They say when you fall in love with hockey, that you should never get attached to players as inevitably they will not stay their entire career with one team. It’s the business side of the sport. They remind you of this fact ceaselessly when you first discover it’s magic and you quickly shove away that truth as you fall deeper and deeper with no abandon into the love of the game.
Hockey can be particularly cruel when it comes to growing attached to a player as your favourite and just when you could never fathom that truth becoming fact that they will in fact move on or be moved, and then it happens. The pain you feel is immediate and deep. Some may say you’re crazy to feel so deeply attached to an athlete but the truth is these players become so much more than just a player, they become almost a part of you. It sounds weird but it’s true.
Today, is one of those deep pain filled days that I have to grapple with as a fan. Today I have to accept the reality that Bo Horvat is no longer a Vancouver Canuck. Up until this last week, I never really believed he wouldn’t be with the team for his entire career.
I can still remember with distinct clarity the moment he was drafter in 2013 and how immediately I felt that he’d do well here under the tutelage of the Sedins. In Vancouver, we got to witness Bo grow from a promising rookie to a player following in the footsteps of Henrik and Daniel Sedin to the natural leader on the team. It was absolutely no question when the Sedins retired that Bo would be named captain. Everyone expected it and he wore the “C” very well during his tenure. With Bo, he always gave his all every shift on the ice and off of the ice was exceptional within the community. It’s been special to see the progression from the start of his career to the next level that he was reaching this current season.
It is really hard to see players that have become so entrenched in the team and the hearts of fans be moved. As fans, we know that it’s an inevitable price in the game but still it has the ability to break your heart in an instant. Someone asked me what I will do with my Horvat jerseys now that he’s no longer a Canuck, my answer is this: I will keep them because they represent to me everything that BO was while he was here: determination, heart and tenacity. He may be moving to another team but that doesn’t undo everything that he was as a player and individual in Vancouver.
You better BO-lieve, I’ll be rooting for you CAP no matter where you play(except for maybe Boston, you know why). To me, you will always be a Canuck to the end no matter what. All the best in Long Island and hopefully one day down the road you’ll back in Canucks colours before all is said and done!
As we say good-bye to 2022 and move into 2023, there’s a something that I’d like to see come to an end when it comes to hockey: mansplaining the game to women. I can’t remember a single live game that I’ve attended where some form of this didn’t happen because somehow, despite being decked out head to toe in team colours and well aware of what’s happening on the ice, I must not understand the game and constantly need to be fact checked. The incessant audacity that some men have to make women feel inferior rather than welcome is staggering.
Ladies, tell me, do any of the following sound familiar to you–
**The following list is merely a small sampling of the treatment experienced**:
We are told that it’d be wonderful if we could love the game but when we actually DO, it’s not a truth that is accepted. We are told we are a distraction. We are told we’re only here for the looks. We’re told to find space elsewhere and that our opinions certainly are not valid. We’re told many opinions about why we aren’t allowed to have certain opinions. We’re told that we can’t possibly have the same nostalgia related memories to the game or certain players. We’re told by the repeated actions of many that we are deserving of harassment for simply trying to be part of something bigger than us.
“Oh you like hockey? You definitely must not actually understand the game though. Let me help you and explain the game point by point…” —Did we ask you to explain the game? No. Did we ask you to repeatedly make us feel uncomfortable by invading our personal space? No. Did we ask for the absolute condescension? No, but we will be a recipient of it nonetheless.
“Sure, you know *insert current stat* but do you know *insert random trivia fact from 50+ years ago*?” —The only mildly entertaining part of this one is when you shock them by giving them the correct answer and they claim you’re wrong BUT then google or someone else nearby informs them that they are in fact wrong. We didn’t ask for a trivia quiz, we simply decided to attend a sporting event, much like you. The difference being that no one will grill you all night about why you are there or if you should be there at all.
“Did you borrow that jersey? You don’t actually know who that player is do you or if you do, it’s only because you think that player is hot right?” —No, I bought this jersey for kicks. I assure you, we know exactly which jersey we wear and why. We don’t owe you any sort of justification for why that is. Maybe we love that player for the player they are, or because they are attractive or because they are a good human being or for a myriad of other reasons. Maybe that jersey is one that has familial connections and holds special meaning.
“You must not have played hockey to understand what *insert score* means?” I assure just because we may make a comment on the current score does not mean we understand the game less or have any relation to whether we have played the game or not.
Ask most guys and most will not have had one of any of the above experiences for simply trying to attend a game or express their opinion, most are encouraged to display that however they want. I can’t even imagine what it might be like to go to a game and NOT experience some form of misogyny.
On a happy note, the Our Voice Series–a series that puts the spotlight on women in the game is returning to the blog. Any women who’d like to take part or want a glimpse at what that looks like, can find more info the article linked below featuring the first edition of the series. OR simply send me an e-mail (email@example.com) for more information. Can’t wait to share more incredible stories representing women from all backgrounds in the next edition!
I know it’s been a LONG while since there’s been a post here, BUT that’s going to change. I took a bit of an extended break but I’m back and there will be many new posts coming in the pipeline. Stay TUNED. Returning to the blog over the next few weeks and months will be some classic favourites such as: Canuck Round Tables, relaunching the Our Voice series, some new yet to be named features and stand alone pieces.
I also couldn’t let this year come to an end without acknowledging TEN years of the blog. In TEN years, the aim was never to be the biggest blog, it was simply to create a space where I could express myself and talk about hockey. I never expected anyone to read any of it or connect with it. TEN years that this little blog has been going, TEN years of the unexpected, TEN years of sharing stories that were mine and yours.
