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.

 

True Blue 2015 (Part THREE)

True Blue continues! Just like last year, it is time for the spot light to be on my favourite part of hockey: the fans and their stories! Hockey is so much more than a game in a rink, it is a passion that unites fans across the globe. There is still time to have your story featured, – if you are interested in finding out more details, simply send an e-mail to nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2015. **Anyone who has already signed up or signs up BY SEPTEMBER 25 is entered to win a 2015-16 #Pharmasave Canucks For Kids Calendar. The winner will be announced on September 23rd. Even if your story is featured after the 26th, as long as you are signed up by the 22nd, you will be eligible to win the calendar.**

Today, allow me to re-introduce you to someone you all met during last year’s True Blue series: Justin Lai. This is his True Blue story continued in his own words:

Justin04“A long time ago there was a young boy. Growing up he always loved sports but his favourite memory was watching a game played on ice that would forever change his future going forward. Every week, he would sit by the TV watching fascinated at this game in which players zoomed along the ice with sticks to direct a puck into opposing goals. As he grew up he fell in love with the game of hockey and the rest was history.

Growing up, he watched a team known as our Vancouver Canucks and absolutely adored them. As a child, I always played ball hockey in my basement, and dreamed of growing up to be a hockey player for the Canucks and scoring the game winning goal in overtime to win the Canucks their first Stanley Cup. Yes, I know it is unlikely now, BUT it was a childhood dream and even though I might never be an NHL player, I still love my Canucks and the game of hockey. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember.

Fast forward to today, where my love for the Canucks have grown to more of a diehard fanatic stage and sometimes an obsession. For as long as I can remember the game of hockey has been ingrained in my heart from a young age and no matter what my team is always the Canucks first. My second favourite team is Pittsburgh and before anyone accuses me of being a bandwagoner or how could I have two favourite teams, let me explain. Pittsburgh is my second favourite team because they have had such amazing players who played for them. From the likes of Jagr, Lemeiux, Straka and now Crosby, Malkin and Letang. There’s that reason but the MAIN reason why Pittsburgh is my second favourite team is the Canucks connection of course. I’m talking about the Markus Naslund trade from Pittsburgh to Vancouver that helped Naslund become one of the most beloved Canucks in history today.

Anyways for those who haven’t gotten to know me, my name is Justin. I am a diehard Canucks fanatic and although I might never dress up and play for the Canucks, I do have the privilege of currently working for them now in their hospitality division. My dream job would be to work in the Marketing Department for the Canucks, combining my love of social media, marketing and Canucks into one amazing job. I’m known to my fans as the most diehard fan they know, owning lots of Canucks merchandise, jerseys and always talking about the Canucks. I’m always in some sort of Canucks gear, so it’s easy to pick me out from a crowd.

As for my thoughts on the team and the upcoming season, I know that win or lose, I’m going to be rooting for my Canucks ALL year long. Everyone says they are in a rebuild and yes its a youth movement direction that we’re going in BUT it doesn’t mean that it won’t be successful. Anything can happen in this crazy game of hockey and it’s just as much about bounces and hard work as it is about skill. My friends always ask why I cheer for the Canucks, year after year when they only disappoint and break my heart. I tell them that it is what the love of my team and the game is all about, being a real fan through the good, bad and ugly times. I know that one day when they persevere to win it all, the journey of being a true fan who always stuck with them will make that cup win sweeter and not just because of one year when they are doing well.

There’s lots of favourite memories of mine and every season brings new ones BUT personally my fave so far is winning the Canucks 25th Million Fan twitter contest. I won tickets to the game, got to be interviewed on the scoreboard, had Kevin Bieksa pick my entry and WON Daniel Sedin’s game worn autographed jersey on the ice after the game. It was a dream come true.

Justin01I know we have a relatively new leadership team in place with Linden, Benning and Desjardins BUT I think they can do an exceptional job with their vision shaping this team to be successful on AND off the ice which is probably why I love this team so much. It’s not really about the wins and losses on the ice but that this team is winners off the ice in the community, always giving back and that is something I truly value and admire about the Canucks. They inspire me to always be a better person when the opportunity arises and even when it doesn’t because it makes the world a better place.

