2018-19 Season: And then it was DONE.

Can you believe it? Here we stand at the end of the 2018-2019 NHL season? Did anyone’s bracket survive all the playoff upsets? Congratulations to the St.Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins on one heck of a Stanley Cup Final and to St.Louis for winning their first ever championship. There’s nothing quite like seeing a team win their first championship, its pure magic. Enjoy every single moment St.Louis, you earned it!

If you had said with the way that Tampa Bay had dominated the regular season that they would be swept in the first round, not many would have believed that to be possible. The playoffs are their own beast to tackle, and as we’ve seen this year, can contain many surprises and incredible stories of endurance. From Columbus pulling off one of the biggest upsets to Carolina making it to the Conference Finals to Chara playing despite having a broken jaw to the St.Louis Blues for completing their incredible season with the storybook ending, it was a post season to remember.

Now begins my least favourite part of the year: the off-season. How do you get your hockey fix in the off-season? Do you watch the DaBeauty League featuring many current NHL players, AHL players, college/pro players? Or keep an eye on the Australian Ice Hockey League that takes place over the summer? Or do you prefer the take a full hockey break until the puck drops on the new season?

Hard to believe as quick as it came, the season has now ended. Sometimes it feels like the post-season never ends and then suddenly the end has arrived, and yet it all begins again with many young players arriving to to upcoming NHL Draft June 21st-22nd hoping to hear their names called as they take the next step in their hockey careers.

If you’re at the draft, I’ll see you there! Stay tuned here and on twitter(@nucksaid) for many draft updates and a behind scenes look at the draft!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

Vancouver Canucks: Through The Looking Glass

There are a lot of things you can say about the Vancouver Canucks and the fact that their season has once again ended before the post-season. And trust me, I’ve heard that and many other takes on this season, largely leaning towards the negative. And I’m sure there will be many more that debate the season that was, just remember that those debates do not tell the whole story. So yes, in summary while there are no playoffs, there were still some great moments and glimpses of what is to come in the near future.

This season was one that most wrote off before the puck had even dropped. Many said that without the Sedins, the season would be a lost cause. Yes, the season has come to an end but it was not a write off or a lost cause. This season was all about growth and development of the young core. This season was a massive step forward, one that saw the youth lead the way and ignite passion back into Canucks nation.

For myself, rather than focus on the draft lottery that is out of my control I’m going to look back on some standout and personal favourite moments from this season. Let’s start at the beginning, the first goal of the year scored by none other than rookie sensation, Elias Pettersson:

His first goal, on his first shot in his first game. It was thunderous in the arena when he scored that goal. The crowd loved it and his reaction to hearing his name being chanted by the crowd was priceless. To say, he set a high standard and lit hope anew in Canucks fans is putting it lightly.

October was also memorable because it marked bringing my Grandpa to his first ever Canucks game. He got to pick the opponent and chose the game versus the Boston Bruins.

What a game that was! The Canucks won with an overtime goal from Bo Horvat. It’s a game and a goal that my grandpa STILL talks about 6 months later and is already planning coming up for another one! It’s a game that I’ll always remember and carry with me.

November 2. How can we forget about that epic back and forth game between two young teams? A night that saw Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser combine for NINE points in a 7-6 OT win. Down 5-6 in the final minutes, Pettersson did what he does best, dug deep, got what seemed like an impossible goal, bringing that crowd to their feet…not to mention that BANK pass goal set up for Boeser that screamed SEDINERY:

And what about that penalty shot goal versus Nashville?!

Sensational right? Crazy to think that prior to the season many wondered if he could have success at the NHL level. Any doubters have since been silenced by his finesse on the ice.

Hat tricks are always a treat to see AND Canucks fans were treated to not one BUT two from two of their most promising players in Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. Boeser scored his second hat trick versus St.Louis when him and Pettersson combined for EIGHT points. Pettersson’s first career hat trick capped off an overtime victory versus Ottawa. Their chemistry on and off of the ice this season has been a treat to see develop.

