Memo to the Media (part 2)

Here we go again. New year, same thinking from the local sports media.

To Whom it may concern in the Vancouver Hockey Media,

“Vancouver Canucks fans do not know how to feel…”. “Vancouver Canucks fans only reason to be excited about is Brock Boeser…”.  Vancouver Canucks fans should brace themselves for a terrible season and few years ahead…”. Stop. Please, just STOP. I get it, the Canucks are currently near the bottom of the NHL standings at the mid-season mark and you are all on board with the notion that is “tanking”. If you’ve learned ANYTHING in recent years, TANKING does not work, the draft lottery is PURE luck and despite ending up with the 5th overall pick the last two seasons, the Canucks acquired two players with tons of potential. So, for the love of all that is holy, please stop telling me how I feel about my team. Stop telling me how you think I should feel or when I should feel it about them. If anyone knows how I feel, it is me, not you. And believe me, I know how I feel about this team and not one of your headlines or articles this season has covered it anywhere near accurately.

I used to LOVE reading the sports section in the local papers and listening to local sports radio BUT in the last few years, that has been destroyed. And no, it’s not because I’m naive or in denial about the team’s performance the last few seasons. It’s the fact that one person can only take hearing a nonstop barrage of negativity for so long before it becomes unbearable. You have taken what was one of my favourite daily routines and made me cringe just hearing about the things you write and talk about.

Since the start of the season as has been the case for the last few seasons, you have told me that I have nothing to be excited about this team or even this season and if we were going by your headlines, you would be right. Yes, the numbers that make a season tell a part of the story BUT they do not define the whole story. The numbers do NOT define when or how I am a fan of my team. No game results or season’s results will define when or how I am a fan of my team.

If anything when you write your constant negative headlines or start telling me how Canucks fans are supposed to feel or even when the team struggles, it only makes me support them even more. I know that choosing to be optimistic most likely puts me in the minority of Canucks fans, but if you ask me, a team can always use support, especially during the difficult times.

Yes, you are right that there have been a lot of ups and downs along this regular season journey BUT that does not mean it has all been down hill. And before you tell me that perhaps I am uninformed about the team or detached from the reality that is their current situation…STOP. Please know that I am completely aware of the team’s current state.I can spout their stats forwards and backwards, I know their reality. Or perhaps you think that I am delusional for remaining optimistic rather than joining in with all of the negative voices? Or perhaps you think I am against the team making moves at the deadline? STOP. I don’t need the game, the season or the team’s history explained to me in condescending tones. I understand these things as much as any other Canucks fan but I choose to have a different perspective.

I choose to recognize the absolute rarity it is to have witnessed TWO players amass 1000+ points each, all with the franchise. I choose to enjoy that the Canucks roster currently boasts a league leading rookie with a shot that rivals Bure and Naslund, on his way to breaking and setting new records in the Canucks books as well represent the team at the 2018 All-Star game. I choose to be optimistic about the team’s future and excited about their increased prospect depth including players like: Demko, Juolevi, Lockwood, Gaudette, Pettersson, Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich.

And yes there may be some fans and many of you that are still all aboard #teamtank but that will never include me. As we all know, tanking does not and will not guarantee a top 3 draft pick. It goes completely against my nature to purposely cheer against my team. I know that this season has been less than ideal and very much a struggle for them at times but that does NOT mean that I will stop supporting the team. Just because I choose to look past the negatives and see the positives that DO exist does NOT mean that I am naive or misunderstand the game. All it means is that regardless of ANY stat, I will support my team through the good and the bad.

Win or lose, good or bad, the Vancouver Canucks are my team, ALWAYS. End of story.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Vancouver Canucks: 2017 in Review

And just like that, as quick as it began, 2017 is nearly over. For the Vancouver Canucks, it wasn’t a perfect year or anywhere near close to it and if I was to listen to the way the media spins it, it was an absolutely terrible year for the team. IF, I was to listen to the media, I would believe that the team is going no where.

If I was to really take a closer look at what actually happened, there were some pretty incredible moments within that supposedly terrible year.

TWIN MILESTONES. Just as they have always done, in 2017, the Sedins have further cemented their place in the Vancouver Canucks history books. Amassing 1000 points is an incredible feat and one that many players will never reach. Even more rare is seeing a player reach that milestone with the same team over the entirety of their career. Seeing two players on the same team accomplish that feat is even more incredible.

JANUARY 20,  2017. They said it was an impossible feat and yet somehow, the ever consistent Henrik Sedin, hit yet another milestone when he scored his 1000th NHL point. Against his former teammate, on a goal assisted by his brother, Henrik Sedin brought the arena off their feet scoring the milestone point on home ice. I still get chills when I remember what that moment felt like in the arena with 19,000 other fans, it was a moment that I’ll always remember.

