO MATTER.

I accepted long ago that I may have a different perspective on the game and the team and that unfortunately has made me a target at times and being accused of being either naive or being incompetent about hockey and the Canucks. Guess what? Choosing a different perspective does not mean I’m clueless about my team’s standings or their situation, it simply means that while I understand their reality, I also choose to find the silver lining and anticipation of the future. Different perspectives is not a bad thing, often I will learn a lot from how others view the game.

What I don’t accept is that by wearing my favourite player’s jersey to a game that means I should be attacked both personally for being a “female” hockey fan who must not even know who that player is AND having that player’s name said in the female form (IE: Henrietta instead of Henrik & Daniella instead of Daniel). Rest assured, I’m more than aware of the jersey I’m wearing and their career stats. By wearing a jersey to the game, the only statement I’m making is that I’m there to support my team and watch the game, I’m not there to debate why you think I’m there or to have the entire game explained to me in condescending tones. I love talking hockey with anyone and everyone but it doesn’t have to be done in a way that belittles, demeans or we can all love the game.”

Once again, I urge you all, if any of these experiences resonated with you or if you know someone who has felt the same, share the post and let’s all make it our aim so that in 2018 and beyond, the sentiment of “hockey is for everyone”, actually becomes 100% true. We are all hockey fans.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

For the Love of the Game. (the female perspective) Vol.1

This post is dedicated to every single female hockey fan out there.

Here we are in 2018 and it still boggles my mind that when it comes to loving hockey(or any sport really), girls and women are told that either we cannot love the game OR we are dictated to on how to properly love the game. If we love it too much or too loudly, we are told that we are obsessed and to quiet down or if we don’t have every single stat memorized we are deemed clueless. Or then there’s the take that tells us that we only love the game for superficial reasons, because we must be attracted to the players or just love the uniforms. Or heaven forbid when we wear our favourite player’s jersey to be told that we either must not know whose jersey we are wearing OR that we are only wearing it because we are attracted to that player. And when those tactics don’t work to dissuade us from the game, we are put against one another.

If we were male, no one would raise an eyebrow or give us constant unwanted commentary as we take in the game.

It’s 2018, and we aren’t going away, there are simply more and more of us discovering our voice declaring our place in the hockey world. We’re here to stay.

At the start of May, I  had an idea to bring female hockey fans together and share our experiences as well as shed light on the game that brings us all together despite rooting for different teams at times. I put out a tweet, asking if any other female hockey fans would be interested in sharing their stories, sharing their voices and the response was overwhelming:

Special thank-you to each and every one of you who took time to be part of this piece! Anyone who missed out or didn’t have time to get their response in and would like to take part in a similar post down the road, let me know and we will set it up! And to those of you stumbling upon this post, please read all of the experiences below. Maybe you’ll relate to the experiences or maybe you’ll see part of your story in theirs or maybe you’ll see hockey in a whole new perspective through someone else’s experience.

Represented below are some incredible women from across the world, many who root for different teams across the league but all united for our love of the game. (And if you’re not following these incredible hockey fans yet, you can remedy that by reading and sharing this post and following all of them on twitter!)

These are some of our stories.

(@Pokeyloo) : “I’ve been an avid fan of the Canucks since I was in my early teens. I cut the team’s pictures out of the Province newspaper and had them on my locker in the early eighties. I grew up wanting Tom Larscheid’s job but didn’t think it was something a woman could do. I did some sports written reporting for TWU(my university) but that was as I got. I know the game well. I love being on twitter during games – it’s fun. My family and friends consider me an obsessive fan but I ask you -if I was a guy, would I have that label? I love hockey, not just the Canucks, love soccer and football also but to a lesser extent. Usually you’ll find me with the guys in the TV room if the game is on during a party. Also, I plan my schedule around games sometimes. I hope the Canucks can win a cup in my lifetime. My favourite players have been Stan Smyl, Tony Tanti, Trevor Linden and Alex Burrows. I’d like to also give a shout out to Jody Vance as one of the first female sports reporters in Vancouver, seeing her in that role always made me feel like it was going to be possible for so many more females yet to come in the Vancouver area.”

Tina Poole (@tpoole00): “I have noticed that times have changed. More and more females are actively blogging and commenting on threads. I am sometimes accused of not understanding the game but they mostly from ignorant males who are passionate about their team. I have always loved sports, especially hockey because I really believe in the values that the team encompasses on and off of the ice. The players inspire me to be the best that I can be everyday.”

Tiera Joy (@TieraBolt): Growing up, I was a figure skater and I was exposed to hockey and the players. However, it wasn’t until I became a mom of a little hockey player that I realized how special the hockey world is. It really is a big, encouraging family. Hockey is so much more than just a game, it’s a culture. That is what drew me in the most. The reason I love the game? It’s exhilarating and no matter the outcome, it has the ability to bring me joy even on the worst days.”

Alexa (@alexaa_speed): “Well, I was born in Russia, so hockey is a big part of my culture. I watched the games with my dad as a child and when I came to America, I was really thrilled to live in a town that was big on hockey (San Jose). I love the excitement and the rush that I feel when I watch. It’s a great way to forget about my problems for a while and just have fun and cheer for my team. Now, I’m Seattle and there’s no hockey team just yet, so I won’t be able to go to games for a while.”