Sharing experiences good and bad, with all of you has been life changing over these TEN years. Hockey has always been a happy place for me, a place that helps me to escape when the world is heavy BUT it is also a weight that feels incredibly heavy much of the time. Both of those facts can be true at once.
Hockey has both come a long way and also still has a long way to go before it truly is a space for everyone.
As we move into 2021, we need to talk about the way females are perceived and treated in the world of hockey and how it NEEDS to change. I’m tired of the mentality that is always defining the game for us. Women are constantly being told what we think or ought to think on any given day when it comes to hockey(or any sport really) or issues within the game itself. We have opinions and stories that matter and need to be told. We love a sport that too often doesn’t love us back.
I present to you, a new series: OUR Voice. A series that will shine a spotlight on women in hockey, whether it’s as a fan or working in the game. It will feature our stories, our truths and a perspective that often gets overlooked in all areas of the game. This series will be a recurring series and open to ANY and all women who’d like to participate.
Here’s to creating a space for everyone in 2021 and beyond. I present to you the first edition of OUR Voice. Read the words written by these women, maybe you’ll relate to similar experiences or have your eyes opened to experiences you didn’t know were possible. Also if you’re not following any of these women on Twitter, make sure to do so after you’ve finished reading their contributions below.
Courtney(@CeeJesse): “I’ve definitely put some thought into the topic of being a woman in hockey, whether it be playing of fandom.
For me, liking the sport was natural – a Canadian kid in Northern Ontario – and at a young age, the idea of gender didn’t come into play. My first year playing, I was a 9-year old in a read Timbits jersey, the only girl on the team but never feeling ‘othered’. It wasn’t until the second year, when the cliched bully joined the team, that it ever occurred to me that I was seen as different, that anyone would ever assume that I didn’t belong in the game.
After that is when I moved to the girls’ league, but the comments never stopped. It’s been over two decades and I still hear, ‘you know a lot about hockey for a girl!’ or ‘I didn’t know a girl could like hockey so much.’ It is beyond frustrating when you know those remarks would never be said about a (white) man. We have to constantly prove that we deserve our fan cards. I guarantee you can find a lot of female fans with the most random hockey knowledge tidbits, as if we’re expecting a pop quiz that we need to pass in order to show that we belong.
The best decision that I’ve ever made in hockey fandom is to find the best space to exist. Posting in a now-dormant live journal community (where a vast majority of the members identified as women) nearly a decade ago, gave me a place to just be me – a Canadian kid who loves to talk hockey and the Canucks. I never had to brace for the comments on my gender or a test to see if I was a true Hockey Fan(TM). A few women I met on there are still good friends to this day. Even lately, when I resigned myself to merely watching the game and enjoying it on my own, the Broadscast hit the scene and it reminded me that being part of the hockey fan community can be FUN, as long as you’re following accepting people.
My hope is that we get beyond that – that we won’t have to be picky and cautious about who we follow and interact with. Maybe someday the majority of people won’t look at women as ‘others’ in terms of hockey fans, but it still seems like a long way off. People still religiously follow a sports media platform known for their misogyny, and people still question the credentials of a newly hired female GM in the MLB despite her job history. For now, I’ll just keep being loud and opinionated about what I believe in – a proud hockey fan.
A few months ago, I was playing in my weekly old-timers/not-so-old-timers pick up hockey game, right back where I started – in a red jersey, the only gal on the ice with the guys. Hockey is my happy place and no one can take that from me.”
Serena(@CaptToeDrag): “My relationship with hockey is complicated. I love hockey, and it is the only sport that I follow on a deeper level. I get emotionally invested in my teams (Team Canada, Vancouver Canucks), and have spent more than I should on merchandise. I spent my first pay cheque on a Canucks jersey, and saved up enough money to finally see my first live Canucks game in 2012. I used to follow all the stats, watch all the games and follow prospects and potential NHL draftees. I even moderated a hockey forum (hello HFVan!).
I have also come to realize how the depth of my hockey fandom is tinged with undercurrents of misogyny and white supremacy.
I started watching hockey casually during the heydays of the West Coast Express, and fell off the bandwagon when Bertuzzi was suspended for the Moore incident. The rise of the Sedins brought me back into the fold, and the 2011 Stanley Cup run completed my transformation to die-hard fan.
As with most of my intertests, I hyper-focused and soon sought out like-minded fans to engage in deeper hockey conversations. Twitter and HFBoards is what I eventually settled upon, and I dove deep into the depths of hockey analysis and discussion. In my desire to be taken seriously and feel accepted in hockey fandom, I started embodying the Cool Girl(TM). I scoffed at ‘casuals’ and ‘puck bunnies’ for not being real fans and laughed off sexist jokes because unlike others, I was cool and not overly sensitive. I brushed aside Don Cherry’s xenophobic and racist remarks for years because, ‘he’s just an old guy ranting, what harm could he do?’. I weaponized my hockey fandom to appear more white adjacent because, ‘hey, I’m one of you!’.
“‘Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all, hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, s*** on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”‘– Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I eventually realized that, no matter how much I knew about hockey, it never mattered. My hockey fandom was always going to be subject to scrutiny and doubt because I am a woman, and especially because I am woman of colour. Even when I was able to ‘prove my credentials’, I was then deemed too intimidating because I knew too much. Though I am fortunate not to experience worse cases of misogyny, my experience was more ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and it was much too draining for me. It has taken a while to unlearn and deprogram the ‘Cool Girl’ mentality and I am still working on it.
All of this is to say that I have now become less invested in hockey. I will still follow the Canucks and their games, watching Team Canada in World Juniors and the Olympics, but not to the depth that I once did. Misogyny and racism had shaped my perspective as a hockey fan, and almost killed my love for the sport. I have started to approach hockey fandom from a healthier perspective, but I am still constantly doubting how much of my love for hockey is still a result of internalized misogyny and racism. I loved hockey, but hockey is as it is now, like a bad boyfriend, will never truly love me back.”