I am going to head into this season with no expectations other than for the Canucks to keep doing what they always do. Play hard but win or lose, always represent the front of the jersey with pride on and off the ice. I’ll be rooting all year even if they finish dead last in the league or if they surprise all the naysayers wrong AGAIN and go on a playoff run. They sure surprised people last year. No one expected them to compete for a playoff spot but they finished with a successful regular season: 2nd in the tough Pacific Division and this was with a rookie and new players on the team with a new leadership team as well. This year anything can happen but no matter what I’m always going to be a loud and proud Canucks fan.

My favourite all-time players would have to be Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure because of the the leadership and skill that they played with. Other players I admire include the Sedins for their skill and involvement in the community, Markus Naslund and Alex Burrows because his story of hard work and perseverance to make it to the NHL despite being undrafted always inspires me to never give up on my dreams either. I’m most excited about Bo Horvat as I see him as the future captain after Henrik Sedin calls it a career.

Justin02For those who want to connext with this crazy Canucks fan on social media, find me on Facebook and twitter (@justinlai01) and follow my NEW personal Canucks blog I am starting this year on twitter and Facebook (@TheCanucksBuzz).

Go Canucks Go!!!!

-Justin Lai.”

First, thank-you for sharing your story with all of us! Second, I am totally envious of you meeting Daniel Sedin. I’m 100% with you about supporting the team through the good, the bad and everything in between every year and that the impact the team has goes far beyond the game on the ice. I look forward to hearing more about your upcoming blog and encourage others to also follow along! Welcome to the Canucks blogging community!

Go Canucks Go!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

True Blue 2015 (Part TWO)

TRUE BLUE continues! Just like last year, it’s time to put the spot light on my favourite part of hockey: the fans and their stories! Hockey is so much more than a game in a rink, it is a passion that unites fans across the globe. There is still time to have your story featured, – if you are interested in finding out more details, simply send an e-mail to nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2015.

Without further ado, please meet: Oscar de Kunder from the Netherlands(pictured below in his Canucks Jersey). This is his TRUE BLUE story in his own words:

OscarDKHello, Canucks fans!

This is my story:

I follow the sport of hockey all year round and did so for many years as a radio technician and TV camera man following the Dutch Hockey League for many local radio and TV stations in the Netherlands. My old co-worker, Tonny explained all of the rules of hockey to me and helped me understand the game.

But some years ago, I met my good friend, Felicia from Amsterdam, and she told me to try the NHL app so that you can watch hockey games from the U.S. and Canada. The app is how I first saw an NHL game streaming online. It was an amazing feeling that I never felt or saw while watching the Dutch hockey games.

First, I was for the Pittsburgh Penguins BUT my friend, Felicia told me to watch a Vancouver Canucks game. Since that first Vancouver game, I was sold and now follow EACH Canucks game during the season which many times means I must wake up in the middle of the night or 4:00 AM local Netherlands time when the Canucks are on TV. Due to the work week, and the early hour time of the Canucks games, I am able to finish the games by 7:00 AM, before I have to go to work. My family said that it’s not good for me to wake up in the middle of the night to watch all of the Canucks games BUT I still do!

Last season, I bought a Canucks jersey AND a Hockey Canada jersey. I had them both framed hanging on my walls to make my house a hockey haven. Also, I joined a Game Day Canucks fan group on Facebook where I have made many new friends that I get to cheer with every game! My plan is to in a few years travel to Vancouver, BC to watch a LIVE  Canucks game in Rogers Arena.

My favourite moment from our Canucks last season was Eddie Lack doing a great job whenever he was called upon. I believe that the management team is doing a good job so far even if I do not necessarily agree with them trading Eddie. I have a very good feeling about the 2015-16 season and that it’s possible that they may hold on longer in the playoffs this season. I believe anything is possible in the new season! My game day rituals include sleeping, waking up by 4:00 AM and putting on my jersey to support the team before puck drop. I spend a lot of time during the season talking about the Canucks with friends and planning a trip one day to Canada to see a live hockey game. I cannot wait until October for the NHL and Canucks season to begin, I am counting down the days.

Regards,

Oscar de Kunder – (Canucks fan from Nijmegen, The Netherlands).”

Thank-you, Oscar for sharing your Canucks story with me and everyone else! That is so cool that you worked behind the scenes as a camera man and on the radio! I love hearing how fans learned about the game and how it captivated them.  I understand not being a fan of the Eddie Lack trade, that was a tough one and unfortunately it was one of the very tough choices that had to be made. That being said, I am most definitely cautiously optimistic about the changes made moving forward and look forward to the seeing what transpires when that puck finally drops on October 7th.

