Dear Vancouver Canucks

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

I know the odds of you reading this blog among all the media available to you is slim to none but I felt it important to get these words out and that maybe you get a chance to see them.

You may not know this yet as the media is constantly stating all of the negatives and questioning whether or not the fans still support you, but yes it is true that you do in fact still have fan support. Win or lose, some fans will even stand by you all season long, no what matter the outcome.

This season, the majority of headlines that I have seen from local media have been of the negative variety and been attempting to tell me that there is nothing to be excited about as a fan of this team. Maybe to them it is not exciting to get glimpses of the future as prospects get the opportunity to shine or seeing veteran players reach franchise and individual milestones.To this fan, those moments along the journey of a season are almost more magical than the wins or losses.

Are there questions that need to be addressed? Yes, but that can be said about every single team in the league. Will there be critics of every trade, signing, draft pick and decision made? Probably. Will any of those questions, decisions or critics influence or when I will support you? No, not even one little bit.

Has this season been perfect? No, but truthfully, I never expected it to be. Do I wish that you had more wins overall up to this point of the season? Yes, but even if you had only won a single game on the season, my support would not waver. Every season is made up of different ebbs and flows. Some years will be better than others, but no matter the outcome, playoffs or no playoffs, this fan will stand by you.

Do I dream that one day you will win that elusive 16th playoff game? Absolutely more than anything and one day when you DO, I will be able to say I was along for the entire ride, for all the triumphs and struggles that lead to the eventual victory. Yes, I know that day may be in the distant future, but that won’t stop me from enjoying the journey to that eventual win.

Perhaps even more meaningful than any on ice statistic is the work that you do as a team within the community and on the behalf of kids across BC. No matter what every season brings on the ice, as a team you always give your all off the ice to the kids and this province. It is an incredible privilege to see the difference that you have made over the years in the lives of so many, and often you may not even know it.

Some might think it odd that through it Maybe you will see this post, and maybe you won’t but I hope that you know that despite what a lot of the media will tell, you DO have fans that support you 24/7/365.

All the best the rest of the way, this season!

Sincerely,

Sarah

To Whom It May Concern…

To whom it may concern,

Recently when I was attending a Vancouver Canucks game I had an experience that both frustrated and slightly rattled me as a hockey fan that happens to be a female.

Apparently I needed to be informed that I was at a hockey game and be told when and how to cheer for MY team by an opposing team’s fan. Yep, because apparently being at the game with my sister geared out in our Canucks gear meant we had no clue where we were or how to cheer for OUR team. Apparently being a female fan to this particular individual meant that we had no idea about the ins and outs of the game. The presumption being that we were only there to look at the players on the ice. Instead of being allowed to enjoy the game, it felt like I was being judged the entire time for everything I said or did for the duration of the game.

1617game2Yes it is true that I am a woman and I was at a hockey game. Yes, it is true that I am a woman and enjoy sports, especially hockey. Yes, it is true that I actually do know a little about the game and do not need the game explained to me. And while I do love learning new things about the game that does not mean I need a person to “dumb it down” or talk to me in condescending tones about the game. The truth is I have been a fan of this game since I was 17 and have spent a long time learning as much about it as possible about not just my team but the other 29 teams in the NHL, and minor leagues too. Truthfully, I love talking about the game at every level with other fans, truly I do. What I do not enjoy is being talked down to and belittled.

And yes, it is 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 the incredible these individuals who make female fans feel this unwelcome DO NOT represent the entirety of the hockey community.

And to those of you who have had similar experiences, I want you to know that you are not alone. Perhaps it has also happened more then once to you but let’s not allow these moments to take away the game we love from us. 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 some will no longer judge others.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

According to who?

According to who? The experts and media have all recently come out with their NHL predictions for the 2016-17 regular season. Nearly all of them have the Vancouver Canucks projected to be at or very near the bottom of the rankings. Is that a surprise? No, not in the least but what does surprise me is the so-called experts telling me that as a Canucks fan, I have nothing to be excited about aside from “at this point with no games played, they are undefeated”. Really? That’s the ONLY thing for me to be excited about for the 2016-17 NHL season?

