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.

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True Blue 2017 (Part Three)

It’s summer or more accurately the NHL’s off-season and you know what that means at NUCKSAID! It’s time once again, for True Blue and to put the spot light on you, Canucks fans. This year, it’ll be a little different than my past summer series. No questionnaire, but a more free form in which you can share whatever you’d like about your hockey/Canucks fandom, or focus on just one moment in particular in the team’s history(recent or from the past) that really shaped how you view this game or an experience with other fans that influence your view of the game now or really it’s up to you what you’d like to say. If you’d like to be featured/share the story of your hockey fandom or the moment that’s shaped how you view the game, send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com & we will set it up!

Today introduces you to, not one but two, Canucks fans.

Without further ado, this is Abi and HER True Blue story:

“Today, I’ll share a more recent memory. As a die hard Vancouver Canucks fan, my favourite memory from this off season was getting to attend the prospects game. It felt like a real game experience and there was such an energetic/positive vibe. It was so refreshing to sit wherever we wanted to and best of all, no rude fans. Watching the next generation of Canucks players was very exciting and I look forward to seeing these guys make it on the team in the near future. This felt like Christmas came in July for THIS Canucks fan.

Seeing Pettersson get two goals was amazing and thrilling to get a glimpse of what’s to come. Our future goalies made some great stops despite the high scoring nature of the game. I was quite pleased when a bonus team shoot out was announced. One of the few times that I will ever be excited to watch a shoot out. Each player was granted a chance and tried some interesting and comical moves in the added bonus overtime. I was so thankful that Rogers Arena introduced some new menu items in addition to free food and beverages for the evening.

Another added bonus for me was attending a behind the scenes tour at Rogers Arena. It was a wonderful experience to walk around my favourite place of all time. I really enjoyed seeing the wall of history featuring many of the Canucks legendary players, Trevor Linden’s locker stall with his old lucky sneakers, the Olympic victory mural, seeing the Great One’s signature on the elevator. Our tour guide was very informative and enthusiastic and equally heartbroken about the outcome of 2011. It was cool seeing the club 500 section and the view of the rink from those seats.

 

Is it Hocktober yet? I am counting down the days until hockey returns and looking forward in particular to two things: Daniel Sedin’s 1000th point milestone and seeing Brock Boeser play in a full season capacity.

Go Canucks Go! –Abi. “

Also, please meet Jeff, this is HIS True Blue story in his own words in video format:

*Note: Rock Tune by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

-Jeff.”

Special thanks to both Abi & Jeff for sharing their True Blue stories! Once a part of Canucks nation, you’re always one of us! Here’s to hearing, seeing, sharing and learning a few more before the season begins in October!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

True Blue 2017 (Part Two)

It’s summer or more accurately the NHL’s off-season and you know what that means at NUCKSAID! It’s time once again, for True Blue and to put the spot light on you, Canucks fans. This year, it’ll be a little different than my past summer series. No questionnaire, but a more free form in which you can share whatever you’d like about your hockey/Canucks fandom, or focus on just one moment in particular in the team’s history that really shaped how you view this game or an experience with other fans that influence your view of the game now or really it’s up to you what you’d like to say. If you’d like to be featured/share the story of your hockey fandom or the moment that’s shaped how you view the game, send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com & we will set it up!

Without further ado, this is Chris and HIS True Blue story:

“Why do I support the Vancouver Canucks? Why as a British person, am I even into ice hockey at all?

True, it’s not in our nation’s DNA to take to the ice, we prefer grass sports with sports like Field Hockey, Cricket, Rugby, and most of all football (or Soccer, if you prefer); though Ice Hockey is the most popular indoor spectator sport within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, even beating our Basketball despite the country producing a respectable number of NBA players! Even with it’s small slice of popularity, the British ice hockey scene is almost non-existent when compared to our reputation as a footballing country.

This hasn’t always been the case, however, back in the 1930’s the British national hockey team were one of the most formidable in the World! Often competing and beating the modern day powerhouses of: Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden etc., with the crowning achievement being winning the 1936 Olympics and World Championships as well as various continental titles. Even with this success, British ice hockey has very much fallen to the wayside, making it unlikely that you will ever run into another genuine hockey fan in day to day life.

This is why I am so grateful for things like Twitter and Facebook that have helped bring about the Canucks Nation. A collection of Canucks fans from all different backgrounds, nations, religions and cultures. The sport knows no creed, only what team you support. Fans of the Vancouver Canucks often get a bad name, whether it’s about them being fickle, rioters, bad losers…anything bad you can think of, the Canucks fan base has been accused of it.

Sure, we have our idiotic element, what sports team doesn’t? What people don’t tell you, is the good things our fan base achieves. For a few years from around 2009 to only last year, I suffered badly with depression and anxiety, and this was also at a time that I lost my Grandad and shortly after, my Grandma. I received messages from Canucks fans from all around the world, some in the UK, some in Canada, some in the US and some from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. People that I had never met in person, who wanted to see if I was okay, not because they had to but because I’m a Canucks fan. That simple. When I was at my absolute worst, I always knew I had the backing of the Canucks Nation, whether it was them giving me an ear to moan into or whether they just sat up with me chatting all things hockey and life. The Canucks Nation are whiners, the Canucks Nation are idiots is what we hear. The Canucks Nation saved my life is something I don’t hear, the Canucks Nation made me feel like I wasn’t alone is something you don’t hear but they did just that for me.