NOVEMBER 30, 2017. Daniel Sedin followed in his brother’s footsteps once more. On the road, against a tough Predators team, on a goal assisted by yes, his brother AND Brock Boeser, Daniel scored his milestone point to tie the game and help lead the comeback.

PROSPECT DEPTH. The 2017 Draft was a win for Vancouver despite falling to 5th overall in the draft lottery. With the 5th pick, Jim Benning selected Elias Pettersson who is currently having a season for the record books in the Swedish league and currently making his mark in the World Juniors. Along with Elias, Benning made some other strong picks: Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Michael Dipietro, Jack Rathbone, Matt Brassard, Petrus Palmu and Kristoffer Gunnarsson; adding to a growing pool of Canucks prospects. For the first time in a long time, the Canucks have a deep wealth of prospects. (**Jim Benning deserves a lot more credit than he is given for the depth of the Canucks current crop of prospects).

JAKE VIRTANEN. Everyone said he was a bust, some probably still do. The truth is, last season, he really struggled and it would’ve been easy to write him off after spending the majority of the season in Utica. Heading into the training camp this year, he had to take all the lessons he’d learned in Utica, put in a lot of hard work and still earning a roster spot, no guarantee. He put the work in, had a strong showing in the pre-season, and over the course of the first half of the season has begun to show a complete level to all areas of his game. It started slowly, but more and more his game is progressing to show the player that management hoped he could be and will be. (**Anyone else notice a little more step in his game since he switched to the same stick as Boeser?).

BO-LIEVE it or not. Bo Horvat came into his own in 2017. Bo and the Canucks seemed destined to make a deal as last season wound down, but the summer passed and still no deal was signed. As training camp edged ever closer, fans got nervous and media speculated that maybe it wasn’t such a sure thing after all. The Canucks said all along they were determined to make the right deal, Bo kept saying all the right things and wouldn’t you know it, both sides found that perfect middle ground. Horvat signed his 6-year extension and put in the work on the ice, immediately finding a chemistry with Boeser and Baertschi, aka the “killer-B” line.

BROCK BOESER MANIA. I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable, the fact that Brock Boeser dropped to 23rd in the 2015 draft or looking back knowing that so many were against the pick and uncertain about the player that Brock could be when Jim Benning drafted him. In the two years that followed, Canucks fans watched as he succeeded with college hockey at UND ever hopeful that this was a glimpse of what was to come.

MARCH 25, 2017. Brock Boeser made his NHL debut in his home state of Minnesota while casually scoring his FIRST NHL goal which ended up being the game winner.

NOVEMBER 2017. First career hat trick on home ice against the defending Stanley Cup champions, followed up by picking up another two goals against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Named the rookie of the month.

DECEMBER 2017. FASTEST rookie in Vancouver Canucks history to notch 20 goals in 34 games. (**Heading into the Christmas break, Boeser had 34 points [20 goals, 14 assists] in 34 games. Currently on pace to surpass Pavel Bure’s rookie record of 60 points in 65 games). Are you ready to see how the rest of the story goes, Vancouver? Stay tuned, this is JUST the beginning.

Safe to say that among Canucks fans, Brock Boeser mania is in full force. Yes, it’s still very early in the season and there’s a ways to go with some great competition with other rookies like Barzal and Keller, but Boeser is definitely a serious Calder contender. No, Canucks fans do not want Boeser awarded the Calder trophy in December, we just want it acknowledged across the board that he’s having a heck of a season and deserves to be in that conversation.

DORSETT STRONG. No one was sure if he’d even be able to make a comeback after his injury last season. Derek Dorsett put in the rehab, and worked harder than ever to find his way back to the game. And come back he did, he was having one heck of a season, possibly on his way to career highs before being sidelined by symptoms of the injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Tests and second opinions, led to Derek making the tough choice to put his health and future first, meaning that life after hockey came much faster than originally planned. Inspiring, persevering, and determined.

A few words, I wrote for Derek after his retirement announcement: Vancouver Canucks: For Derek. 

Good-bye, 2017, thanks for the memories. Here’s to 2018 and all that is to come!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Heart of a Canuck

If you were to look up the definition of what it means to have the heart of a Canuck, it would be a pretty long description of numerous virtues embodied by players of the Vancouver Canucks past or present that outside of their fan base, are not always seen by those on the outside.

A small sample of those descriptors: Determination. Sacrifice. Motivation. Driven. Perseverance. Leadership. Dedication. Mentor. And the list goes on, but these are indicative of not just how the player is on the ice but also off of the ice within the community.

Some players exhibit one or many of these qualities throughout their time with the team and beyond. And then there are some that embody everything that having a heart of a Canuck means from the moment they join the team to the time when they retire or are traded to join another team. Players that have embodied this quality over time include: Orland Kurtenbach, Pat Quinn, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and yes the Sedins. One that to the outsiders was always and still at times seen as pest to his opponents but to Canucks fans will always be on that list is: Alex Burrows.