Keep your eyes peeled for more True Blue stories as we continue to count down to the new season just around the bend!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

True Blue 2015 (Part ONE)

It’s THAT time of year again, folks! TRUE BLUE is back this year! Just like last year, it’s time to put the spot light on my favourite part of hockey: the fans and their stories! Hockey is so much more than a game in a rink, it is a passion that unites fans across the globe. There is still time to have your story featured, – if you are interested in finding out more details, simply send an e-mail to nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2015.

Are you ready for True Blue 2015?

Without further ado, please let me introduce to you, our first participant:

Helen Franklin (She was unable to include a self-portrait, but the picture below features one of her favourite Canucks players, Daniel Sedin). This is her TRUE BLUE story in her own words:

IMG_0981“How did you become a Vancouver Canucks fan?

I am relatively new fan of the Canucks, having only watched the team play since the 2010 Olympics. One of the younger boys in my grade 4/5 class always talked about being a goalie with Roberto Luongo as his hero. So, I researched this “Luongo” person to find out WHY he was idolized by my student. The Olympics arrived and I watched the Men’s hockey games with Luongo on the roster. Watching that final GOLD medal game with Luongo in net, I could now understand why Ryan, my student was inspired to be like him. I was hooked and since then I have watched almost every single Canucks game. I try to attend at least one Canucks game a year. If I lived in Vancovuer or closer vicinity, I would probably be a season ticket holder. I do not profess to know ALL the rules as some fervent fans do, but I do acknowledge and enjoy watching a skilled player and/or team perform.

What is it about hockey and the Vancouver Canucks that keeps drawing you back?

Watching the Sedins do their magic on the ice. As well as some of the unsung heroes like Hamhuis and Tanev who play well but are not spot-lighted as much as the twins. Also Burrows for his sheer drive and determination.

Favourite Vancouver Canucks memory?

My favourite Canucks memory is when Kevin Bieksa scored the double overtime goal against the Sharks, sending Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. The puck disappeared from the player’s sight momentarily after hitting the stanchion. All the players on the ice were looking around for the puck, except for Bieksa who nailed it right into the net. SCORES!!!

What a BIEKSALLENT goal!

After the absolute torpedo that was the 2013-14 regular season (aka the Torts era), how did you feel about the 2014-15 season (aka the start of the beginning of the WilLindEnning era)?

Honestly, I had trepidations about Tortorella being hired but did not vocalize my thoughts often, believing that the powers-that-be always knew better than the fans. With the newly hired trio, I breathed a big proverbial sigh of relief – THREE well-respected and knowledgeable people to look after the Canucks organization and team. YAY!

What was your favourite/standout moment of the 2014-15 season?

Nothing really stands out, just the difference in the team’s overall play. They seemed to play each game with more heart, more energy, more spirit, more cooperative and collective effort. I was just happy to see the team play as well as they did. Adding Radim Vrbata (a fellow countryman) to the team was a good sign. He fit into the roster extremely well.

How do you feel about rookie president, Linden (and coach Desjardins) moving forward after their first year at the helm?

There will be good things in store for all Canucks fans. These two are working well together and will bring the Canucks back to the forefront of the good NHL teams.

After seeing a return to the post-season in 2015, how do you feel about the upcoming 2015-16 season?

This will be an awesome year!

Who is your favourite player(s) for the team?

I respect and like all the members of the team. They each have their own special niche in my mind. The Sedins for their skilled plays – my jersey is #22 only because I had to pick one. Hamhuis because of his quiet personality and good defense. Tanev for his persistence and work effort. Vrbata for his great work ethic on ice and quiet celebration after a goal. Bieksa (yes I know he was traded) for his quirky on-camera comments and the leadership he displayed on the ice. Bo for his youth, energy and enthusiasm to do well. I could comment on each player but I will refrain. Generally, I like them all equally.

Which rookie/prosect has you most excited?

All of the rookies this year are going to be exciting. Bo Horvat has already shown what he can do and is progressing well. The others will prove themselves as well over time.

Which Canucks players (past or present) would you like to meet and talk with if you could?

I have never met any of the players but would like to talk to Dan Hamhuis. He seems to be very approachable to talk about life in general and because he is not often spot-lighted by the media. I would not mind meeting all of the players but would probably be too overwhelmed to even say anything. The behind-the-scene staff would also be very interesting to talk to and I would not hesitate to ask them questions.

What would you like to see change in the NHL?

I would like to see Gary Bettman step down as Commissioner, he has been there too long.