Tanins Nygren(@TannisNygren): “I will admit that first off that perhaps all of those stereotypes that you mention did describe me when I first started to like and watch hockey. There were definitely certain players I became a fan of and even today I can honestly say that is still the case as there are players that I am still a huge fan of despite the fact that they no longer player for the Canucks but that doesn’t mean I am not just as big of a hockey fan as any of my male friends or that I don’t know just much about the sport and in many cases know more.

I grew up in a small city where there wasn’t a lot to do besides going to hockey games and started by being a fan of the WHL and then later the NHL. My love for the game may have started by following specific players and then eventually it become about the Canucks but the bigger fan of the Canucks that I became, the bigger fan of the game itself I became. I will admit that social media has definitely had an impact; whether it’s listening to others opinions, learning stats or the ability to follow the game when I am unable to watch it through tweets. Did I mention how much I HATE regional restrictions? Sometimes, I will say I probably know more stats  than the average fan would know; male or female and find myself repeating them to anyone that will listen.

I not only follow the NHL but having pursued my dream and worked for a sports team, I also am a fan of the WHL, AHL. I recently have been following the NCAA more than I ever have especially when it involves the ability to follow our great prospects. As much as I love the Canucks, it’s not only about one team but I love watching the game whether it means watching them live or on TV, even if it’s watching a game where I don’t like either team such as the first round with Boston and Toronto.

It’s not the easiest thing being a Canucks fan in another NHL city but it doesn’t take long for someone to get to know me before they realize the passionate fan that I am and will not cheer for a team just because that’s where I live. Sometimes it’s a bit more difficult to be a fan of a team when you don’t live in that market but I also think that is what makes me even more passionate and I feel a lot of people will respect that about me.

Twitter has definitely helped me feel connected to other fans and the team despite where I live but it also has allowed me to learn so much more about the game, rules and even the business side of hockey which I am becoming increasingly fascinated with. There will always be those fans that think they know everything and are very negative but what I love is hearing the different perspectives especially when other fans say exactly what I was thinking. Not everyone needs to agree but respect of others opinions and don’t assume that they don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, I am a female so sometimes my emotions do get the better of me, such as the amount of tears I shed during the last week of the season due to the Sedins career coming to an end and you don’t even want to know what I was like being at that final game, here in Edmonton knowing that was the last time watching them but I would like to think that emotion just shows the passionate fan I am.

If I wasn’t a fan of the game, I wouldn’t go to as many games as I do or spend the money and time to travel to see my team because I enjoy it as much as I do.”

Heather Morton (@flyersgrl28): “So, I guess the best place to start is to explain how I got into this sport we call hockey. For as long as I can remember, sports were always a part of my family. My dad played softball and hockey at some points in his life. Him and his friends split season tickets for the Flyers. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from them about meeting Flyers legends. There are pictures of me as an infant in Flyers gear. My dad is the one responsible for introducing me to hockey and starting this crazy obsession. For years, it was our father/daughter date once a year to go to a Flyers game. I saved every single ticket stub. I never saw a Flyers game at the Spectrum but I’ve seen too many games to count in the same building whether it was the Cores State Center, First Union Center, the Wachovia Center or Wells Fargo Center as it’s currently called. I looked forward to this one game every year. I don’t remember much other than the excitement. I grew up watching the Legion of Doom era and seeing Hextall wreaking havoc on players. I was 9 years old when the Flyers lost to Detroit in 4 games and I remember bawling my eyes out. Eric Lindros was my absolute favourite with John LeClair coming in a close second. I’m still enamoured with the both of them to this day. The one vivid memory I have is my dad waking me up when LeClair had scored his 50th goal of the season. That passion became my passion. As I got older and the ’04-’05 lockout happened, my dad stopped following as closely as he had when I was younger. Mostly because they were really bad in the first two seasons after the lockout. But that was the moment when my passion kicked itself into full gear. With the end of the lockout, came new rules and the end of the old ones. I taught myself the new game and watched all the games I could. It wasn’t until maybe the 2008-2009 season that I really started attending games on a semi-regular basis. And with the emergence on social media, I started connecting with other people who loved the Flyers just as much as I did. I actually met one of my absolute best friends at a Flyers game and in about 4 months I will be Maid of Honor in her wedding. Most of the people in my life, I have met through the Flyers somehow. Whether it’s meeting at a game, socializing on Twitter/Facebook or through mutual friends, hockey has united me with so many different and amazing people and I can’t think of my life without these people now. However, being a female hockey fan or just a female sports fan in general, is not without its difficulties. I’ve encountered men who are intimidated by my knowledge of not just my team but of the whole league. There are girls that like the sport solely on “looks” and how cure some player is. They exist, there’s no denying that. But girls like me and so many others, far outweigh those that only see this sport as skin deep. I follow and am friends with several strong female hockey fans…all fans of different teams. I’m fortunate enough that I know such knowledgeable women. We, as a group of knowledgeable people, have to stick together. I love to talk hockey. I don’t care what team you root for…unless my Flyers are playing them that night!”

Miranda M. (@lovelyminda): “I was introduced to hockey in 2003 when I was 12 years old by by attending a Nashville Predators game that my dad was gifted tickets to. It was a developmental time in my life, and as I started feeling burnt out playing softball for years, my interest in hockey grew exponentially. I really enjoyed just how fast paced the sport was, and quickly I spent the off-season reading hockey books and learning as much as I could about the Nashville Predators and hockey in general.