Games against Toronto on home ice are always entertaining and bring out a crowd that is usually 50% Canucks fans and 50% Leafs fans. This year did not disappoint, it was a very split crowd. For 40 minutes the Leafs were in control, until the Canucks found a way to tie it due to a stellar performance from Markstrom and setting up an exciting overtime game winning goal from Alex Edler.

Speaking of Edler, I know he takes a lot of heat from fans but nothing can take away from him becoming the ALL-TIME leading scorer on the blue line in Canucks history and surpassing fellow Swede, Mattias Ohlund in the franchise record book. He’s given a lot to this team over years and that should be noted and appreciated.(Heart and soul player).

Another heart and soul player that gave his all was Chris Higgins. He scored some memorable goals during his time here and it was a pleasure to get the chance to meet him and talk about his time as a player.

One of my favourite parts of the season is always getting to see the Canucks play on/around my birthday. Every year, we pick the game that is either on my birthday or closest to it, and my family gets geared up and attends the game. This year was no exception. As per tradition, we got tickets, and another birthday was spent in the rink.

Win or lose, I always enjoy the game. This year was no exception with a great pace, an electrifying OT session followed by a shootout that featured THIS ridiculous #DekeyPete goal:

It may not have been the winner BUT THAT GOAL IS ALL KINDS WIZARDRY. How many players will try that Forsberg move their first year in the league?!  As if that goal wasn’t enough to make the game memorable, THIS happened:

(You know your favourite team gets you when their birthday surprise for you includes a signed puck from your favourite player!).

We have to talk about the continued progression of Bo Horvat who has evolved from his draft year into a true leader on and off this season. This season he picked up the mantle left behind by the Sedins and carried it proudly and set a new career high in points(61). Every interview, every game, in the community, he was the epitome of a class act and embraced the role as captain even without the official title. (It’s pretty unanimous among Canucks nation that he will be named the next Captain of the team).

Elias Pettersson brings the arena to his feet every single time he makes a dazzling play but he’s not the only rookie turning the heads and hearts of Canucks fans. Highly tauted Quinn Hughes made his debut over the final games and gave the fans a glimpse of his ease skating, playing with/without the puck, and quieted any question of whether he was ready to jump to the NHL level. The best part since he debuted, was seeing him with Pettersson and Boeser in overtime dominating in breathtaking fashion…I could definitely get used to seeing those three play together for years to come!

This post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about Markstrom taking his game to a new level this season, particularly since December. It was remarkable to see him embrace his position and tune out the critics. He kept the Canucks in many games, like one of his final games of the year versus Dallas in which he made 46 saves INCLUDING 8 in the shoot out. His progression has given the Canucks room to not rush Thatcher Demko as he continues to grow in his game. By the end of the season, Demko seemed to have settled in and looks to take another step forward next season.

How fitting is it that Elias Pettersson scored the Canucks opening and closing goals of the season? Full circle for the Calder leading rookie.

Sure the season was far from perfect but it was a massive step forward that saw competitive games down the stretch and gave a glimpse of a very promising future for the team’s new emerging core. The future looks bright, are you ready for what comes next?

Stay tuned for upcoming ROUND TABLE discussions, draft updates and coverage throughout the offseason! See you all at the Draft in June!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Adios 2018!

This post goes out to all Canucks fans as we say good-bye to 2018 and hello 2019!

Can you believe that we’re already half way through the 2018-19 season?! How the heck did that happen? Feels like just yesterday when we all wondered if Elias Pettersson could possibly live up to the hype after his incredible season last year in Sweden. End of December and we can all agree that Elias has more than lived up to the hype. As we edge ever closer to the beginning of the second half of the season, I thought that it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the highlights from the first half; so here we go!

OCTOBER: October was an entertaining month of highlights. Have I mentioned that first NHL goal from Pettersson? Being in Rogers Arena for that moment was truly something spectacular, the roar from the crowd was thunderous. And his reaction to the crowd was priceless.

Easily one of my favourite moments from October will be taking my grandpa to his first ever Canucks game and seeing them get an OT win versus the Boston Bruins. Taking in the atmosphere from the anthems to puck drop to that final buzzer was something that’ll long stay with me.

Or how about Jake Virtanen having his first 2-goal game against long-time rival Chicago? It’s been a season highlight to see him having success and on track to hit career highs (*already has a new high in goals), with half the season still to be played.