Alex Burrows was an absolute class act in his time here. From the outside, that side of Burrows was not always seen. His name was synonymous with pestering his opponents. In Vancouver he is synonymous with constantly proving his critics wrong, playing any spot in the lineup that coach put him, breaking streaks, becoming the third Sedin, slaying dragons, and helping to end the stigmas surrounding mental health. He gave his all for his teammates, every single game, every single shift and off of the ice as well. He gave everything to this city.

This past week when Alex Burrows returned, Vancouver had a chance to express our thanks to a player who always has and always will embody what it means to have a heart of a Canuck.

He’s with the Senators now, but even in his leaving, he made sure that Vancouver also benefited from the trade. His last act was one in which once again he put his team first, as he always has done from day one. From undrafted to becoming the heart of a team and turning an entire city into believing that dragons were meant to be slayed.

Burrows was not the first player to have these qualities and as he grew into the inspiration that he has become, he had some incredible mentors in the Sedins and Trevor Linden. He also over time became a mentor to the younger players coming into the Canucks system and paved the road for what it means to be a professional on and off of the ice.

This year the Canucks have some veterans and some great young players on the team. Some of those players spent a lot of time mentoring Burrows, being mentored by him, learning from him and some never played one game with him, but they all know of him or have heard his story from him or his former teammates. His story is one that anyone can relate to, undrafted, too old, never meant to make it or have any sort of longevity and yet here we are more than 12 years later talking about his continuous legacy.

Players like Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Brock Boeser can all look to the example of Alex Burrows if they ever need inspiration of what it looks like to give your everything to the sport, their team and the city. They can look back at Burrows, and up to players like the Sedins to know that while it’s not an easy road, if they commit to it, they will inspire more people than they could possibly imagine possible.

To have a heart of Canuck, it’s not always an easy path, but it is one that will always inspire others. And if you see this Burr, this is just a reminder that to Canucks nation, you will ALWAYS be a Canuck. Thank-you endlessly for everything you did during your time here and still continue to do as you keep playing.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.

 

Vancouver Canucks: Season’s End.

Dear Canucks,

It’s hard to believe that the end of the 2016-2017 season has come and gone already. Where did the time go? Those looking from the outside could easily call the season a complete disaster and leave it at that. Some fans may even say the same but not this one. Yes, perhaps your stats were nowhere near ideal, a lot of things went wrong and the team had a lot of injuries but that doesn’t mean that I stopped supporting you. And yes, there were tough stretches, but the way I see it..it is during these tougher stretches that you need our support even more.

This year was my second season being a partial season ticket member along with my sister and personally it was another unforgettable year for us as fans. And yes while there were difficult moments, it doesn’t mean we loved the game or the team any less as the year went on. When it comes to hockey, even in the worst of seasons, I still feel the magic walking into the arena like I did the very first time that I saw a game played live in the arena.

From walking in the doors, to finding our seats, to the lights going down prior to anthems to the crowd singing in unison to puck drop to final buzzer, no matter the score, there is something completely magical about seeing the team play live.

There were definitely downs this season but there were also a lot of incredible things that happened.

Up: Starting the season with a win streak on home ice. As a fan, that was all kinds of awesome for us to see to start the year.

Down: being “shh-ed”  at a hockey game. How on earth is a person supposed to be completely quiet when watching a game in an arena with 18,000 other fans? Answer, it’s impossible, fact.

One of my favourite moments I was able to capture this season from #LightUpVancouver:

Up: Finding this sign outside of Rogers Arena shortly after that incident… #priceless

Down: This season was the first in a long time that more times than not, I was made to feel as though being a female hockey fan means that I am not a “real hockey fan”.

Up: All of those who reached out to me after each incident and made me feel validated as a hockey fan and especially those who shared their own stories with me. Thank-you.

Down: The injury bug hitting the team all season long.

Up: With the injury bug that paved the opportunity for young players to step up. Troy Stecher and Nikita Tryamkin helped to steady and anchor the blue line and becoming fan favourites as the season went on.

Up: Seeing the evolution of players like Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi as they all had career years. Also seeing players like Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser step up late in the season giving fans a glimpse of the future down the road was a welcome surprise.

Up: Seeing Henrik Sedin reach the 1000 NHL points milestone live. Sincerely that moment is one I will never forget. From the anticipation of the crowd leading up to the goal, to the play itself, to the entire team joining Henrik on the ice after the goal to the standing ovation, to the crowd singing “Don’t Stop Believing”, I can remember every detail of that night.  We look forward to seeing Daniel reach the same early next season!


Up: Having the opportunity to meet former and current Canucks players. 