Of course, I found adversity with being a girl wanting to learn and talk hockey. Nashville in 2003-2004 wasn’t as big of a hockey town that it is now, so many people around me didn’t understand why I was so into it in the first place. I tried to talk to boys at my school who knew I played hockey, and immediately, they would say my points were invalid because I didn’t play (and due to softball injuries, I still don’t). “You just think the players are cute”, they’d say. Within due time, I was dealing with nicknames like “puck bunny”, that every female hockey fan dreads. In the online hockey community I was a part of, some of the women embraced the “puck bunny” insult and took it back–by learning and absolutely schooling the skeptics with thoughtful analysis. I wanted to do just that.

Personally, it was a lot harder growing up than it is now when dealing with the adversity and the belief that “women don’t know sports.” To be frank, I knew a heck of a lot more about the stats part of hockey back when I was trying to prove a point than I do now. In a time like 2006-2007, you could ask me the plus-minus of any Preds player and I could spat it out. Now? Not so much. But that’s because I’ve learned there’s nothing to prove to the skeptics. If they don’t believe that I know hockey, spatting off a few obscure stats won’t do much to change their minds. I’d rather discuss coaching systems, special teams tactics, or even more broader terms to discuss hockey.

Nowadays, I’m a blog contributor to Predneck Nation, a great sports radio show featuring analysis of all Preds games on Nashville Sports Radio. The Nashville media market has heavily embraced women, with many radio shows (like Predneck Nation and Penalty Box Radio) serving as an outlet for female fans and analysts. I don’t feel the adversity as much as I used to, especially now that I’m surrounded by a fantastic squad of female Preds fans who know the sport incredibly well. We frequently have twitter discussions and are quickly turning into a little hockey family with get togethers and “girls nights”.

Hockey is even a part of my job as a ride-share driver. I’ve decked my car out as the “PredsMobile,” where discussions with fans around town contributes to my Predneck Nation column. I talk with passengers all day about all realms of hockey, from Preds to visitors of Nashville. I’ve made sure to know info on at least some of each team so that I can have a fruitful conversation. With the city of Nashville embracing hockey so feverishly the last few years, culminating with the Stanley Cup run in 2017, there are a lot of new fans to the sport who don’t know everything, and I welcome their questions and discussions more than any other discussions. And I’ve definitely had (male) passengers try to correct or “mansplain” the sport to me as if I haven’t been watching for 15+ years. I believe the most egregious argument was so basic, it was insulting–the guy insisted the Preds had never been to the second round before 2017(they had three times). He still refused to believe me when I gave him dates, teams, and the series results by number of games.

The most frustrating part is when people are surprised that I know what I’m talking about. I think once that “surprise” is gone away from every sport, that last little bit of frustration will go away.”

Brandy S. (@BrandyVS0202): “One of the earliest memories I have of hockey is of Peter Bondra, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates leading the Capitals. The culmination of these men’s career with the Capitals was the Stanley Cup Finals, which unfortunately ended with the Red Wings sweeping the Capitals.

The main reason that I am drawn to watching the NHL, despite the Capitals’ playoff woes, is that there is always a chance that they might be able to get past the second round and win it all. It is also interesting watching the player development in the league and how they progress, or digress, each year. The Capitals seem to be able to develop goalies well, as seen with Kolzing, Holtby, Neuvirth, and also Varlamov. Of course, over the past twelve years it has also been fun to watch Ovechkin break records and win the Rocket Richard Trophy seven times in his career.

On the international level, it has been great to see as a US fan, the US women’s hockey team have their success. It is important to show that women can be as successful at hockey as men, and to even overshadow the men’s team as in the US.

On a personal note, the Capitals have been able to help me through some tough times. Being able to cheer them on and them winning the games right after my mom’s death in 2013 helped to distract me from what was going on a little bit. Also, my Capitals loving calico (yes, she watched hockey with me!) passed away right after the Capitals won their first game against the Blue Jackets in the first round. They went on to win the next three games, win the series, and are now headed to the STANLEY CUP FINAL. I have joked somewhat that maybe she is up there smacking them and meowing at them to win a few series.”

Cindy Lemoine (@Cindy Lemoine): “I’ve been a hockey fan for about 4 1/2 years now. I had a crush on a guy who was a fan of the Arizona Coyotes, so I started watching them. To my surprise, even though I’ve never been much of a sports fan, I found myself actually enjoying it. I have a very short attention span and bore easily, which is why I can’t tolerate sports. BUT hockey is so fast paced! I mean, these guys are chasing a 3-inch rubber disc going 40 mph on skates! In one of my favourite interviews with my favourite player, Zdeno Chara, he says it best: “I just love the speed of the game and the physicality.” In what other sport do you see such hard hits and fights? I read once that the effects of the hits in hockey are second only to boxing. Even during penalties, challenges, and reviews, I’m never bored. You have Doc Emrick or other announcers spitting out juicy tidbits about players or the team or the game. You have closeups of some of the players. And, if you’re lucky, you have Wes McCauley as one of the refs giving his legendary explanations.

So one day in the 2013-14 season, the Coyotes played the Bruins. I saw Zee, who reminded me of my friend, and asked him who that was. I was mesmerized by his sheer height and later by his power. Then, I saw the rest of the team. There’s just something about the Boston Bruins: their grit, their no-quit, their heart. I can’t quite put into words, but they wiggle into your heart and won’t leave. I like players on other teams, but I will always be first and foremost and forever a Boston Bruins fan. I love how passionate Boston fans are too. They do not fail to let players know when they are displeased!