-Helen.”

First, thank-you, Helen for taking the time to participate and share your story with all of us! I love learning how fans discovered the game and what they love most about it. I must agree about game five vs. San Jose…THAT double overtime Kevin Bieksa goal is definitely one of my most favourite moments in Canucks history. Even more than any goal, I think my most favourite Bieksa memory, is the work he did with MindCheck helping to shine a light on the importance of mental health awareness. As for the Gary Bettman issue, it seems as though he is in for the long haul despite the outcry of many hockey fans. As for the upcoming season, I look forward to enjoying every moment of the 82-game journey…every moment good or bad, I am ready for October.

Is it October yet? No, not just yet but I can hear the echoes just around bend.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

It Never Gets Easier…

Do you remember the first time that hockey fully grabbed your attention and completely stole your heart for this game that is so much more than a game? Perhaps it was a past Stanley Cup final, the Winter Olympics, World Championship, an AHL affiliate game or perhaps even a local minor hockey team that simply captured you in a way that only hockey can and once it did, there was no looking back. I can remember the first that game I really watched from start to finish completely enraptured by this game and every sound from the cheers in the stands to the skates on the ice to the final buzzer. There is one thing that prior to really embracing a my Canucks that I never understood or was prepared for, the emotional component. Yes, it’s true that there is an emotional component to being a sports fan that goes beyond grief with the refs or players on the opponents’ team.

There are the emotions that come with every win and every loss in the regular season but also those in the post season. There is the anticipation and excitement that builds as a new season inches closer around the corner. There is anguish of seeing players sidelined indefinitely with an injury and cautious excitement when that same player returns for their first game back. There is exhilaration when your team scores that big goal that leads to the next round and absolute heartbreak when you are on the other side watching your team’s season come to an end. There is the anxiety that kicks in around second overtime when you witness two teams battle for every inch of the ice in the post season. There is a veteran retiring from the game and watching him skate one last loop around the rink for the fans to say good-bye. There are the unexpected moments off the ice that unite the players once on the ice and prove that hockey is much, much, much more than JUST a game.

There is the attachment that grows with watching players develop from a prospect to becoming a veteran franchise leader. There is the sorrow that comes when those franchise players get traded, leave to play elsewhere or retire. Trades and changes are an inevitable part of the game but that never gets easier to embrace no matter how often they happen over the course of a player’s career.

Today was not a BIEKSALLENT day for this hockey fan. Today, the Vancouver Canucks and franchise player, Kevin Bieksa parted ways via a trade. There was no bitterness or anger on either side, just appreciation and respect for ten dedicated years. I understand that moves like this one have to happen and that it’s a part of the game but it NEVER gets any easier to see players that have become cornerstones leave. Players like Bieksa are not easy to replace for more than just his on-ice leadership contributions…he was a class act off the ice with the fans and many of the Canucks charities over ten years. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements OFF of the ice was his work in helping to shine a light on the importance of Mental Health Awarenss (Mindcheck) in honour of his friend, Rick Rypien.

Juice, Vancouver will never forget everything you did over ten incredible years, and thank-you, just does not seem even close to enough but it is what we have to offer…THANK-YOU. You gave this city incredible moments from the beginning to the end while fully embracing what it meant to have the heart of a Canuck on and off the ice. From getting under the skin of the opponents to interview gold to that beyond amazing stanchion goal to your work with CFKF, Canuck Place and Mindcheck…you gave this team and this city more than we deserved. It truly was an honour seeing you play for the Canucks all this time and while I may never root for Anaheim, I do wish you the best over there, KB!

IMG_0927#ThankYouJuice for this picture and the many Canucks memories!

More than ten years into being a hockey fan and it still never gets any easier. Nope, it never gets any easier to see franchise players leave the team that developed them from prospect to veteran. The emotional component makes it hard to be a fan sometimes but it is also what makes being a fan so great. Hockey is so much more than JUST a game. On and off the ice, there are highs and lows that go hand in hand with being a hockey fan and it’s pretty incredible to be on the sidelines to see every step of each 82-game journey no matter the outcome.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

TRUE BLUE 2015

cropped-canucksbanner.jpgCalling all Canucks fans, it’s that time again…time for a summer of True Blue stories!