(@tams3333): “Well, where to start! I have so many stories! I remember in elementary school in the late 70’s and early 80’s coming home and making our way through dinner while my dad excused himself to go to the living room to watch TV. At first my mind couldn’t wrap around it. THERE WAS SO MUCH YELLING! My dad would be yelling at the players to SHOOT or he’d be swearing at something they had done. In my new to hockey mind, I thought, ‘They can’t hear you’ or ‘Dad doesn’t play hockey, how come he knows what they should do?’, but apparently now, I know the same things now when I am engorged in my TV.
I began to sit with my dad during games. I’d lie on our atrocious shag green carpet and he began to filter himself a little, not a lot, a little. He would ask me, ‘What’s that guy’s name they are interviewing?’ or to check the TV Guide for what games were on. My dad is dyslexic and struggled with the information and back then, not all the games were on TV. I began to listen to games on the radio in my room and collected news articles from the paper. At the time, unfortunately, I thought it would never be an option for me to play but maybe I could be a writer or work for the team somehow when I was older. I didn’t know any girls at the time that played. Both myself and my dad would write down stats for the games or what goalies played. I would keep my dad up to date with all the goings on of the canuckle-head world. We didn’t have much money but I do remember going to a game or two with my dad, and I remember collecting hockey cards that I still keep enshrined in an album, barely touched.
I remember Cam Neely getting traded and thinking that it was a mistake, I remember Trevor LInden leaving, I remember my dad loving Stan Smyl’s never quit play, I remember towl powere and thinking that it was my fault Don Cherry called Bure a weasel(long story), I remember being at game 6 and hoping that Linden was okay. I remember discussing all of these things with my dad. Now, my dad is in his 80’s and it’s been my turn for awhile now. I take him to games, or let him know when the season is starting and what players will be back. I still help him with PVR-ing games as ‘it never records the end of the game, honey!’ and as well I deliver him a calendar every year where he keeps track of his stats while I’ve moved onto Twitter and Instagram.
I honestly don’t know what could have been better for bonding a father-daughter relationship in hockey than the mutual love of a Canadian team. Although, I have nothing but gratefulness and love for the game of hockey, I just wish that when I was a young girl so passionate about hockey, that girl’s hockey was more common place because, playing in front of my dad, the sport he loves much, that would have been the ultimate childhood dream.”
Medina Z(@MrsMMZ_2018): “Growing up in a sports town, being a girl who loves football and hockey is the norm. That being said, that doesn’t mean that it’s fully accepted. As a female fan, we are constantly put through the ringer of ‘why’; hounded by our male counterparts to ultimately prove that our fandom is valid or ‘worthy’ by being asked to spout off random facts, stats and what have you.
‘Oh, you’re a fan of such-and-such…well who was their running back in 1978 in week 4 who scored ONLY one time the entire season, 12 minutes 47 seconds into the second quarter…you do know what a quarter is right?’
‘If you are a such-and-such fan, then who wore number 41 for that team in 2004 and how many goals did he score that year? What was his corsi average…oh sorry…do I need to explain corsi average to you?’
These questions, along with sexist, borderline sexual harassment based, and downright rude comments, are an everyday occurrence for me and other female sports fans both in public and on social media.
What is worse is that this type of behaviour is basically accepted. Not just by other fans but by the sports leagues themselves. No matter how much they want to portray an all-inclusive mentality, or try to integrate females more into broadcasts, events, etc., the fact is that there are very few ‘faces’ within those male professional sports organizations that come forward asking for change and condemning those who make female fans feel unworthy.
As a former staff writer for a Penguins Hockey blog (that is no longer in existence), my articles garnered verbal/written attacks questioning my facts and sources (even though they were cited) or even just stating flat out that I didn’t know anything about the sport (‘Girls don’t know anything about hockey, they just want to sleep with players.’). Listen, Jack, I’m not WAG material…never have been, never will be, so let’s put that to rest right now, okay?
My pieces also brought shock and bewilderment that a girl, who sadly never got to play hockey, knew so much (because doing research is SOOOO hard right?). I remember going to an event with other media and bloggers and we got to ask whatever questions that we wanted to Pierre McGuire (yes, THAT Pierre McGuire) and no one was piping up to ask anything, so I just went for it and asked a question regarding (former Penguins bust of a defenseman) Derek Pouliot. Everyone just kind of stared at me for a second…Pierre included. He answered quickly after but just the awkward few seconds of silence that followed my question was unnerving. I didn’t know if I should have been flattered or embarrassed. The fact that I even had to question it says a lot. Would there have been such a ‘shock and awe’ moment had the question come from a man?
Being a female fan is hard, and it shouldn’t be. Not by any means. We should not have to beg for permission or validation to be a fan. We should not have to prove our worthiness to little men who’s only physical activity in life included using their thumbs to play Madden or NHL(whatever year).
Here is a thought: what if we treated men who are fans of musical theatre, or ballet, or baking competitions, for example; the same way as they treat women who are sports fans?
‘Oh you like show tunes? Who is the most decorated musical composer of the modern age of musical theatre then? What show won the most Tony Awards in 1998 and who were they against? Oh sorry…do I have to explain what a Tony Award is?’
‘Oh you went to the ballet? Oh you like the ballet? Tell me who first choreographed a stage production of Swan Lake and who the principal ballerina was at the time? Who was the first African American principal ballerina for American Ballet Theatre? Oh wait…do you know what “principal” means?’
But do we? No, we don’t. We respect and welcome the fact that they are fans. Which begs the question, why do we not warrant the same respect?”
