Vancouver Canucks: Rumour has it…

Rumour has it according to all of the experts on social media that the Vancouver Canucks are looking to make a splash in the off-season moving up in the draft and a few other trades. Rumour also has it that they will make zero moves. The rumour mill is as always in full motion at this time of year.

According to social media and local reporting media, I have absolutely NOTHING to look forward to ahead in the upcoming season or the next few as a Vancouver Canucks fan. If it was up to them, I would not be a fan of the Canucks.

Well I hate to break the news, but regardless of whatever negative jargon they write, I will ALWAYS root for my team. And yes, I know that they are not near the top of the league and may be in that position for a while. And no, you do not have to tell me the stats or that your story lines are based on fact, I am more than well aware of what the team’s statistics are and  of their current situation.

I know what their reality is of the past and the present. Regardless of what their future holds, I will be standing by supporting them every single step of the way. No matter how they do at the draft, what their season record is or whether they make the post-season or not, I will be there to support them every step of the way. It may put me in the minority as you always tend to tell me, but that’s fine by me. It only means I have to cheer even louder. (Sorry not sorry!). And I will no longer allow someone’s view of me and how I am a hockey fan impact HOW and WHEN I support my team.

Yes, I know I may seem odd as a hockey fan that despite a mass of negativity from the media or other fans on social media that I always look for the good within the mess or silver lining, but having a different perspective on the game is NOT a bad thing.

This off-season, with the growing negativity, rumour has it that I’ve been considering a new venture to be a part of the blog. It’s true but first, I would need a little help from all of you. What am I asking from you? I’m thinking of creating a Canucks hockey podcast but as I’ve never made a podcast or been a part of one, this is something I would like to try. I am open to ANY and ALL advice. I love talking about hockey with anyone and everyone, even if we have different opinions, it’s one of my favourite things. If you have any advice on creating a podcast or would like to be a part of creating a new podcast, leave a comment below, connect with me on twitter (@nucksaid) or send me an email (nucksaid@gmail.com). 

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

SHH…it’s a hockey game.

Saturday night was a tale of three periods on the ice, but also for me in the stands while attending the Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames game at Rogers arena.

The first period was all kinds of entertainment. The anthem was top notch as always when led by Mark Donnelly. We were in a great section with fans cheering for the team straight from puck drop. I love it when the arena is loud and completely in unison showing support for the team and grief for the refs. Our section felt like it was completely in sync(or so I thought, more on that later). The goal from Eagle may not have been how the team drew it up and yes most nights a shot from centre ice does not end up in the back of the net, but it got the arena up on their feet and the opening goal for the home team.

And then as enjoyable as the game began, it was suddenly not at all. It went slightly downhill during the first intermission when a fan in front of me turned around to let me know how to showcase proper etiquette: “Shh…it’s a hockey game. Please do not cheer so loudly, we are watching the game. Thank-you.”

Umm…no, why thank-you, I was not aware that this was a hockey game or that nearly 18,000 fans were meant to be silent. I was unaware that we were watching two different games. Or more accurately, I was unaware that I am not allowed to cheer for my team in their own arena along with the other fans in our shared section. Suddenly this game went from fun to being silenced in the stands. Ryan Miller made save after save and I was forced to merely observe, not allowed to actively participate in any of the activity that makes hockey games an experience. I was present but it felt as though I was  And you know what, watching the game in silence, not being a part of the voices ringing out in the arena is no fun whatsoever.

By the time, the second intermission hit, I was completely out of sorts. This was not how the game was supposed to go. Attending a hockey game is not supposed to make me feel like an outsider unwelcome.

Cue the third period and overtime. By the start of the third period, I was feeling a little lost being a place that has always felt like home but on this night was made to feel like a bit of an outsider. Just when I was beginning to wonder if maybe the problem was me and my cheering for the team, a fellow female fan sitting next to us turned and started talking to us about the game. A life long Canucks fan, but this was her first game in nearly 3 years and she told us that our cheering was not a disturbance but rather helped make her feel like she did when she came games when she was a kid. Pretty soon we were talking about all things hockey and Canucks. Together, we cheered loud for the rest of the game and yes when that buzzer beater went it to the send the game to overtime, we were in a state of slight disbelief and annoyance and excitement for the impending overtime. This was also the first time that she had ever witnessed the craziness that is 3-on-3 overtime and what a game for Chris Tanev to score that game winning goal.