In the Summer of 2014, I began a series on Nucksaid called “True Blue” that featured THE best part of Vancouver Canucks hockey, YOU the fans and YOUR stories. This year I would love to do the very same and invite any and ALL of you who would like to share your Canucks AND/OR your Utica Comets stories to take part in True Blue 2015!  Whether you took part in the series LAST year or are participating for the first time, I would love to hear your stories and be able to share them with others. Whether you are from BC, across Canada or from across the globe, your stories are unique and make you a part of Canucks nation or Comets Army or BOTH.  Those who participated last year made this an incredible series to be a part of and proved that this game that binds us all together is so much more than a game.

If you ARE interested in taking part in the True Blue 2015 series send me an email to nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line:TRUE BLUE 2015 for more details on how to take part in the summer series. Let’s make this another summer all about YOU and YOUR hockey/Canucks/Comets stories as we count down to the new season in the fall! Here’s making this another summer to remember!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Talk Hockey to Me…

HockeyISI love everything about this game called hockey with the exception of maybe the shoot out…and most of all I love talking hockey with other fans. Every day, my path crosses with hockey fans of all kinds and while it is no secret the the Canucks are my favourite team, I have a deep respect for every team in the league and will gladly discuss all the teams across the board. I may not know every stat about each team like I do with Vancouver, but I like to be informed and keep tabs on how each of the other 29 teams in the league are doing.

I love talking hockey, just ask my family, who I know, that I can drive crazy at times with all my hockey talk every day. I have crossed paths with amazing fans from ALL 30 NHL teams in real life and on social media. Yes, it is true there are AMAZING fans for EVERY team and I will not take that statement back. No matter where a team is currently in the NHL standings or where they will finish after game 82, all 30 teams have some incredible fanbases and I love discussing anything and everything hockey with all of you.

I love how passionate fans are for their teams and I respect that EACH fan of EVERY team has their own opinions and we may not always agree on everything. I accept that we may not be on the same side for every game. I accept that our differences are what make hockey rivalries some of the best in sports. I accept that each and every fan is determined to believe that their team is capable of being the best. I accept that fans unite on the same side sometimes if it means a victory is plausible against a common rival. I accept that there will be highs and lows that align with the highs and lows of how your team is doing as the season progresses.

I do not accept being treated as less than someone else. I do not accept being told that my team is not a real team. I do not accept that some fans are better than other fans. I do not accept that being a Canucks fan makes me a less informed hockey fan. I do accept fans insulting fans of other teams. I do not accept being treated with disrespect by other fans.

What is the point of this post? Let me tell you a story that occurred just the other day when I was at work.

It was a conversation that was struck up all because I was wearing a Canucks shirt as I do on most game days. The individual noted that they felt sorry for me because I was a lowly Vancouver Canucks fan and how tragic that fate was. This individual then followed up his sympathy with the suggestion that I ought to jump ship and become a fan of a REAL team like the Boston Bruins. He was a Boston Bruins fan and that is perfectly acceptable.

My response to my tragic fate was this:

I have absolutely no qualms if you support the Boston Bruins or any team of your choosing. I have the utmost respect for the Boston Bruins and while it broke my heart when they won the cup in 2011, I know that they earned their victory. I have met some incredible Bruins fans and would never lump them in the same category as this person that crossed my path the other day. Yes, the Bruins are a great team when healthy and yes they were victorious over my Canucks in 2011, I respect that truth. Yes, the Bruins are a real team but guess what? My Canucks are a real team too and I accept that they are not everyone’s cup of tea. The Boston Bruins are not my cup of tea but I respect them as a team, their talent and their fans. I applaud any and all fans passion for their respective team.

As dedicated as this person was to his Bruins, I am just as dedicated to my Vancouver Canucks and there is no changing my ways. No matter the result this season or the next, I will be there to support them from start to finish every year. I accept that fans will not always agree, but I do not accept fans telling other fans HOW to be a proper hockey fan. Hockey fans come in all shapes and sizes and of all kinds. You do not have to be fans of the same team to have a great hockey discussion or appreciate this incredible game. You do not have to have all the answers and you can ask as many questions as you want…I love talking hockey. Most of all, I love talking hockey to fans of ALL teams while bonding over our love of this game that is so much more than just a game.

I will not judge you or the team that you choose to support. I will not belittle you or the team or its roster because of where it is in the standings or if it is struggling. I will not insult your team. I will simply show you the same respect you show me. I will not ask you to jump ship or switch sides. It does not matter to me which team you support or which player is your favourite, I would love to hear about ALL of it! As I said in the start of this post, I love talking hockey with the best fans in sports, so…talk hockey to me!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.