(@AvsQueen20): “One of the best memories I have, happened at an Avalanche home game about 5 years ago; I was at a Tampa Bay/Avalanche game and I was about 20 rows off the glass. I’m screaming at plays, players, calling the refs a joke, the usual hockey stuff. This gentleman in his 50s comes up and he said: ‘Ma’am, I want to say this, I have no idea about this game, but hearing you shout, scream and show your support is amazing! Keep it up!’
The WORST memory that I have had was 2 years ago, I bought tickets to a Penguins/Avs game and it was CROWDED with pens fans. We were in the upper corner and I had offered the ticket to our Avs family group that I manage on Facebook. The guy showed up in no gear, said he had to go to work after the game and was on his phone the walk in. We get to the seats after I grab a beer and food for myself; I’m watching the game, cheering and such, the guy who had the other ticket kind of chatted, asking how I got into hockey and I told him through my dad. Well the 3rd period came, and I went down to grab another beer, I knew I was going be there a bit and I took the train in. The guy asked me to buy him a beer and he’d pay me back at the end of the night. So I did, he had the beer and slugged it, halfway through the 3rd period, he leaves saying he had to work.
So one, I’m pissed cause the dude didn’t stay, now I bought him a beer to be nice AND nothing. Well the pens were losing I think 5-2 or something and these darn Penguins fans behind me kept screaming ‘YOU SUCK GRUBAUER’. So I was already irritated and yelled back, ‘Where’s Murray then?’. The guys respond, ‘He’s playing, girl.’ And I’m like: ‘Not very well, too bad you lost Fleury to Vegas.’ Then I turned back and the guys had no response to me.
Later that night, the guy who had the other ticket, started harrassing me, sending sexually explicit texts and just really nasty stuff; all I wanted was for him to send me the money owed that we had agreed on. Well, he never did and ended up getting banned in our Avs Family Facebook group. For the most part, I’ve had great experiences.”
(@canucksprayoffs): “I’m not sure if this holds any value but I love not only watching but playing hockey too. I can’t skate and in high school there was no ball hockey team so in grade 10, I joined what was the closest things to it: field hockey. I’m naturally a lefty but for field hockey, you have to play right handed because of the sticks. I worked hard to adjust and eventually learnt how to play as a righty. In grade 12, the school had its first ball hockey team. I was excited until I found out it was for boys only. I obviously voiced my opinion on it but it made zero difference. I was so jealous. They had tryouts but it didn’t matter because I was a girl and I couldn’t join anyways. I also had an IT teacher who knew that I was a huge hockey fan and I made all of my assignments somehow hockey related -I’d always find a way. Yet, he would try to ‘quiz’ me by pretending to casually ask me about the game the night before and about prior offseason moves, it was awkward and made me feel belittled. I should also mention the amount of times that I’ve been called a ‘puck bunny’ or ‘groupie’ for supporting Virtanen when he played for Team Canada. I also received death threats.”
(@ArtUnwound): “I was raised by a man who loved football and hockey. Weekends were for watching sports. We also lived in an apartment building that was home to a lot of Canucks players in North Vancouver. This was the mid ’70s. I lived and breathed Canucks. I moved away to Northern BC in 1983 and my ex-husband was not a sports fan at all, in fact, my desire to watch the Grey Cup game instead of hanging with him was a factor in the end of our relationship. Both my sons are hockey fans but it’s my younger son(who’s 32) that has bonded with me over sports. He calls me at intermissions to discuss the previous period or texts me after a great play, and we just really enjoy talking sports. He regularly asks my opinion about hockey pools or prospects. Most men are pretty dismissive about my hockey knowledge but I have found that most of them are just not used to women understanding the game in their own right. I will never stop being a hockey fan, regardless of other’s opinions. I am grateful to have found like minded women on Twitter who understand, but mostly I am grateful for the bond that my son and I have been able to form through our mutual love of the game.”
(@allychesham): “I fell in love with watching hockey when I was 12 years old. My dad was a major reason why I got so into the sport and 10 years later, the game has continued to provide me with entertainment, great memories, and family bonding moments. The unfortunate thing is that being a female fan, there have been countless times when I have felt excluded by the sport I love. I think it’s important to note that I’m saying this as a cishet white woman, so this feeling of rejection in the hockey community can be much worse for those who do not identify as I do. A lot of women have to deal with the classic assumption that they do not actually understand the game or that they watch for superficial reasons. As a result, I have tended to keep my passion for hockey to myself for the most part. Female fans also have to handle constant reminders from the sport that we are not valued the same way male fans are. This is especially clear every so often when we get to watch the top professional league fail to properly address issues pertaining to misogyny. I know there has been progress made over the years but it would be amazing to see a bit of a cultural overhaul occur within the sport in terms of the way women are involved and supported. As someone who hopes to one day find themselves working in sports media, I do remain hopeful that there will eventually be more positive changes and our voices will start to be valued and included more often.”
Clarissa S.(@quinnsedgework): “After a tumultuous year, I’m left to reflect on both critical moments in society and my own personal experience in the COVID-19 pandemic. That initself is a challenge, with days that seemed to blend together and way too much time spent overthinking my life choices. Along with several obvious things to appreciate such as family, friends and social media, I embraced sports initially as a space to consume content and socialize in, and eventually as a site of politics with mentors that gave me a sense of belonging. In particular, with only half a year spent on #HockeyTwitter, I’ve observed and united with the force that is women in sports, with hopes of the same pressures for change to continue. In this piece, I discuss how I was reminded of my love for hockey and the struggles that I’ve faced in such a short period of time as a queer woman of colour in the digital sports world, and why I still look forward to taking up space in 2021.