Yes they might be right that the Vancouver Canucks might miss the playoffs, they might even end up being at the bottom of the standings. Perhaps a lot of their success this season will indeed hinge on many things going exactly right and for injuries not the stockpile. They may just get all of their predictions correct or maybe the team will surprise the league in a few categories or maybe they will be just above par. Time and how the team plays will tell just which outcome will be true at season’s end.

There is one thing for certain that the media is very wrong about: that fans have nothing to be excited about. The 82-game journey might be messy, it might be disaster, it might have incredible triumphs or heartbreak, it might be be extended into the post-season or it might be cut short for a myriad of reasons, but no matter where or how the season ends, I will enjoy every single step of the journey.

The season may be messy and imperfect but there will also be moments of pure magic along the way. I love everything about this game and I plan on supporting my team every single step of the way regardless of whether this season ends abruptly or they make the post-season.

And most certainly no matter the outcome, I am Vancouver Canucks fan today, will be one tomorrow, will be one at the season’s end and for all the season’s still to come. 24/7/365 and there is no changing my Canuck heart.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

VK Basketball

Today, we talk about basketball, yes basketball. Specifically we are looking deeper into the incredible work that is the non-profit organization: VK Basketball. What exactly is the VK Basketball program? They work to create accessible basketball programs to kids and young athletes at no cost, and are looking to expand their program. It is admirable to see an organization put the dreams and needs of children first.

Let me share a glimpse into their incredible work:

In their own words: “We have created VK Basketball, a not-for-profit organization that provides athletes with an opportunity to play basketball during the spring and summer. Our mission is to give back to the community through accessible programs while creating a culture of excellence executed through basketball.

Our programs started in March of 2016 and in our first year we had 56 athletes from the Greater Vancouver area. We decided to start our program with girls varying in age from ages 10-17, but we hope to include a boys program in the near future. Our athletes attended camps and tournaments in BC, Washington, Oregon, and California.”

Wouldn’t it be amazing if both girls and boys across BC and beyond had access to this program or more programs like it? Programs like this that work to help both the child succeed and put no extra financial stress on the parents, are incredibly special. Kids should not have to worry about the cost but rather actually enjoy being a part of a team and programs like this one. In order for programs like this one to succeed, they need the help of the public

You can help with their aim at expanding their program to reach even more kids heading into this new year. Click the link below to find out how you can help them reach more kids and have a chance to win a one of a kind Vancouver Canucks experience on the road!

VK Basketball Auction

** The auction goes through October 7th. Signing up for the auction does not obligate you in any way, but by signing up you will be helping great cause in VK Basketball while also helping kids be healthy and have fun in safe environment.

IF you win the auction, you win the following Road Game Experience:

Two (2) Lower Bowl Tickets to the Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks game — Saturday, January 7th @ the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Flight From Vancouver to Calgary for Two (2).

Dinner in the Chrysler Club.

Two (2) jerseys (choice of Flames or Canucks jerseys).

Morning skate viewing (subject to discretion by either team).

Hotel stay for one (1) night at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel.

Click the links below to see the work they do in action:

VKB North Shore News story.

U13 Video

U17 Video

Please take a few minutes to visit their website (vkbasketball.com) and/or follow their journey on twitter (@VKBasketball). Thank-you, VK Basketball for the work you are doing with youth throughout the province! Here’s to growing your program and many more years of success!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L

Raise-A-Reader 2015 Edition

IMG_1395The tradition continues! September 23rd marked one of my favourite days leading up to the Vancouver Canucks regular season: Raise-A-Reader. The event takes place downtown in Vancouver and various places across BC sees local athletes, mascots, and television personalities selling special copies of the Vancouver Sun to raise funds for literacy programs. The event’s purpose can be properly summed up on the Raise-A-Reader website as the following: “The Postmedia Raise-a-Reader campaign exists to empower today’s children and families with tools to improve their reading skills. These skills are the foundation for lifelong learning that significantly affects the quality of life and the health and social economic well-being of individuals, families and communities. 100% of all funds raised will go to the literacy community.”

The campaign as usual, went from 7:00AM-9:00AM. There were representatives from the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Giants, Vancouver Stealth, Global News, the Vancouver Sun and many more volunteers. There’s no pressure or negativity or critics, just some incredible people from all different backgrounds coming together for a common cause. A morning where you simply make a donation to help grow the love of reading AND you get to talk one-on-one about hockey with some of your favourite hockey players, is perfection.