To the fellow kindred spirit who shared the third period with us supporting the team, thank-you for completely turning the night around and turning the hostile environment back into the one that felt like home. It made all the difference and really helped make the night memorable for all of the right reasons. So glad that you got to see a home win! Thank-you again and welcome back to the rink, I hope you guys get to make it to more games now!

And to the stranger who felt the need to try to teach me the proper etiquette of attending a hockey game, guess what? You’re right that we were indeed at a hockey game but that does not give you the right to tell me or any other fan how and when to cheer for THEIR team. And perhaps you enjoy watching the game in silence, but for me that’s not in my nature to be silent especially when it comes to watching hockey live. I will not apologize for showing support for my team while in their arena and I will no longer be silenced or made to feel uncomfortable. I guess you missed the memo that hockey is for everyone.

Perhaps next season, I will have to make sure to be in that newly minted supporter’s section for all of the games that I attend?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E L.

Vancouver Canucks: Don’t Stop Believing.

“How disappointed are you by the Vancouver Canucks this season?”, is the most common question I have heard since before the puck even dropped on the season. Nearly every single day, without fail, someone asks me that same question. Do you want to know the truth?  I’m disappointed that some of these moments feel like I am being attacked for choosing to support my team through the good, the bad and everything in between. The truth is that no I am not disappointed in the team. Yes, sure I’d love if they had a few more wins and less losses on the season but their record does not and will not dictate when or how I will show my support.

The disappointment for me this season has not come from the Vancouver Canucks but rather the local media covering the team. Yes, it is their job to write about the facts but it is not their job to dictate how or when the fans should support the team. There is more happening than just the negativity that they seem intent on focusing on for every single headline.

Yes, it is true that this is hardly their best season on record but it is also hardly their worst. And yes they need to start picking up more wins on the road if they want to be playoff bound come April. Do I wish they had less injuries? Of course, but injuries happen to every single team league wide.

Do you know what I have noticed? That yes, while there are A LOT of negatives out there, there are also A LOT of positives out there as well.

Yes their road record definitely needs some work especially if they hope to be playoff bound, but their improved home ice play this season has been fun to see develop.

As of late, as a team, they have been playing some pretty solid hockey, picking up points in 15 of their last 20 games and posting a 11-5-4 record in that span.

Ryan Miller has stepped up his game of late and in 11-game stretch since Christmas he has posted a 7-2-2 record that includes two shutouts. It’s no secret that Miller was struggling at the start of the season with his combined October + November record being a less than stellar: 4-8-0. Since that struggling start, Miller has been impressive to say the least posting a 10-4-3 record in the 17 games that have followed. His season’s average save percentage of 0.920 is his best since joining the Vancouver Canucks.

Bo Horvat continues to evolve into future captain material as he follows the leadership example of Henrik Sedin both on and off the ice. His first NHL all-star game appearance was just the beginning, stay tuned Canucks fans, the future is just around the corner.

Troy Stecher came into training camp with one goal in mind: make the team. His impression from the start forced the team to take a long look before sending him to Utica. Injuries hit the blue line and Stecher found himself being called up and quickly earning a permanent roster spot with his strong play on the ice. Local kid makes good.

Nikita Tryamkin was the conundrum that no one could solve at the beginning of the season. He refused to be sent down and there was not yet a spot in the lineup, but he held his ground that he was going to stay. Just when some were ready to give up on whether or not Tryamkin could be a difference maker, opportunity knocked as injuries began to take a toll on the Canucks blue line.

There have been learning curves along the way but each game both Stecher and Tryamkin continue to grow, proving why they deserve roster spots helping to stablilize the Canucks on the back end.

Henrik Sedin hitting his incredible feat on home ice was a moment Canucks fans will never forget. That game, the arena was insanely electric from start to finish and as a fan, it made me love this game even more. We could potentially see another milestone Sedinery moment before season’s end or in the very least very early into next season when Daniel hits 1000 points.

32 games remain in the 2016-17 season and the team sits just 1-point out of a playoff position. There is no easy way to get into the playoffs and the Canucks have a long way to go if they want to be post-season bound come April. It’s never an easy grind but if they continue on their recent improved play they’ve had since Christmas, they definitely have a shot at getting there. It may be a slim chance and the odds may be stacked against them, but it’s still a chance. Playoffs or no playoffs, win or lose, this team is still my team.