When the lock down was announced early in the year, most of the naive reception I saw online was positive. University classes moving to Zoom allowed me to sleep in and saved me from spending more time taking transit to the class than sitting in it (shout out SFU). As restrictions became, well, stricter and I was left with my family and the internet, I chose to waste my days playing Nintendo Switch, visiting my sister’s room three times a day to show her TikToks, and randomly deciding to re-watch the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs on YouTube, re-activating the fan that I left to perish with that Canucks run.(And fortunately, I didn’t miss much in their following seasons anyway).
I began to follow NHL hockey teams, players and fans on my personal Twitter account. THe dynamic nature of controversial opinions, niche memes that my sister didn’t understand, and thirst posts over athletes made it easy to continue scrolling my timeline for hours on end. Then, the league announced their Return-To-Play plan, released training camp content, and safely assembled their NHL bubbles. Albeit the prison-like-environment, the players did what they they came to do. When the Canucks lost in the 2nd round to the Vegas Golden Knights, I created a separate Canucks fan account after annoying my non-hockey fan friends on my former Twitter.
At the start, I feared the digital sports fan landscape would be dominated by white, cis men. As professional hockey is evidently lacking diversity from its rosters (and I soon recognized in its media as well), I assumed the audience would demonstrate the same. With several questionable events during the playoffs, including former analyst Mike Milbury’s sexist comments on-air and the NHL’s performative solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement through their #WeSkateFor campaign, my expectations were only reinforced.
However, I owe my entry into Hockey Twitter to Jo(@notafan_jo), a talented Black woman who loves hockey and art, often combining the two interests. She led me to follow even more marginalized hockey fans, just like me, I discovered Black Girl Hockey Club(@BlackGirlHockey), a non-profit that became an important vehicle for change regarding hockey and accessibility. I religiously listened to the Broadscast(@BroadscastPod), a podcast of five inspirational women who discuss my favourite team and rightfully criticize problematic happenings on Twitter and in sports. I managed to associate myself with users I identified with, began to learn more about inclusivity in sport, and recognized my interests in writing about exactly that.
Enter: my random Tweet request of a guy dribbling that Elias Pettersson decided to remake and made viral. I informally became a better known member of #Canucks Twitter, reached out to writers at Canucks Army (shout out to Faber @ChrisFaber39 and Quads @Quadrelli), and found interest in niche topics, excluding the hockey part and rating their Halloween costumers and ranking the cutest Canucks pets.
Though I had fun with these articles and learned a lot from fellow writers, I felt detached and began wanting to fit into their common analytics-based writing. Additionally, I felt like I was suppressing my true passions to advance the narrative of women belonging in sports due to both apolitical norms and overwhelmingly degrading and baseless responses that these ideas attract on social media. When Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 Football game and Kim Ng became the first woman of colour to be an MLB manager; comment sections were chock full of misogyny and gate-keeping. When Major Junior Hockey League player, Yanic Duplessis came out as gay in September, the posts drew homophobic comments. When Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear wore his jersey with his name in Cree, Instagram comments exhibited blatantly anti-Indigenous racism. These forms of discrimination not only made me outraged, but exhausted, as I argued with a faceless Troy29381039 everyday to contest the space that I thought was made for me.
In truth, I’m still conflicted, especially after the Fall semester and basing my two final papers on the NHL’s hashtag activism and sports news framing of athlete activism in the playoffs. I felt a proud rush when amplifying players of colour or criticizing problematic but dreaded the disapproval from traditional understandings that sports should remain apolitical. Journalists like Shireen Ahmed(@shireenahmed) and Hemal Jhaveri(@hemjhaveri) not only encouraged me to refocus my interests and keep writing, but acted as symbolic, optimistic reflections of myself in my uncertain future. My appreciation for and aspiration in joining women of colour in sports media only grows.
I know, I’m still in that safe, early 20’s period of not knowing what I’m doing (and am probably overreacting), but I truly believe #HockeyTwitter gave me a chance to revise personal goals and confirm my definite interest in sports writing. More significantly, I hope fans will enter this new year with the very reasonable understanding that yes, women in all facets of sports belong, but are also essential to ensuring sports are inclusive, entertaining and diverse. To the women and queer folx I met on #HockeyTwitter; thank-you for making space for me. Let’s make more in 2021.”
Ashley(@Ashonice): “Trying to put into words what being a woman in hockey is like is difficult. As I said on Twitter as I worked on this: ‘words are hard’. They’re even harder when you are trying to breaking down the barrier you’ve enforced yourself because that’s what my journey in hockey has been like – compartmentalizing the bad aspects away so that I can focus on the good.
First, some backstory. I was introduced to hockey in the season after the Vancouver Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins. It was an interesting time to come into hockey for a math-oriented woman from Washington State -analytics was in it’s infancy, Seattle NHL was years away from announcement, and women in hockey were really better off silent. A friend asked me to watch a game, teased me with how hockey wasn’t just about pucks and sticks but stories, and I gave in. Eventually I was hooked on speed, skill, and yes, those story lines.
I was fortunate when I started finding my place in the hockey world to be able to build a community around me that was diverse and inclusive, but I quickly realized that as a woman, I was definitely a minority in both hockey and hockey analytics. I strived to change that, and in November 2015, I joined the now dark HockeyStats.CA as the Director of Social Media. This opened my eyes even further to a prevailing assumption that all hockey people were supposed to be men, particularly they should be white men. Even at the end of my work with the site, I was correcting people – primarily men – that I was not, in fact, a guy. However, that was preferable to the abuse I would receive when they realized a woman was the one running the account. Comments of ‘get back to the kitchen’ or ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’, were the polite ones directed at me – and only me, because for whatever reason, they were smart enough to not send these to the HockeyStats.CA account, but my personal one.