One last highlight was finally seeing the team beat Las Vegas for the first time. It took awhile but it was so great to see!

NOVEMBER: Yes, this was the month where simply getting a win felt impossible most nights BUT there were also still some incredible moments in there. The first being that 9-point night from Pettersson and Boeser, what a game THAT was!

The next being that 8-goal outburst in Boston! It’s been a LONG time since the team last put up 8-goals in a game.

Or how about Adam Gaudette scoring his first ever career goal as the Canucks ended a an extended losing streak?

DECEMBER: December has seen a bit of a turnaround for the team after a tough November. They have gone 8-3-1 in their last 12 games and 8-5-1 overall the month of December to close out 2018.

December also saw us all mesmerized by a SECOND 5-point outing from Elias Pettersson and a SECOND hat trick for Boeser. Can we take a minute to really appreciate the chemistry they have developed over the first half of the season?

Or can we take a moment to appreciate the brilliance that was Pettersson’s first ever penalty shot turned goal? It looked impossible but was perfectly timed and met with a thunderous roar from the Rogers Arena crowd.

Or should we talk about their come from behind regulation victory against Columbus? Down 2-1 with less than 5 minutes left, it didn’t seem possible and then the ever determined and never one to give up, Pettersson made sure the Canucks tied the game; paving the way for Virtanen to score the go ahead goal.

Or how about we talk about Boeser hitting his stride with 8 goals and Pettersson continuing to take the league by storm with 17 points in 14 games over the course of December. Their developing on ice chemistry is all kinds of awesome for Canucks fans to see come to fruition.

Pettersson’s 39 points in 36 games is putting him on track to crush, Pavel Bure’s 60 point rookie campaign and the early favourite in the Calder trophy race.

Sure, the season hasn’t been perfect and has even featured some tough stretches BUT they’ve also been more competitive and entertaining than they’ve been in recent years. Stay tuned in 2019, as I’ll be starting a CANUCKS ROUND TABLE featuring fellow Canucks fans! Is there something else you’d like to see discussed on the blog in 2019? Leave a comment below or send me an email (nucksaid@gmail.com).

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Adios Preseason…

Adios preseason and hello hockey season! Bring on all the hockey and drop that dang puck already!

The Vancouver Canucks regular season is just days away and already the doomsday headlines are spinning out of control before even one game has been played. I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms more than once that this will most certainly be the worst Canucks season on record. And as such a poor season is expected, I’ve also been told that there’s no point to partaking in watching the games as it’s all down hill from before the start of the season.

Well I got some bad news for you, whether it’s a terrible season (potentially their worst on record) or a good season statistically, I’ll by standing by for every single step of the season. I know that the odds are very much against them heading into this season. Yes, I’ll be watching all the games, even the ones that seem like a nightmare from start to finish. And yes, I’m well aware of how disastrous this season could be but that doesn’t mean that I will stop supporting my team or hoping for them to tank.

It goes against the grain for me to even think about tanking as a possibility especially when it comes how unpredictable the draft lottery tends to be. More than that though, I can’t process the idea that players purposely go out on a nightly basis to lose or increase their team’s odds in that area. Seems a bit far fetched to me.

Regardless of how the season unfolds, one thing is certain: I’ll be there to witness every step along the way. Maybe it will be the worst season in the Canucks history books, maybe it’ll even be catastrophically bad but then again maybe it won’t. Maybe they’ll finally win that draft lottery or maybe just maybe they might even surprise people.

For now, I’m looking forward to attending the Canucks home opener on Wednesday (despite the impending disappointment that I’ve been told to expect). See you at the rink!

Drop. The. Puck. Already.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Hockey’s BACK…!

Here we go, say it with me now, “HOCKEY IS BACK”. Yes, technically we are in the thick of the preseason, but it still counts! The NHL preseason is officially in full swing as the league prepares for the official start of the season on October 3rd.

Now begins the over analyzing of seasoned veterans as they compete to maintain their roster spots, while younger players and prospects are vying to snag or steal a roster spot and reveal those that still need time to develop.