We female fans do love the game for more than the players, but I do have to admit Zdeno Chara is the reason I fell in love with with the Bruins and continue to be theirs and his biggest fan. The more I learned about the man, the more I admired him and what he’s done not only for hockey but for sports in general and for his community. If anyone would take the time to get to know him off the ice (and his stats on the ice are impressive enough–this beast will be in the Hall of Fame and his number retired for sure), they would see that every conception that had about hockey and players is probably wrong! Sure the game has changed, even since I’ve been watching, but hockey players are, in my opinion, the toughest athletes out there. And there is something different about them. Maybe it’s because they are mostly Canadian and European, but they seem to be some of the most humble, down-to-earth, approachable, friendly, generous and even smartest athletes ever. They don’t seem to get too embroiled in scandals, nor act like overpaid prima donnas. As Zee often says, they are just “regular guys”. Guys who happen to be able to fist fight on ice skates. Long live hockey!”

Shannon (@Pens_Lynn): “Being a hockey fan and being a woman has it’s ups and downs. For one, men don’t take you seriously and think for the most part that you’re watching because you think the players are “hot!”. Not the case, I have a ton of female hockey fans who know the game better than most men. My husband never even watched hockey with me until recently and it’s been fun to explain the game to him. He is one who takes me seriously because I’m so passionate about the game. Most men on twitter do not take a female seriously when it comes to hockey. I’ve had countless “men” tell me to get back in the kitchen because it’s just assumed that women know nothing. It’s sad, really. I’ve also been told that I watch because I think the players are hot! Funny because I’m 41 years old and in the NHL that’s old! I don’t look at the players like that! I look at the players because they can play and definitely have my favourites but it has nothing to do with them being attractive! I love the game for the game!

My female hockey fans know hockey. They know the game inside and out. It is a great group to be a part of. Female hockey fans are by far the most passionate fans of the game. We analyze the game more. We try to figure out what went wrong, what went right and lean on each other when we’re being told it’s a man’s sport. Yes, there are other female fans from opposing teams who tell you that you don’t know anything and that you just started watching hockey because your team is winning. That crap gets old too! In today’s world where women should be empowering other women, that doesn’t happen in the hockey world; especially when you cheer for opposing teams. Some of it is friendly banter but other women can be down right pathetic about it.

It used to bother me when both men and other women would criticize your reasons for being a hockey fan. Not anymore. I grew some thick skin and now I just say my piece and move on. In reality though, we can all be hockey fans and be passionate about the sport we love without ridiculing others. Friendly “smack talk” on twitter is welcome and expected. Other times, it deserves the block button. In the end, hockey is a great sport. One of the greatest to be honest. Sure there needs to be more change in the head shots area but the game is fast and exciting. I’m proud to be a female hockey fan and have made some great friends who are also female hockey fans and there are men who do realize that women can watch hockey, be passionate about it and love the game just the same!”

Medina Menozzi (@MedinaMarie_PI): It all began with a mullet. Yes…I mean Jagr.

My dad is a huge sports fan, a December baby means that football and hockey were on almost all the time. I remember watching games but I had no idea what was going on. I’d stare at the screen at about 3-4 years old and just watch for something to do with dad. Then I saw him: “Mr. Fancy Hair”, as I called him. Jaromir Jagr and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

My dad said the game went from being just something on TV, to me being fully engaged in the game and asking what everything was that was going on. Within a month, I was talking people’s ears off about everything hockey, sporting Penguins gear and running around going “Mew, Mew, Mew” every time Mario scored. But my favourite was Jagr and when he was on the ice, nothing else in the world mattered. The way he flew on the ice, and the sheer power he had to score goals was awe inspiring to me.

In the town I grew up in, hockey was a bad word. It’s a football town. Period. Maybe a handful of people watched hockey. I remember once playing deck hockey in gym class and being the only one who knew how to hold a stick properly (even though they weren’t regulation size). I was 10, and there I was asking the gym teacher if we were focusing on handling, one timers or passing plays that class. He stood there, befuddled.

It didn’t feel good to be made fun of for being good at something others didn’t really know much about, so after a while, after catching a lot of flack for being a hockey chick, I quit focusing on trying to play and acted like I was disinterested in the game entirely, all the while trying to keep up to date with games and news of the Penguins. That lasted all the way up until college. I wanted to go into sports broadcasting/journalism, but the effects of being bullied for being into sports had a lingering effect, and even my student adviser talked me out of it so I chose another major. I should have stuck with it but that is how it goes.

I even dated a guy back in 2005 who played league hockey over in central PA for a while and told him flat out “I hate hockey.” Clearly that was a lie but he didn’t know that. Boy was he surprised when, after watching a game, I piped up about how one of his buddies on his team had poor stick handling and how if he moved his feet as much as he moved his mouth, he just might be able to add some offensive support instead of constantly getting pinned in the defensive zone every time he touched the puck. They stood there with their jaws dropped, I just smiled.

Now, in 2018, I’m writing for a blog called, “Pens Initiative”, continually having to prove that while YES, I am a woman, I can be just as knowledgeable about hockey as men can. That my fandom for the game, or for a player, comes from the love of THE GAME and their playing ability, not because of their looks. Pavel Datsyuk is one ugly dude, but respect where its due: the man could/still can play (in the KHL). I got into hockey not just to bond with my dad, but because I loved to watch and talk about the game, and I still do to this day.”

Artisia Wong (@artisia_wong): “My name is Artisia. I am 31 years old and live in North Delta, Canada. This is my story about how I got into hockey.

I knew about hockey when I was in elementary school but got really into hockey during high school. I would attend games and watch hockey on TV. My cousin’s loved watching hockey so I would watch the games pretty much every weekend with them.