Here are some of mine and my sisters’ snapshots from the day:

We had a SVENtastic time meeting Sven Baertschi to start off our Raise-A-Reader day! We all agreed that the Canucks and Vancouver are both equally awesome.

IMG_1381Welcome officially to the Vancouver Canucks, Jacob Markstrom! Thank-you for the great hockey discussion and helping to make our morning epic.

IMG_1379 IMG_1387 IMG_1396Quite a few Canucks alumni were out and about volunteering for the day:

First up: Stan Smyl and Jyrki Lumme. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to talk about hockey and a shared love of literacy for all with these two gentlemen.

IMG_1397 IMG_1389 IMG_1382Darcy Rota was out volunteering and taking time with every fan that crossed his path.

IMG_1390 IMG_1383Captain Kirk was a class act as always.

IMG_1391 IMG_1384Another familiar face was out volunteering and being swarmed by the fans who were anxious to discuss hockey and relive some memorable “Captain Canuck” moments. Yes, that’s right, Trevor Linden was also out volunteering and meeting the masses.

IMG_1393IMG_1386And of course, no Canucks outing is complete WITHOUT a visit with Fin.

IMG_1392 IMG_1376And I could not leave the other mascots out of all the fun:

The Whitecaps very own Spike stole FIN’s move…not too sure how my favourite Orca would feel about this…

IMG_1377Vancouver Stealth’s, Bomber the FOX

IMG_1385and the Vancouver Giants, JACK the Giant was on location:

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Raise-A-Reader 2015 was a success as funds were raised to help literacy programs, smiles were endless and all in all, another priceless experience.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Raise-A-Reader 2014 Edition

RaiseAReader2013Every year the Vancouver Canucks participate in Postmedia’s Raise-A-Reader campaign that takes place across Canada. This year was no exception and they were out bright and early, and with Vancouver Canucks players downtown, it is a HUGE draw for fans of the team. It has become a start of the season tradition for my sisters and I to attend every year!

The main reason for this event can be summed up perfectly from the Raise-A-Reader website as the following: “The Postmedia Raise-a-Reader campaign exists to empower today’s children and families with tools to improve their reading skills. These skills are the foundation for lifelong learning that significantly affects the quality of life and the health and social economic well-being of individuals, families and communities. 100% of all funds raised will go to the literacy community.”

The campaign went from 7:00AM-9:00AM. There were representatives from the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Giants, B.C. Lions, Global News, and of course the Vancouver Sun. You can guess who, I went downtown to see, right? Is it even a question?!

First, we met some of the Vancouver Giants players braving the early rainfall:

IMG_0928Next, bring on the nostalgia and Vancouver Canucks!

After missing out on the opportunity to have our picture taken during the 2014 Canucks Telethon, I finally had my chance to fix that when Captain Kirk was also at Raise-A-Reader:

IMG_0926We also got to meet Mr.President himself, Trevor Linden. Thanks for talking hockey with me this morning, and giving me an incredible memory!

Trevor & me:

IMG_0925Abs & Linden:

AbsLindenLast, but certainly not least, Kevin Bieksa who is just as comical and KIND in real life as he is in post-game interviews.

Kevin & me:

IMG_0927Abs & Kevin:

AbsBieksaThat’s how we spent our Wednesday morning…meeting some of our favourite players, talking hockey and supporting an incredible cause to bring back the importance of literacy! Hockey and reading are two of my most favourite things, so it was fantastic to be able to combine those today! While it was incredible to meet some amazing people today, it is important to remember the importance of the day was not about the pomp and circumstance of meeting the celebrities, but rather about the children and helping to ensure that they will know the magic of imagination that comes to life through reading. If you can, please join the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of literacy!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

TRUE BLUE: S.E.L. or Simply ME.

From game 1 to game 82 every season,  no matter the outcome, the true fans will stand by their teams.

This summer at Nucksaid, I decided to make it all about the fans, by putting the spotlight on all of YOU, and allowing you, the fans to tell YOUR stories! I have been asking to hear about your Canuck stories, and you have been more than kind sharing them with me! It seems only fair that I also include my own story in the mix, right? Right…so now you will hear my Canucks story!