For Canucks fans, it means a lot of of different things with a new season about to begin.

It means that we are getting a chance to finally witness the finesse on the ice of Elias Pettersson in a Canucks uniform. Is he the real deal, are we right to be excited for his future? Was his season last year in Sweden a one off or an indication of what lies ahead for his NHL career?

Will other prospects like Adam Gaudette. Petrus Palmu or Jonah Gadjovich thrive in the preseason?

Can Nikolay Goldobin find that much needed consistency to his game, can Elias Pettersson help him get there as they’ve shown to have a bit of chemistry in the preseason?

How will Brock Boeser follow up his successful rookie season? Will we see a sophomore slump or will all that hard work he put in over the summer pay off?

Will this be Jake Virtanen’s breakout year? He put in the work all summer, will it pay off on the ice and silence his critics?

With the Sedins now officially retired, who will step up into a leadership role and their scoring ways? Will the team go ahead and name a captain this season or elect to have co-leaders, waiting to name a captain until next season? Who will pick up the mantle of points they consistently put up each season?

Perhaps the biggest question for the Canucks is, will the team be able stay healthy for the season? If yes, perhaps they just might surprise a few people.

Preseason or not, NHL hockey is back and it feels OH SO GOOD. Enjoy the rest of the preseason as every roster edges closer to being finalized for puck drop on opening night.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Hockey Thoughts: What’s in a Game?

A new hockey season is nearly upon us and I’d thought I take a look at what is about this game that pulls us all in.

What is it that keeps bringing us back? Is it a favourite on ice or off ice moment that you can recall every second of? Is it your favourite team or your favourite player? Or is it a pure simple love for the game? Or is it all of that combined?

I know that the hockey world is far from perfect but there is something magnetic about this game when it captures your heart., there’s no going back.

I can still remember clear as day, seeing a glimpse of Sedinery when it was just beginning. I can still see that 72-save performance in game one of the 2007 playoffs against the Dallas Stars and hear that echo of the crowd when Henrik scored in the fourth overtime. I’ll never forget Alex Burrows emotional first game after Luc Bourdon had passed, and each goal he scored thereafter dedicated to LB with an arrow to the sky. No goal from Burrows was bigger than the one that finally slayed the dragon against the Chicago Blackhawks, it still gives me chills. And then coming oh so close to seeing the team finally hoist the cup in 2011, the heartbreak was real and deep…but rather than deter me from supporting the team, it made my support of them unbreakable. And then the moment more heartbreaking than witnessing the on ice heartbreak, just a few months later when I was reminded that hockey is more than a game, Rick Rypien lost his battle with mental health. It shattered my heart and reminded the hockey world once more that there was and still at times is a stigma when it comes to mental health awareness.

Witnessing Henrik Sedin score his 1000th NHL point on home ice in Rogers Arena, the entire crowd on their feet, the cheers were thunderous. One final act of Sedinery when the Sedins played their final home game and closed it in style with the overtime winner…a moment that was heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once. It was the end of an incredible era that spanned nearly two decades. And as one era ends, a new one begins lead by Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser.

There are moments that will always be a part of defining how or why I am a fan of the game and my team. Moments that I can recall so clearly. Moments that took my breath away and moments that have broken my heart. Moments that have pulled me in, in moments when I needed a break from reality. Moments that have pulled me into being a part of a family that spans the beyond my own city around the world, because as hockey fans, we are all united as one.

I asked on twitter, what is about the game that pulls YOU in, and here are responses that you sent in:

Yes, the hockey world isn’t perfect and there will always be those who say that different views mean that I’m not a “real” fan or possibly naive about the game or try to explain how to really be a fan. And that’s fine, no one said we have to agree on how to be a fan.  And you know what’s louder than those voices? Fans from far and wide, who yes maybe we don’t always have the same view BUT we have a respect for each other and even once in awhile teach one another new facets of this game that unites us. We all have our own reasons and definitions for how and why this game has pulled us in. Maybe it’s one moment, a series of moments, a favourite player, or a simple pure love of the game, or maybe it’s all of those things combined but one thing is certain; hockey is magnetic and there’s no going back once it draws you into the fold.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some more of our stories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.