Up: The opportunity to be back as partial season ticket holders with my sister. Hockey is one of the things that bonds us together and despite what a lot of media have written about there being NO excitement about you, we had A LOT of great moments this year thanks to you.

Thank-you for a truly unforgettable year of ups, downs and everything in between. And yes, the season may have been far from perfect but it still had a lot of magic. And just as I was a fan before this past season, I still am one today and will still be one for all my years to come. No stat, season record, or media outlet will ever change how or when I will support you.

And as we have the last two years, we will be back in the arena supporting you again next season, loud and proud every time you hit the ice!

Here’s to the future!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

The Dark Side

No April Fool’s joke here, just the bold truth. When it comes to hockey and the Vancouver Canucks, I love everything about the game but this season has been a challenge not because of my team or any stat but because of my being a hockey fan who happens to be female. Lately I have been seeing a lot more of the dark side of being a female hockey fan. I’m not sure what is about this season in particular but this is the first time since the game stole my heart that I have had numerous experiences whether in the arena or attempting to engage in a hockey discussion that I have been made to feel that I am not good enough when it comes to knowing about hockey.

This season has been one in which I’ve been told too many times to count that in no uncertain terms that hockey and women do not go together. Any other ladies felt like this recently or in the past? Tell me, do any of the following statements sound familiar?:

  • “You can’t possibly understand the game, you’re a girl/woman. You only watch for the ‘eye candy.'”
  • “Women cannot understand the complexity that is hockey. It’s much too complicated.”
  • “You like hockey? Do you even know what that means or actually know anything about the game? Doubtful.”
  • “You probably don’t even know who’s jersey you are wearing. You probably only bought it because you liked the design/colours”
  • “If you want to understand the game, you should just not bother even trying.”
  • “You could not be more wrong about [insert hockey stat] if you tried”
  • “What you actually mean to say is…”
  • “Shh…please be quieter, we are trying to watch the hockey game.”

And worse than any of the above assumptions about females understanding the game are the statements made about us or to us that cannot be repeated. Or then there is the fact that we may have differing opinions or perspectives and that according to many mean that we must be wrong. Having a different opinion or perspective does not mean either of us is wrong, it just means we see the game differently.

Why is this normal? Why is this okay? When did it become acceptable and why is it still acceptable? This is 2017, if you love hockey at any level, all that matters is that you love the game not what gender you are. If you love the game, you love the game.

I understand that there are fans who know more about the game than me and some that may know less BUT that doesn’t mean any of us are any more or less of a fan. I love discussing the ins and outs of the game and discovering new facets of it BUT that does not mean that I or ANY other hockey fan should be looked down on IF we know less or more than another hockey fan.

Hockey is for everyone? It certainly has not felt that way at all for me this season.

In an ideal world, the belief that “hockey is for everyone” would be true always.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Memo to the Media

To Whom it may concern in the Vancouver Hockey Media,

“Vancouver Canucks fans do not know how to feel…”. Stop. Please, just STOP. I get it, the Canucks are officially out of playoff contention but please stop telling me how I feel about my team. Stop telling me how you think I should feel or when I should feel it about them. If anyone knows how I feel, it is me, not you. And believe me, I know how I feel about this team and not one of your headlines or articles this season has covered it anywhere near accurately.

Since the start of the season, you have told me that I have nothing to be excited about this team or even this season and if we were going by your headlines, you would be right. Yes the numbers that make a season tell a part of the story BUT they do not define the whole story. The numbers do NOT define when or how I am a fan of my team. No game results or season’s results will define when or how I am a fan of my team.

If anything when you write your constant negative headlines or start telling me how Canucks fans are supposed to feel or even when the team struggles, it only makes me support them even more. I know that choosing to be optimistic most likely puts me in the minority of Canucks fans, but if you ask me, a team can always use support.

Yes, you are right that there have been a lot of ups and downs along this regular season journey BUT that does not mean it has all been down hill. And before you tell me that perhaps I am uninformed about the team or detached from the reality that is their current situation…STOP. Please know that I am completely aware of the team’s current state. Or perhaps you think that I am delusional for remaining optimistic rather than joining in with all of the negative voices? Or perhaps you think I am against the team making moves at the deadline? STOP. I know the team’s stats every year backwards and forwards. I don’t need the game, the season or the team’s history explained to me in condescending tones. I understand these things as much as any other Canucks fan but I choose to have a different perspective.

And yes there may be some fans and many of you that are all aboard #teamtank but that will never include me. It goes completely against my nature to purposely cheer against my team. I know that this season has been less than ideal and very much a struggle for them at times but that does NOT mean that I will stop supporting the team. Just because I choose to look past the negatives and see the positives that DO exist does NOT mean that I am naive or misunderstand the game. All it means is that regardless of ANY stat, I will support my team through the good and the bad.

Win or lose, good or bad, the Vancouver Canucks are my team, ALWAYS. End of story.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.