[Don’t worry there are more True Blue stories on the way from others and there is also plenty of room for MORE of you to join in the fun as we count down the days to eventual puck drop of the regular season! If you’d like to take part, simply send me an e-mail to nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE & I will send you all the details you need! In True Blue:Part Six I introduced you to Brandi & David…click the link below to read their stories:

https://nucksaid.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/true-blue-part-six/ ]

Are you ready for the tables to be turned on me? Here we go…!

Sarah&KassianI am Sarah Laug and THIS is my TRUE BLUE story, in MY own words:

I will be the first to admit that I never imagined that I could be taken by hockey, let alone any sport and now it seems impossible to ever not love the “best game you can name, the good old hockey game.”

My love for the Vancouver Canucks and hockey itself came over me very slowly and then suddenly all at once. It was not that I ever disliked the sport, it just never was something that truly caught my eye when I was younger aside from watching hockey in the Olympics and the odd game, here or there. I was too young to appreciate or fully understand the magic that was the 1994 Stanley Cup run. It was not until high school that I really started paying attention to this team called the Canucks and learning all the I could about the game. My neighbours LOVED the team and always invited us over to watch the games…and slowly I started to notice feeling a gravitational pull towards this game and this team. I cannot remember the exact game but it was one the featured a snazzy play by Nazzy and some early Sedinery with Anson Carter in the 2005-2006 season that sealed my fate and captured my heart as a True Blue Canucks fan and there was NO turning back. Did they make the playoffs that year? No, but it was the off-season that brought change and re-ignited the team with hope with the hiring of Alain Vigneault and acquiring of Roberto Luongo.

The 2006-2007 season that followed grew my love for the team and that goalie, Roberto Luongo who played a Vezina worthy year stole my heart completely for this game. A goalie sets the tone for the game, and LU came out with absolute determination that gave the team a chance to win every night. That was the season I decided to go all in with my non-wavering support for the this team. The team surprised a lot of people that season and gave us a thrilling ride all the way through two playoff rounds…including an epic game seven win sealed with a series winning goal from Trevor Linden. Every year since then my love for the game and the Canucks has grown exponentially. I may have turned into one of those fans who can quote stats forwards and backwards and possibly yells at the TV like the team and the refs can hear me for each good/bad call made or when that big goal is scored…but like I said, there is NO turning back. The Canucks are my team and I will always stand by them through thick and thin from game 1 all the way to game 82 and any games that go beyond.

Do I have an all-time favourite player? More like MANY favourites because it is way too difficult to just choose one. My favourite former Canucks include Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden, and Roberto Luongo, all of whom were the epitome of class acts both on and off the ice during their playing tenures with the Vancouver Canucks.

As for current Canucks my favourites would be Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Zack Kassian. I’ve been watching Burrows and Bieksa play together since their time with the Manitoba Moose to now and I absolutely love their tenacity on the ice. I love that Burrows came in undrafted and unwilling to give up on his dream and always capable of a BIG moment when least expected. Bieksa in his own words is a Canuck through and through…his loyalty to his teammates, his chirping and his insanely timed goals are beyond valuable. Kassian every year shows more and more determination and dedication to his game and is always willing to stand up for his teammates.

Do I have an all-time favourite Canucks moment? Much like having more than one favourite Canucks player…I have MANY favourite Canucks moments. Luongo’s TWO shutout streaks (November 2008, November 2009), being in the arena LIVE for games (nothing compares to seeing your favourite team get a WIN on home ice!, Burrow’s back to back hat tricks (2010), Burrows playing with the Sedins, Bieksa’s SAVE & GOAL vs. Colorado (2012), Daniel’s last second goal against Detroit (2012) OR  his between the legs goal vs. Calgary (2010), Hank’s 112 points (2009-2010), Lu’s 72 saves vs. Dallas (2007) or his SCF game 5 shutout (2011), Hank’s penalty shot goal (March 14, 2012) that had the arena on their feet, Hank’s 1000th game (2014) or THE goal off the Stanchion courtesy of JUICE (2011) that sent the Canucks to the Finals…BUT tops on this list IS Alex Burrows slaying the dragon in OT vs. Chicago (2011)…it felt as though you could hear the cheers from Canucks fans everyone when that puck crossed the line…THAT moment was absolute MAGIC. I look forward to adding many more favourites to this list as the years go by. One other moment that will always stand near that moment against the hawks, will be the moment that Roberto Luongo was Olympic GOLD on home ice at Rogers Arena…a moment that NO ONE, no matter how hard they try can ever take away from him.