Having that previously mentioned community of support around me was vital in learning how to compartmentalize and just be a fan of a sport that continuously treats woman terribly. For example, writing about Patrick Kane during the allegations against was one of the most difficult things I had done to that point in hockey and discovering the management of where I was writing at, at the time did not support my post was one of the loneliest moments I can remember. Being able to lean on friends and allies saw me through that and so many other moments where hockey or someone in hockey disappointed me.
There has been progress, of a sorts. In 2017, there was only a handful of women attending analytics conferences:( https://twitter.com/ashonice/status/840603219327836161?s=21 ). The following year, one in three presenters at the Vancouver Hockey Analytics Conference was a woman. By 2019, we would be excited about there being an actual line for the women’s restroom at the Seattle Hockey Analytics Conference.
But it feels like that progress comes at a price. The more visible women are in hockey, the louder and more abusive the naysayers seem to get. They attack our thoughts, our looks, our hobbies outside of Twitter. They threaten violence against us, harass us for days on end, make multiple accounts to evade blocks and so much more. If they’re not doing that, they’re questioning your knowledge of the game, calling you a puck bunny and saying you only like hockey because of the hot men…and so on and so on.
I haven’t quite hit a decade as a hockey fan and it’s a continuous cycle of reminding myself of how much I love the game. I want to make it easier and better for those who come after me. So I remind myself that being involved is better than not being involved. That nothing will change if we don’t keep trying to change it. That hockey is worth it.”
Sarah(@nucksaid): “Where do I even begin? I can remember with distinct clarity each moment when I have been unequivocally told that hockey is not a space that I am welcome in. When I fell in love with hockey, it wasn’t long before it was made crystal clear that not only does hockey not love me back the same way but that in particular as a female fan the game is constantly being defined for me. From the moment I began following the game, because of my gender it is assumed that I only watch the game to keep an eye on players deemed good looking or because a man influenced me to watch the game or some other inane superficial reason not because I actually have an interest in the game itself. And then there’s the ridiculous obscure trivia test that comes out if you’ve already proven your fandom with facts because if you’re knowledgeable that still isn’t acceptable and will be proven because you don’t know this random fact from 1942.
And when I decided to start a hockey blog in the summer of 2012, I was initially scared to even share it publicly let alone on multiple social media platforms because I was worried about what the reaction would be to my hockey themed blog written and solely put together by a woman. At the time, there were many hockey and Canucks themed blogs written by men, but not many by women that I could find. I had opinions to share and stories to write but no outlet to express it, and decided that I’d create it myself. It wasn’t easy and I’ve received backlash over years from men in particular who rather than simply say they disagreed with me and/or my opinion, would leave comments that would need blocking/removing and send DMs that will never be repeated, and honestly there were times when I thought there wasn’t a point in continuing with the blog journey. It became particularly hard when I started attending more games at the arena as a season ticket member, in person harassment hits in a whole different way than the online trolls. When you go to the one place that’s meant to be your happy place and you’re made to feel as though you have no business being part of it, it’s an incredibly deflating feeling. And then there are commentators that cover game defining you as a distraction and making it abundantly clear with continuous misogynistic comments on each national broadcast that you are not welcome to be part of this world.
Social media is double edged sword, it is as cruel as it is kind most days. There are lines crossed lines and boundaries crossed every single day for most women, it can be what feels like an unending onslaught. On the other side, there’s magic in connecting with souls who have had similar experiences and those who are ACTIVELY working to make sports a more welcoming place for all parties. There have been some incredible allies to cross my path at exactly the right moments, reminding me that my voice matters.
8.5 years later and I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.”
A massive thank-you to EACH AND EVERY woman who took the time to share their story here and all those are always using their voices to help make hockey a safer and bigger space for all of us.Hockey as it is, isn’t for everyone but one day it could be and wouldn’t that be amazing?
Another season has officially come to a close but it was one that will be remembered for a LONG time.This season has been an absolute emotional roller coaster, and I’m feeling all of the emotions but mostly incredibly grateful to have been able to witness run that was never supposed to happen if we had believed all the “expert” predictions prior to the start of the official Return to Play or those at the start of the regular season. This entire season was one with more optimism from start to finish than there has been surrounding the franchise in nearly a decade. It was incredible to witness.
The promise from the start was that this team wanted to get back to the playoffs and have a real taste of winning important games. Then came COVID putting a halt on what had been a promising season and no idea when things would pick up again or if this season would even have a chance to be officially completed. Then came the Return to Play plan and with it the bubble life. It could not have been an easy decision to make leaving your families behind and being isolated but you did something incredibly special as a team that this entire fan base will never forget. You gave us a semblance of normalcy during a time when it felt that normal was impossible. You gave us something that evoked hope and pride all at once and for that I’m eternally grateful. If you had told me the ending before it even began, I’m not sure how many people would’ve believed it possible that this team would play 17 games in the post-season.
First up was the task of facing the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round. A best of 5 series that would require a full team effort and one that most experts said would end in the Wild’s favour and those voices got louder after Minnesota took the first game of the series. What happened next was a young team finding that next gear, their competitive drive and earning every inch of the ice over the next two games as the excitement from the fans was growing louder with each game. Game 4, down a goal in the third, it was the captain coming through with a timely goal to force extra time and an opportunity to clinch the teams first post-season series since 2011. It was the perfect script, win and it would mean the team’s first playoff berth in 5 years or it would have social media buzzing about other possible draft outcomes had this postseason format had never occurred.
Well…it happened with the better than perfect script ending…11 seconds into overtime and just as we all predicted(or so we wish!), TANNY came through with the series clinching goal.
Look at that toothless grin and that look of pure joy? THAT is a goal that we will long remember as the one that clinched your first postseason series win in 9 years and the one that clinched the team’s first playoff berth in 5 years!