After high school, my cousins formed a hockey league and I can still say up to this day, I’m their biggest fan! They play every weekend and I try to attend as many games as possible. This season, I might have missed on game. But they won the cup this season!

I hope more ladies love hockey as much as me!”

Kelsey Sagvold (@SeamoreHockey): “Hockey came to me at a point in my life when I needed it most. I live with a rare nerve condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This condition is a rare disease of the nervous system. There is no cure. There is no universal diagnosis of this disease. The FDA has not approved a single medication for this specific disease yet. It is debilitating, progressive, and causes unrelenting pain of the highest level on the MacGill Pain Scale. It leaves no area of our lives untouched. I can honestly say this was the thing that saved me. Learning the game has just grown my passion for it. Hockey is more than just a game to me. It’s what I turn to on bad days and good. I live for Friday and Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

I’ll never forget my first college game. It was an icy, cold North Dakota February evening of 2016, where I found myself standing in a line of thousands of other University of North Dakota students, waiting for a hockey game. Oliver, now my husband, and I stood in that line for what seemed like forever. As the doors opened to the Raplh Engelstad Arena, students pushed and shoved trying to get to the warmth faster. The UND Fighting Hawks were playing the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Throughout three periods of play only two goals would be scored. In overtime, Austin Poganski would be awarded a penalty shot that would find its way into the back of the net. The crowd erupted in cheers, people giving high fives to people they had never met before. It was in those moments that all my pain slipped away, and I knew I needed to find a way to be as close to this feeling and environment as possible.

I kept attending games and watching the NHL on TV. Learning as much as I could. My mom says that hockey is too much of who I am. However, I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

Diana Shank Pitt (@dshank92): I first got interested in hockey back in 2008 when I was 16 and watched some of the regular season and most of the playoffs for the first time. I decided to give the sport a try to see if it would interest me. Growing up here in PIttsburgh was nice since I could watch all the Penguin games and to see the Crosby era with Fleury and co. develop into the team that they are now. I enjoy the constant action whether it be precise skating, posing, odd man rushes, good hits or elite goals and play making that can take place even in low scoring games.

Other sports seem slow by comparison. It’s a sport that is under appreciated and isn’t as popular as others but I feel offers more action and intrigue, especially in the playoffs when compared to basketball or baseball. I find that hockey games pull you in so much with the intensity it brings out in fans, especially in playoff times and how you see the entire town in which a team plays come together. I don’t see this in other sports. The hockey community seems more close knit.

Hockey is more unpredictable than other sports in terms of predicting who will win. Very rarely does the President’s trophy team win the title where as in other sports, it is much easier to predict who will be left standing.

It’s also not often that websites ask us ladies or non-traditional sports fans how they got into the sport. Hockey seems much more open and receptive to the previously non-traditional sports fans whether it be ladies or us lgbt folks. I’ve met a lot of wonderful female hockey fans on twitter.”

Laurel (@PitterTwaited): “Fan since 1992. I must have written a good 5 pages on what it’s like to be a hockey fan, why I’m a hockey fan, and what I love about hockey. I added a few things that ticked me off about being a hockey fan and then realized that almost everything I had written could be coming from both male and female hockey fans and I was supposed to focus on what it’s like to be a female hockey fan.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I talk a lot in real life and type just as much online. So, instead of the exhaustively long tome that I am fully capable of producing on this subject…I shall keep it short and to the point.

The Best Thing About Being A Female Hockey Fan: No waiting in long lines to use the lades room! Yeah! You won’t find that at a baseball game.

The Worst Thing About Being A Female Hockey Fan: The Puck Bunny that shows up to games with the hope of having sex with a player(s), knows nothing about the sport and wears her pink ‘shirsey’ way too tight.

I am a non-peepee dancing, team colours sweater wearing proud San Jose Sharks Female Fan For Life.”

Kayla Martz (@Kayluvsredwings): “Hockey has always been a huge part of my family…I was a late bloomer however. The two reasons I got into hockey were seeing Todd Bertuzzi and Chris Chelios playing. I just liked their attitude on the ice, they had that “extra something”, I guess you could say. After watching a couple games around 2007, I really became active in learning as much as I could. I started by going on a site known as Yahoo Answers Hockey section where I can honestly say I’ve made friends for life. Ten years later and I’ve loved nothing more than being so completely active on what is known as hockey twitter.

For myself, hockey was an outlet when I needed one during some hard years in my life. Being a female fan, I always imagined is nothing different than being a male fan. Until you start loudly voicing your opinions that is. On ‘hockey twitter’, there’s not one day that goes by where I don’t see a girl getting a million questions thrown her way to prove she knows so much about the one sport we all love. Which in my opinion is just unfair. I’m not saying all guys do this but unfortunately this is the reality we live in and will continue to live in. The way I see it is, it’s up to us how we respond to the way some people may look at us as fans. I’ve been very loud about what players I happen to find attractive (James Neal is a stunning example haha!). I just chose not to let it bug me anymore and in a way to make the names your own and wear them like a badge of honour. Being a female fan of any sport is amazing. But being called a ‘puck slut’ who can honestly say, knows more so than the average joe? It’s amazing :).”