My personal most recent favourite Canucks memory is when I won a twitter contest and got to be a part of the 2014 Canucks For Kids Fund panel….and YES if you look close you will see that plaque next to my name….YES I sat next to Captain Kirk during the telethon! It was an epic experience!!

IMG_0649I love every little thing about this crazy game called hockey….every up and every down, every goal, every save, every rush down the ice, every face off, every epic playoff run, every magic overtime moment, every game tying goal…everything. I love everything about hockey, EXCEPT for that dreaded little one-on-one contest they call a shootout that follows an unsolved overtime period during the regular season. I despise shootouts…they ruin the team component of the game and turn a wonderful up tempo end to end game into a one-on-one skills contest that sometimes costs the better team on the ice the game because as we all know…the shootout is not every team’s forte. The only other thing that irritates me to NO end in hockey is when journalists try to influence how fans think about their team and the game…it is okay for fans of all kinds to have differing opinions.

I’ve already told you my favourite aspect of hockey (Canucks and non-Canucks related) is the FANS. I love the connection that is formed within fans of a team, fans of rival teams, and fans of the sport in general. I love discussing and debating this wonderful game with fans of all levels from all over the globe…there is always room to learn and share more about this great sport and about my Canucks. There is something very special about fans coming together whether it is in the arena cheering together, watching the game in a restaurant(pub or at home) or during an epic playoff run.

When it comes to pre-game and game day rituals, I have a few. Nearly every game day will find me wearing one of my four jerseys(hoping to add another this season!) and during a playoff run as girly as it may sound..I paint my nails in Canucks themes. Every game day also usually involves making sure there are game approved snacks (chips+salsa,) on hand for when that big goal gets scored or even some victory/consolation ice cream.

SLaugI am not lucky enough to have season tickets just yet but I would LOVE to be so lucky someday in the near future! I try to go to at least 3-5 games during the regular season….and if I’m lucky at least ONE playoff game when the team goes to the post-season. There is ONE game that I have gone to EVERY season starting in March 2008…the game that is ON or closest to my birthday that the Canucks play at home. It is one of my most favourite birthday traditions that I have with my family all Canucked out in our jerseys cheering for the team at the arena. Yes, it’s true, I’ve converted an entire house that once held no hockey fans, all into diehard Vancouver Canucks fans.

034How do I feel about the upcoming 2014-2015 season? Last season after January, it was hard to watch the team at times as things began to fall apart and it became inevitable that changes were going to be made. It felt like a black cloud began following the team and storms followed as the season broke down. Bringing Trevor Linden back to the Vancouver Canucks was an absolute breath of fresh air after the last few years with Mike Gillis. Linden came in promising to make changes and promising that he would keep the fans in the know and he has done exactly that. With Linden came GM Jim Benning and newly minted NHL head coach, Willie Desjardins to help usher in this new era in Vancouver Canucks history. The newly formed brain trust has been hard at work taking care of business (the Kesler trade, developing the prospects, the Miller & Vrbata signings!) as they prepare for the upcoming 2014-2015 regular season.

There is a LOT of potential with team Lindenning and players coach Desjardins at the helm moving forward with the team. I am looking forward to whatever comes next and while the season may be far from perfection…it will be worth watching the entire journey from start to finish no matter the outcome. Mostly, I am excited to share this upcoming season with ALL of you, whether you are a Canucks fan, rival fan or simply just a hockey fan…as we are in for a wild ride league wide!

JERSEYI am now, always have been and always will be a true blue bona-fide canucklehead and there will be NO changing of my ways. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

One last photo, one of my favourites featuring my dear beloved canucklehead Bailey, who spent more than 13 years being the best companion. I will miss you always my dear, sweet little Bailey. (December 8, 2000 – July 27, 2014).

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