So if you ask me how disappointed I am in my Vancouver Canucks, be prepared to hear that while I am aware of the season at hand, that does not now, nor will it ever dictate how or when I will support my team.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Anyone have any advice for someone considering starting a podcast? (leave a comment, send me a tweet (@nucksaid) or an email (nucksaid@gmail.com).

To Whom It May Concern…(Part Two)

To whom it may concern,

I never thought I would write one post about this, let alone two posts in three months. (Part One). 

It is still true that I am a female hockey fan. The fact that I am female and a hockey fan should not influence how I am treated about the game but lately that has been happening far too often. In all honesty, I had plans to write/share a different post until yet again while attending a Vancouver Canucks game with my sister, I was left frustrated and rattled as a female hockey fan.

This time, we were berated all game for our choice of jerseys, when and how we cheered and for simply being females at a hockey game. Yep, by wearing our Bo Horvat and Daniel Sedin jerseys, it meant we were delusional and should burn our jerseys. Burn my jersey? Sorry, but that is never going to happen. And didn’t we know that the Sedins are “sisters” and far too old for this game? What I do know, is that the Sedins are two of the classiest players in the NHL and both closing in on the 1000 NHL points milestone. And by being females at a hockey game meant that we deserved to be berated both to our faces and behind our backs throughout the entire game. Truthfully most of what was said is far too inappropriate for me to repeat.

If you want to teach people more about the game, do not talk down or belittle them. I love learning new facets of the game, and debating the ins and outs of the game. If you want to share what you love about the game, share it, everyone has a different story. I love hearing what others love about the game and why.

Once again it was as though we were being judged for the entire game regardless of whether we cheered or were silently engaged in the game taking place. And once again rather than being debated with or talk to, we were belittled. We tried to not let it rattle us during the game but underneath, of course it did. It made it us feel as though we are not allowed to be a part of the hockey community, as though perhaps we did not belong. And then I remembered once again that these individuals who act this way do not represent the entirety of hockey fans.

Let me make this as simple as possible: whether you are a female or male hockey fan, you are allowed to enjoy the game and in no way deserving of judgement for being a fan. Every hockey fan is allowed to cheer for their team, their favourite player and certainly allowed their own opinion of the game. And even if hockey fans have differing opinions, that does not make them any less of a fan than any another fan. Hockey is a community that most days feels like family, and one day I hope that we stop judging and attacking one another. Hockey is more than just a game.

Hopefully one day, we will not have to write posts like this, and all hockey fans regardless of gender will be allowed to simply love this game.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

A Different Approach to Watching Hockey

Let’s be honest, with the way the Vancouver Canucks season has been going in different ebbs and flows, it could be really easy to get stuck in an endless spin of negativity. I see that negativity coming across social media platforms from fans and media alike. It’s no secret if you follow my blog or my social media accounts that I take a slightly different approach when it comes to watching hockey and my team.

I know that it probably sounds odd to many Canucks fans and hockey fans in general but I will always try to take a positive approach to watching the team or any hockey game regardless of how a game or season ends. My love of the game goes beyond the wins and losses record. Every season has ups and downs, some years have more struggles than others, but that doesn’t mean I will stop supporting my team or enjoying the game. There’s enough negativity out there and I will not allow it to change my enjoyment of the game or affect my support of the team.

Am I aware of the ever constant rumours surrounding the Canucks? Yes. Do I know that a lot of people are calling for Willie Desjardins to be let go and the need for a replacement to step in? Yes. Am I aware that the Sedins are getting older? Yes. Am I aware that the team has to allow younger players like Bo Horvat and Ben Hutton to play more? Yes. In fact, I have heard it all and there is not one rumour, negative statistic or insult about MY team that I haven’t heard and none that will make me waver my support for them or my love of the game.

Am I aware of the slew of the injuries that have hit the team already? Yes. Do I know that the odds of the Vancouver Canucks being the playoffs this season according to the “experts” are incredibly low? Yes, and you know what? I accept that but the odds don’t really matter to me, the odds don’t change when I will watch the team. I will watch every single win, loss, disaster, and triumph of the season in it’s entirety whether it ends in mid-April or late June every single year.

Would I love to see my team go all the way and win that elusive 16th post-season game? Absolutely, more than anything, that would be a dream come true. When that day does finally come, I will be celebrating along with all of my fellow Canucks fans. And until that day comes, I will be supporting the team every step of the way that will eventually lead to that path even if we cannot see the outcome just yet. And yes, I know that there may be a number of years before that day comes but no matter how long it takes to get there, I will be on the sidelines supporting my Vancouver Canucks for the entirety of the journey and long after.