Next up was a first round match up with the St.Louis Blues was their reward for winning the qualifiers. Taking on the defending champs was not for the faint of heart but an exciting challenge for this young core to be taking on. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Opening with a thrilling 2-0 series lead that featured a touching tribute from Stecher to his dad and a human highlight reel Horvat was more than Canucks fans could have hoped for against a tough St.Louis team.
And we all knew that the Blues as the defending Stanley Cup champions wouldn’t go down easy, and before you knew it, the series was tied 2-2, setting up a best of 3. Game 5 started with a Motte short-handed goal before St.Louis took control with a 2-goal lead and looked to continue their series momentum. Or at least that’s how it seemed until you flipped the script by storming back with 3 unanswered goals, with Marky closing the door to steal game 5. From a tied series to putting the defending champs on the brink, it was electric.
Game 6 exceeded any and all expectations as far as elimination games go with a full 60 minute effort from the entire team. Just like that you were winning your first PLAYOFF SERIES in 9 years! I only wish that you could have heard all of us in more than just video or through social media, Rogers Arena would have been rocking during and after game 6. Congratulations on a spectacular series, it’s one that I will remember for always.
Success brings on new challenges…this time in the form of the Vegas Golden Knights. A team that since entering the league has had your number and one that nearly everyone expected to make this series a short one.
A tough opening game was followed by a much better game 2 to even up the series and further ignite a spark on both sides. After games 3 and 4, most experts thought the series was over with you trailing 3-1, but they didn’t realize you had a secret weapon still to be unleashed: Thatcher Demko.
The questions were raised if he could rise to the occasion after not having started in a playoff game yet, and not played a full game since March. Every question was answered with sensational save after sensational save as he brought the team back from the brink.
The level of which Demko was able to lift his game when called upon was incredible and nearly helped you sneak into the next round. If you had told us at the start of the season that you’d end up in a thrilling 7-game series against Vegas, I’m not sure how many would have believed it possible and yet, YOU DID.
17 games. 11 wins. Priceless experience for a team like that. Experience that will pay dividends for years to come for this young core. Here’s to taking a moment to appreciate everything you’ve been through, taking time to rest with your families and to preparing for the future that has arrived far sooner than many expected.
Thank-you, hardly seems enough for what you gave us during this crazy chaotic time of uncertainty and it meant more than you could possibly imagine. This was a unique moment in time in which you gave up a lot so that we could have a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos, and that did not go unnoticed.
Thank-HUGHES for the magic that was this past season even if it didn’t have the ending you hoped for, know that you gave hope to all of us during this crazy pandemic time. It was quite a ride, and I’m so grateful for every single second of it and can’t wait for the new season just around the corner.
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?
Hello again hockey fans, are you going as crazy as I am without your regular hockey fix? To help pass the time while we wait, I decided to create the Nucksaid: Suspended Series. A series that puts the spotlight on the fans and their hockey stories. Many of my favourite stories are those of fellow fans and how hockey stole their hearts. So, I open this up to ALL of you whether you are a fellow Vancouver Canucks fan, rival fan, front line hero, local or halfway across the globe, if you have a hockey story to share, I’m happy to put the spotlight on YOU. Even though we are apart right now, we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it one day at a time. What I’m asking if you’re willing, is for you to share what the game means to you or maybe you have a funny anecdote or a moment that you’d like to share that changed the way you see the game. What you share is completely up to you.
Today, I present to you the next participant in the Nucksaid Suspended Series. Below you will find her words and if you’re not following her on twitter, make sure to note her twitter handle below & give her a follow!).
Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann):“This NHL season has turned me back into a die hard hockey fan. I’m a Canucks fan, and as most Canucks fans know, the last few years have been tough. And to be honest, I’ve cheered for this team through those years, and at times, it was very tough. It was tough to see other teams get to go to the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup and watch my team have an April exit, but this season changed everything for me. I’m not quite sure what it is, I think for the first time in a while, we have some hope. This team has shown that it can fight for the playoffs and even be one of the best teams in our division. I think because this season surprised me, I, not once believed we’d be a lottery team. I knew we were good, but I didn’t think we’d be as good as we’ve been. Yes, we’ve had our inconsistent moments and our losing streaks but we a young team and a learning team. I know that we’re going to be a dominant force in the years to come. The way the team is beginning to gel together is reminding me of 2011 and I have a feeling, that unlike 2011, we will win the Cup, and I have a feeling it may be soon.
The question is what? What is this team bringing hope and joy for the first time in a long while? I think we finally have talent that can rival the 2011 team. We’re getting a core group of players together, and what a core it is! Who know back in 2013, that we had drafted our captain? Bo Horvat has been an amazing captain in his first year. I can see how the Sedins have had an influence on him. I see the humility that the Sedins had and I see their leadership skills in him. I can’t wait for Horvat to be the first captain in Canucks history to lift the Cup!
We also have an insanely talented defenseman, who I have no idea how he was still there at 7th overall!!! I expected Quinn to be amazing but record setting amazing?!?!?! What a rookie performance by Hughes! His creativity and the way he can just get the puck off of players is crazy! We’ve never had a defensive talent like him and I know he’s going to get some NHL hardware in his career.
Speaking of players with NHL trophies, our Swedish sensation! What a sophomore season from Petey! I knew he was going to have just another amazing season after his Calder win last year. I think Petey is one of the most fun and amazing people to watch on the ice. Every time he steps on the ice, I hold my breath as I know he’s going to do something extraordinary. If the season resumes, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Petey’s usual line-mate was having a great season too. What can I say about Brock Boeser this season? I feel like his game has changed a bit, but for the better. Yes, he’s still scoring but his defensive play has grown too. He’s becoming an amazing 2-way forward with unbelievable talent. Also, I’ve been impressed by his heart, the donation of $1000 for every goal her scores, to raise money for a cure for Parkinson’s disease is just so amazing. Yes, he had injuries but he’s healthy now, and a healthy Boeser is something the league should fear.