Shelley (@MsSunshineplz): “Hockey has been a lot of things for me. It was a way for my older brother and I to bond after living away from each other for years. The Penguins organization in particular always seems to have an impact directly on me.  It started over 10 years ago. It was the first season after the 2nd deployment. My father-in-law had recently passed and we were up for the funeral. Just to get away from everything, we went to an open practice (at the old facility). I watched the good natured fun(they always seem to have) and after practice waited outside (in the 42 degree rain) and they stopped and did pictures and autographs. I remember Marc-Andre Fleury in particular, because he was my then 7-yr old’s favourite player. He not only threw a puck over the glass to her inside but signed it and her jersey in the parking lot. In that couple hours of time, the pain and loss was forgotten for a while. Later that year when we came home for Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to be chosen for hometown heroes. Usually, they only give 2 tickets but they found 3 so our daughter could go. Being able to stand “behind the scenes” for half of the game and ride the zamboni will ALWAYS be an incredible memory.

I’ve encountered several players in the ‘real world’ and they are ALWAYS gracious and polite which further endears the sport to me. It’s hard to put into words exactly why I love the sport so much. The players, the speed, the action, and haha yes the fights. It’s just simply the best sport on the planet to me! The only dark side to it doesn’t even come from the actual sport or the players I’ve encountered. It comes from fellow ‘fans’ on social media that feel the need to ‘test’ my knowledge every chance they get. If I make an occasional emotional based comment, the hell I catch is sometimes endless.

I have everyone from housewives, hockey coaches, semi-pro players, retirees and KHL current players that follow me. Most have never said a bad thing and most tell me my analytic skills of picking a part the game for what is and isn’t working, is spot on. I don’t need validation although I appreciate when the pros tell me I’m right about something and I have stood my ground on many occasions where someone wanted to be a jerk or tell me to ‘get back in the kitchen and leave hockey to the men’. It doesn’t matter one way or another, I will continue to love the sport until I can’t watch it anymore!!”

(@khlee_28): “Why is it so impossible to believe that women can love any sport as much as a man can, or even more? Why is it especially impossible for that sport to be ice hockey? Is it because it’s so rough and since women are supposed to be dainty that they’re not “supposed” to enjoy it? Screw that.

When I moved to Vancouver for high school in 2009, we were on the brink of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada won gold. 2011, the Vancouver Canucks went to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Anyone that was there at that time would inevitably be a fan. It was worse for me, it was at a time where I was going through puberty and trying to figure myself out, I found a whole new world when I found Hockey. Through the sport, I made long lasting friendships, I’m thankful to have something so unifying, it’s unlike any community.

I’m proud to love hockey, I’m proud to love the Canucks. I love the sport. And I love my boys. The Vancouver Canucks will always be a big part of my life. You either accept it or you don’t, you don’t have to question or speculate as to why it’s that way, it just is. I wish it was just commonly accepted that women are big hockey fans too. I don’t want to compromise my integrity by exposing my Canucks tattoo on my side every time I want to justify that I am a major Canucks/hockey fan. I want to not have to prove my love for the game. We are all Canucks. Hockey runs through all our veins.”

Me(@nucksaid): “Growing up watching sports wasn’t really a focus in our house aside from playoffs and the Olympics. One of our neighbours LOVED hockey and the Vancouver Canucks, often invited us over to watch the games. It didn’t take long before the game and the team completely stole my heart.

Falling in love with the game happened slowly and all at once….it became everything. Before you knew it, I was learning as much as I could about the game itself, the team’s history and current roster; memorizing every stat and driving my family crazy with my nonstop hockey talk. It became a part of my every day vernacular and impossible for me to miss a game. And when it became realized that this wasn’t a passing phase, I was gifted my first Canucks jersey(the count now sits at 9 and counting!). It became clear that I needed a bigger outlet other than long detailed Facebook statuses, and conversation. Someone suggested that I try starting a blog, and as luck would have it, I learned that I really enjoyed having a space to write about the Canucks as well as hockey in general. Nucksaid became my space to write.

Prior to starting my blog, attending a minimum of 3-4 games each season at the arena became mandatory including one every year on my birthday to now having become a season ticket holder. Being at the rink with 18,000+ other fans, from the calm before the storm of the game to blades hitting the ice, anthems, puck drop, the roar of the crowd, to the final buzzer, is one of my most favourite places in the whole world. Whether at the rink or watching the games from home or out with friends, whether it’s a win or a loss or whether my team is playing; the game itself has a calming effect on me.

As much as I love the game, my love of it is more often than not put into question by my male counter parts. Either I’m looked down on with derision and forced into having the game ‘man-splained’ to me OR they simply do not believe me that it’s possible for a woman to love the game the way they do and I’m put to the test on every stat in the book. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been to a game and when in conversation about the game or the teams that are playing, every single thing I contribute is put through the google test before believing that I could be right. Or there’s the ones who ask if I know that I’m at a hockey game while decked out in hockey gear with 18,000 strong also dressed the same…but I’m the one confused about my location. Or they tell me that since they don’t like the jersey that I’m wearing representing my favourite player, that I should burn my jersey and the spiral of horrible commentary directed towards myself and other female fans hits the territory of words I cannot repeat.

It’s true that not all men are this way, some do welcome us to the hockey community without the constant testing of our knowledge or forcing us to prove our fandom. Some allow us to be a part of this world and share in the joy and the heartbreak that stems from the game itself and for that I’m grateful. They give me hope that this divide between us and them will not always be, that one day we can simply say we are all hockey fans regardless of who we are and that will be enough.”

I urge you all, if any of these experiences resonated with you or if you know someone who has felt the same, share the post and let’s all make it our aim so that in 2018 the sentiment of “hockey is for everyone”, actually becomes 100% true. We are all hockey fans.

As, always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Thank-You, Sedins.