Lastly, am I aware that this approach to watching the game and this team is not for everyone? Yes and that’s okay, everyone is allowed their own approach to watching their team and sport that is best for them. Personally, I used to get bogged down by the negativity and for a while it took away why I loved the game and it became a burden to carry. I had to make the decision for my mental health to find a way that saw past the negativity, let it go, and saw the magic that is simply hockey at its core. My approach is allowing myself to see that despite what the odds or statistics say, there are still positives to this team and this game will always be magic. So, yes while it may seem odd to many, I will always look beyond the numbers that make up the team, the game and the season for what defines my love of hockey.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.

 

Vancouver Canucks: 2016-17 Season Thoughts

The Vancouver Canucks 2016-17 season is nearly upon us! With the season, comes the endless debates, opinions, expectations, headlines, rumours, trades, prospect growth, predictions and everything in between. As we approach the upcoming 2016-17 regular season, all I ask is one request: let’s stop judging other hockey fans.

It is no secret that I am clearly a Vancouver Canucks fan but everywhere I go, that doesn’t seem to stop people from telling me how to cheer or what my expectations should be for any given game or the upcoming season. I know that being a hockey fan means being subjected to many hockey debates and I love that aspect, I really do. What I do not enjoy is someone telling me HOW I should think or HOW I should cheer/not cheer for my team or WHAT my expectations should be. I love a good hockey debate and always will, but there is no way someone else can deem what MY expectations are.

I am well aware of the disastrous season that was last season and all of the injuries or circumstances that led to it. I am well versed in the stats of this team for last year and seasons that preceded it. I do not need constant reminding of the win/loss record in the regular season or from past playoff performances. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I go into every season without any expectations, but rather to enjoy every step of the 82-game (+playoffs when qualified) wherever that journey may lead or end. I love everything about this game. I will be supporting the team through the good, the bad, the milestones, the heartbreak and everything in between. There are no days off for this fan. There is nothing that you can say that I haven’t heard before and there is nothing that will sway my support. The Vancouver Canucks are my team, end of story.

I know there are countless questions around my team this season and moving forward. Do I understand that some consider them to be in a tailspin or multi-year rebuild? Yes. Even so, do I look forward to the upcoming 2016-17 regular season? Absolutely, every year regardless of what the “experts” tell me the odds are, the start of hockey season feels like Christmas to me and that feeling never gets old. Do I realize that there are countless questions regarding my team for the season? Absolutely.

Going into the 2016-17 regular season, one of the biggest questions facing the Canucks is can they maintain a healthy lineup for the entire season? We all know how last season went in that department and we all know that maintaining a healthy lineup is key to get to the playoffs and go on a playoff run. Every player attending camp is hoping their hard working summers translate to success on the ice all season long.

Do I realize that goal-tending is always a question? Yes. Can Miller get back into Vezina form or will Markstrom continue his NHL growth and step forward? Both options depend on how hard each athlete works and if both stay free of injury. The Canucks defense is faced with its own questions now that Hamhuis is no longer on the blue line. The pressure will fall to Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Gudbranson and company to bring their best both defensively and offensively every game.

Do I realize that behind the Sedins, the Canucks desperately need secondary scoring to help balance the offensive load? Absolutely. The offense will need to step up as a group just as much as the defense this season. Players like Sutter, Horvat, Baertschi, Virtanen, Hansen & Burrows will all have to help share the offensive load.

Do I realize that some people consider the Sedins are “too old”? Yes, but I also know from the experience of watching the Sedins the last 15 years that they always rise above and prove their doubters wrong, every single time. This year is no different, they may not be “young” but they cannot be overlooked with their skill set every time they step on the ice. They are two of the classiest players on and off the ice and Canucks fans are incredibly fortunate to have witnessed their entire careers thus far. This season will mark yet another milestone in their careers as they are both poised to surpass 1000 career points.

I know the season is a long road and that from the outside looking in, the Canucks are a long shot for the Stanley Cup, let alone the playoffs but that won’t stop me from supporting them every step of the way. As we move forward, let’s cheer together, debate everything we love about this game, but please let’s not tear each other down or tell one another how to be a fan of this game and the teams we all love. We may cheer for different teams, but at the end of the day, we are all hockey fans.

Here’s another incredible year of hockey!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.