Overall, this season has meant a lot to me! There have been so many incredible moments from the 50th anniversary celebrations: Sedin Night(which was amazing as I got to see it live!), to seeing our new bonified number one NHL goalie in Marky. I know this is just the beginning of what I hope, is a resurgence in the Canucks and I cannot wait to tag along for the ride.”
Special thank-you to Brieann for sharing her story with all of us! I look forward to bringing you many more stories as we continue to navigate through this new normal of a suspended season and await the game that changed all of our lives whether that’s to empty arenas or a canceled season or a delayed season next year. If you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured simply send me an email(firstname.lastname@example.org) or find me on twitter(@nucksaid) and we will make it happen.
I miss you. I miss the sounds of the game from sticks, pucks and skates hitting the ice to the anthems to the on ice noise balanced by the arena crowds to that final buzzer. When I try really hard, I can still hear them ever so faintly, but it’s not the same. I miss the game day rituals from my own superstitions to seeing my friends at the games to witnessing magic with 18,000+ other fans.
At this point we should be deep into the first round of playoffs and getting a feel for what the second will look like but that’s not where we are. These are unprecedented times unlike any other. Instead of seeing an flurry of playoff excitement and brackets busting, we are all hunkered down while we adjust to the new normal of self-isolating and a world with no sports and world health crisis. It was absolutely the right move to step away right now but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It is times like these when the world feels heavy, that you are often the place we turn to for solace.
When things go dark in the world, hockey is often my safe place to fall back on. The world is in a very hard place across the globe, and there is no hockey, no sports, no concerts, and no big events that can be our distraction. In a matter of seconds the game takes my breath away. It both breaks my heart and makes my heart burst with joy.
Yes, the truth is that I miss hockey and I miss it immensely, but it needs to do better when it comes back from this suspended season. Hockey is far from perfect, there is a massive amount of work to be done when it comes back for it to truly feel like hockey is for everyone.There are a lot of times when there are gaps to the truth of that statement and too many are on the outside looking in. People will often ask those on the outside why they keep coming back to it when it’s an unequal space, we come back because we deserve to be a part of that space too. The season may be on pause, but that doesn’t mean that the work to improve should stop, it means there is more time to really dig deep to be better across the board.
Hello out there hockey friends, are you going as crazy as I am without your regular hockey fix? We should be deep into the first round of the playoffs right about now, and while I know its absolutely the right thing for EVERYONE, my heart still aches every time I think about it. As this pause will seemingly last for a long while(and already has), I have been racking my brain to think of a fun way to pass the time. The one that kept coming back to me, was the fans and their stories. It’s no secret that some of my favourite stories are those fellow fans and how hockey stole their hearts. So, I open this up to ALL of you whether you are a fellow Vancouver Canucks fan, rival fan, front line hero, local or halfway across the globe, if you have a hockey story to share, I’m happy to put the spotlight on YOU.
Even though we are apart, we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it one day at a time. What I’m asking is for you to share what the game means to you or maybe you have a funny anecdote or a moment that you’d like to share that changed the way you see the game. What you share is up to you.
Today, I present to you the first two participants in the Nucksaid Suspended Series. Below you will find their words and if you’re not following them on twitter, make sure to note their handles below & give them both a follow!).
1. Tina Poole(@tpoole00): “I got into hockey in the early 90’s. It was kind of a family tradition. My mom’s side of the family was always big into sports, be it hockey, CFL football or baseball in the summers. My mom is originally from Winnipeg and moved out here when she was 9. When I was growing up, if it was a Saturday or there was a Canucks game on, everyone would be watching.
Christmas gifts(starting in 1994) always involved tickets to a game of the latest EA Sports NHL PC game. Another memorable Christmas gift was the year I got a wooden hockey stick. It helped me out in many street hockey games. The camaraderie of those games remains in my memory. Another memorable gift was the white skate jersey I got for my 7th birthday. I currently use it to collect autographs. Cliff Ronning was the first Canuck to autograph my jersey.
One thing I miss that I wish the Canucks would bring back is fan appreciation day where the fans got to meet the team after the season ended. I appreciate the open practices that take place throughout the season.
My cousin played hockey through high school. He got as far as Junior B with the Salmon Arm Salmonbellies. He had a tryout with the Junior A Coquitlam Express.
I also enjoy the social media aspect of hockey. I blog about hockey, contributing to Total Canucks and my own personal blog. Most of the time, twitter is a great forum to follow hockey during games. I also take part in a couple of game threads on Facebook during games.
The experience of watching hockey has definitely evolved with the emergence of the internet and social meda.
I am excited to see the Canucks finally hoist the Stanley Cup in the next several years.”
2. Jen Allan(@getthepuckuout):“When Ben Hutton was a rookie, he partook in the ice & dice fundraiser. He had to lip sync and chose the song, “In a Barbie World.” I watched the stream of his performance and laughed really hard. Years pass, I believe 4. I go to an autograph signing and as I’m putting down my jersey in front of Ben Hutton, I say to him, ‘Every time I see one of your highlights, all I hear in my head is “In a Barbie World.”‘ He burst out laughing. He really does have a great smile and laugh.”
Special thank-you to both Tina & Jen for sharing their stories with me and all of you! I look forward to bringing you many more stories as we navigate through this new normal of the suspended season and await the return of the game that means so much more than a game to all of us. If you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured simply send me an email(email@example.com) or find me on twitter(@nucksaid) and we will make it happen.
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(firstname.lastname@example.org). 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!]