The day has finally come, a word I never thought I’d hear either Henrik or Daniel say out loud. Or perhaps, it’s one that I hoped would never be said. At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 regular season, the Sedins will be officially retiring from the NHL.

There are NO words that I can put together that will possibly ever come close to enough to express my thanks, but here we go:

Henrik & Daniel,

Now that it’s officially, official; how do we as a city, as a fan base begin to thank-you for everything you’ve done? Is it even possible for us? For the last 18 seasons, the two of you have defined this team and mesmerized the NHL with your twin-tuition on the ice.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for 18 years of absolute magic, defying the odds, the ever persistent pursuit of your dream that became a reality and for inspiring SO many players and fans to also never give up. I wish that you could really know just big an impact you’ve made on the team, the franchise, on the city, the province and on the fans around the world. You made the coaches, your teammates, this city and every single Canucks fan beyond proud.

How many brothers that have been blessed to play in the NHL, can say that they have played their entire careers side by side for the same franchise? How many can say that they won back to back Art Ross trophies as the league leaders in points? How many can say that they BOTH put up 1000+ points?

We will savour these final three games. this final hurrah in your storied careers that are destined to be forever immortalized in the hockey hall of fame. Three more games for us to savour every last moment of Sedinery yet to come.

Over the last 18 years. you’ve given everything you had and more to this team, this franchise, this city and the fans. Your dedication was never in question, you persevered through the good and the bad and always led by example. Leaders on and off of the ice. You defined what it meant to play with heart. And please know that going into this final stretch of your careers, that you NEVER once let this city down.

And to THIS fan, to all Canucks fans, no matter what happens next on your journey or where your path takes you when this season comes to an end, you will always and forever be Canucks.

It’s near impossible to pin point ONE favourite moment of Sedinery magic when you’ve given us 18 years on unbelievable moments. Among those most treasured for me are witnessing Henrik notch his 1000th point, Daniel scoring many of his 41 goals during the 2010-11 season BUT my most favourite was just days ago when my sister and I finally had the opportunity to meet you both:

Little did we know, that just two days later you would make an announcement that would both break our hearts and make them soar with pride that we’ve been lucky enough to witness your entire careers. There’s not been one game that I’ve attended at GM Place/Rogers Arena that both of you didn’t play. Picturing a Canucks team that doesn’t feature you at it’s heart, will take some time to adjust to.

And while I’m excited for the team’s exciting potential down the road, I’ll never forget the two legends that paved the way for this new core. You’ve left an indelible mark that will forever be felt in the franchise and looked upon to remember that even when things get tough, all that needs to be done is to think back of how you both always kept pushing forward despite the odds and we will be reminded that when you tune out the negative, ANYTHING is possible.

Thank-you doesn’t seem even close to enough but it’s what I have to offer. Henrik, and Daniel, THANK-YOU, for everything.

And to all of YOU Canucks fans, let’s make Rogers Arena thunderously LOUD these final two home games of the season. Let’s show Henrik and Daniel just how much they’ve made a difference for all of us Canucks fans.

Sarah E.L.

 

Vancouver Canucks: For Brock

Sometimes, this game that can take your breath away in the best possible way, can be heartbreaking in the cruelest of ways. That happened last night as all of Canucks nation held their collective breath after seeing Brock Boeser sustain an injury late in their game versus the New York Islanders. Today, the Vancouver Canucks announced that Brock Boeser is likely out for the remainder of the season (4-6 weeks). And it’s no secret that prior to the injury, Brock Boeser was having a Canucks rookie season to remember with 29 goals, 26 assists (55 points) in 62 games.

It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see a player that’s been having a memorable season be forced to the sidelines due to injury. And while the season may not end in a Calder trophy for the rookie phenom, there are more important things than a trophy. As tough as this news is, it could be worse, and it’s absolutely the right decision that Boeser takes this time to recover fully so that he can come back to the game he loves for years to come The good news is that he will make a full recovery.

This post is for Brock.

Brock,

I can still remember the anticipation that followed when the Vancouver Canucks drafted you and excitement that stemmed when the team announced you made this season’s roster. This is not the ending that your rookie season was supposed to have. You were well on your way to setting a new Vancouver Canucks rookie season record. Today, having this news shared with the rest of the world must be one of the most difficult things you’ve been faced with early in your career, but taking this time to heal properly was the right decision. Some things are bigger than the game.

I hate that we were robbed of your 30th goal (some will point out you should proably be credited with 1 or 2 more in recent weeks!) and that we don’t a get a chance to see you surpass Pavel Bure’s rookie record. I hate that this season, we will not get to see any more of your signature snipes or impossible angle goals that often took opponents by surprise with their accuracy. I hate that we will not get to see you find that chemistry with no matter who you played with until next season. I hate that this is how the season most likely ends for you this season. I hate the unfairness of this outcome. I hate that after all the work you put in and that the rookie season that you were on pace for, that this is the ending. I hate that many on the outside don’t always see the value that you bring to the Canucks every single game.

As much as I hate this end to your incredible rookie season, I understand that this decision was about more than the game. Life is about much more than hockey and you put your health first. Not an easy decision, but absolutely the correct one. You are taking the time to heal properly and not risk further injury and allowing yourself a long-term future in the game. It may have only been your first full time season in the NHL and with the Vancouver Canucks, but you’ve already left an indelible mark on the franchise.

The ending to the season may have come much earlier than you desired but you DID IT. You’re living a dream come true in the NHL that while only one year in, is full of highlight reel moments: back to back rookie of the month honours, first career hat trick, goals that made many opponents ask “HOW?”, a possible Calder trophy candidate, NHL All-Star, All-Star MVP, Canucks All-Star. Those are some awesome early career moments. You are the type of player that fans hope their team drafts and love to see succeed when they make the big league.

It’s not the ending that your rookie season deserved. You gave this team, the fans and the league everything you had every single time you were on the ice. Never doubt for a second what you’ve accomplished this season. You gave it your all every single shift, playing with whoever coach put with you in the lineup. You always found a way to keep your game consistent. You may be one of the youngest players on the team, but I promise that you inspired your teammates, the fans and even opponents around the league. Your heart, determination, dedication and perseverance every game are something to be admired. Your tenacity will be missed by the team, opponents, and fans league wide down this final stretch.

Thank-you for one heck of a memorable rookie season with the team. You’ve brought an excitement to the team and united Canucks fans far and wide while we all rooted for the next FLOW highlight! Your season may have come to an abrupt end, but I hope you know that NO ONE and I mean NO ONE is disappointed in you. You’ve done nothing but make Canucks fans proud every single time you hit the ice. I hope that while you recover, you stay close to the team, you may not realize it yet what an inspiration your season has been to them. And maybe today, that seems impossible to comprehend, but it’s 100% true. Canucks nation is sending you all the best as you focus on your recovery! Take all the time you need, your health is the #1 priority.

Your season might have come to an early end but you took the pressure of an entire city and ignited a spark of hope for the season and the future as we all witnessed the initiation of the Brock star. One thing is certain, your teammates, fans, even your opponents are all rooting for you as you recover and look forward to your eventual return when you a ready. You have accomplished a lot in a short time this season. Remember this moment, a rookie season to remember that stole the hearts of Canucks fans far and wide, this is only the beginning and the best is still yet to come.

-Sarah E.L.

 

Hockey is for everyone, or IS IT?

Here we go again. It’s 2017 and yet here I am re-living a nightmare from last season and no I don’t mean the Vancouver Canucks. No, I mean being a hockey fan who happens to be a girl. This whole being a hockey fan that also happens to be a girl is not always a fun journey.

Let’s be honest, there’s often a whole different set of rules and beliefs when it comes to girls who love hockey. If you are a guy and say you love hockey, you are in the club. If you are a girl, you have to constantly prove your fandom and knowledge of the game. If we know the game, then we must have heard it somewhere else, we couldn’t possibly have learned it on our own. If we don’t know something it’s because it’s yet another reason of why girls can’t know this game properly or love it. Or there’s the notion that we merely watch the game to check out the players or love the jersey colours/designs.

OR there’s reality that is often overlooked in which we women can actually LOVE the game itself just as much as any man. It’s no secret that I love the game and everything about it from the good to the bad and everything in between. Heck, I write a blog about hockey. I don’t claim to be an expert on all facets of the game and I love learning NEW things about this crazy game all the time.

This season, my sister and I were ecstatic to be able to up our support from quarter season members to half-season members for this season. Twice as many times to support our team? To say we were excited is an understatement. We also moved from the lower bowl to the upper bowl which up until our most recent game had been an impeccable experience. I love the experience of being in the arena from the quiet preparation before the chaos, to the warmups, to the anthems, to puck drop and the end to end plays on the ice to the final buzzer.

Yes, we are girls, and yes we love hockey but that does NOT mean that we deserve to be treated as though we can’t possibly understand the game or be talked down to or attacked for our jersey of choice to support our team. And many thanks for the ever subtle reminders that we were at a hockey game but I think our jerseys & being decked out from head to toe in our team’s colours made it abundantly clear we were in the right place. And yet while in that right place, my most favourite place, there was pit in my stomach acknowledging that we were not welcome on this night. At final buzzer, my disappointment was not from the scoreboard but from the sheer shock of how some fans turned a place that is a safe place into one that was unwelcoming.

And once again, that was beyond unsettling. We were made to feel as though we could not cheer for our team and also were judged for every ounce of support that we did show or vocalize. I’m all for opposition fans supporting their own team BUT I draw the line at attacking the integrity of franchise players, and then turning those insults towards fans of the home team. I can fully accept that we may root for different teams and I respect that. I may not agree with their view all the time, but I respect it and would never spend the duration of the game berating the fans of another team.

For the most part, I love talking about the game with Canucks fans and fans of any team, man or woman, any time. What I do not enjoy, is being talked down to and belittled. And yes, it is unfortunately still true that sometimes when I admit how much I love this game that I get given looks of derision that I cannot possibly comprehend what it is I am talking about. When it is confirmed that I do know the sport, these individuals then treat me as though they still don’t trust me even if what I am saying is true and attack my loyalty to my team or why I love this game. Truthfully these experiences leave me feeling as though perhaps I do not deserve to enjoy this incredible sport and then I remember that these individuals who make female fans feel this unwelcome DO NOT represent the entirety of the hockey community.

So, while you belittled us and attacked our love of the game, you did not destroy it. You tried and while yes it took me aback, nothing that was said to us or directed to us will take away my love for this team or this game. We should all be allowed to enjoy the game we love without having to feel as though we are being judged or to feel bad when we do. Hockey is more than just a game, it is a community that most of the time is very welcoming and hopefully one day, no one will be made to feel like an outsider.  I’ve said a lot in the last year but, it’s 2017 and I sincerely wish that the sentiment that “hockey is for everyone” was actually true. One day, maybe.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.