The Canucks Nation aren’t just the best fans in the NHL, but some of the best people in the world.

When I was a child, I wasn’t massively into sports but I was into video games one of favourite games was NHL 99 on the PlayStation. And my favourite team was actually the Detroit Red Wings! I had no affiliation to the city of Detroit or the team, they were just really good! To say I supported them would be generous, I more just played as them on the game and said I supported them. In reality, I couldn’t tell you a single player who wasn’t on the starting line-up on the game.

In 2001, I went to BC for the first time and who else was in town? The Detroit Red Wings…and because of my slight fascination with them, my dad got us tickets to the game. That game was a 3-0 win for the Canucks but that wasn’t to be a disappointing result for me as little did I know, walking into GM Place that my life was about to change forever.

As I first walked out of the concourse into the stands, I was taken aback by the noise and colours all around me, the Dark Blue, Red and Silver, everywhere. The announcers enthusiasm and just the sheer numbers of people all stuck with me. It was unbelievable, I’d never seen such a mad crowd! I instantly fell in love the the home team and quickly dropped any “love” I may have held for the Red Wings. I was hooked.

Going forward, I have only been able to see a handful of games like due to a gap of roughly 7,300 km between me and Vancouver. Despite this, my love of the Canucks was born that cold December night at GM place. I’m from a town in England called Stockport, about 20 minutes away from Manchester. Within the neighbouring Manchester; I managed to quench my thirst for hockey with the Manchester Storm, following their dissolution, the Manchester Phoenix, and as much as I loved those nights at the Manchester Evening News Arena, nothing had ever come close to that night in Vancouver.

Back in the early, 2000’s, streaming live sports wasn’t easy, so I had to rely on a weekly TV show we had that would give a weekly round-up of the league’s main talking points and some short highlights. It sounds daft now but back then I would make sure that nothing got between me and my weekly hour-long hockey fix.

As the internet evolved, so did my love for the sport and the team. All of a sudden watching a game was easier than ever but more importantly, so was connecting with fellow fans from around the globe. Though as I transitioned into adulthood, I could no longer stay up all night watching games and sadly I was restricted to weekend games.

This changed in 2009, this is when I first started battling my own mind. I often couldn’t sleep and would find myself inadvertently staying up all night long with nothing to show for it except a headache and uncontrollable yawning. This is when I truly learned what it meant to be a part of a family other than my own, the Canucks family.

As I was up all night anyway, I would watch the games online and suddenly my online habits went from searching for the best way to fall asleep to searching about the next big prospect that “the Canucks HAVE to draft”. From dreading waking up the next day to actively being exciting for the day to come and go, just so I could watch the Canucks again.

The weirdest time in my life came in 2011, that is when I was at my lowest point; without trying to be too much of a bummer, that is when on another day, things could have gone terribly out of hand with how was I feeling. Who saved the day? Kevin Bieksa

The worst night of my life, quickly turned into the best. It was Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals: Canucks vs. Sharks. As I’m sure we all know, the Canucks went from a 1-0 lead early on to trailing 2-1 with just seconds left before Ryan Kesler snatched a goal at the death to send the game into OT and then into double OT. It was during the second overtime that “the goal” happened. The goal that defied physics and logic, the goal that sent the Canucks to the Stanely Cup Finals, the goal that saved my life.

Once the Bruins series came along, I had started receiving professional help, a step that I may never have taken if not for that night.  When we lost Game 7, I was devastated, but most importantly, I was here. Since that summer things haven’t  gone overly well for the Canucks but it was around this time I started socializing more with Canucks Nation. I’ve made some truly great friends, both online and in real life thanks to the boys in Blue and Green; sometimes we just moan about how badly the team is doing, sometimes we just like to talk. Whether you’re a diehard season ticket holder or a casual fans who’s only ever seen highlights, everyone is made welcome into the family that is Canucks fans.

I had managed to keep my mental health in check for the most part until 2015 when I lost my Grandad. I run a Canucks fan page on Twitter and I’ll generally just chat with other fans and sometimes live tweet games. I made a quick apology for an absence due to losing my Grandad. It wasn’t for any other reason than to let people who’d tweeted/messages me that I wasn’t ignoring them. Within an hour, I’d had nearly 100 messages from people all around the world; they didn’t know me personally, some didn’t even know my real name, all they knew is that I was a Canucks fan going through a hard time and it was literally overwhelming how nice everybody was about it.

It’s experiences like this that mean even when I can’t watch as many live games as I’d like to, the incredible community of Canucks fans is something that not only do I hold very dear to my heart, it’s something that is now and will always be a part of my life.

So to answer the initial question I posed myself, why am I a Canucks fan? Because the Vancouver Canucks saved my life. – Chris.”

Thank-you for your bravery and for sharing your story with all of us, Chris! It’s not an easy task speaking up but it ALWAYS makes a difference. Once a part of Canuck Nation, you are always be a part of the Canucks family!

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.

 

For the Love of the Game

“You know that the Vancouver Canucks are not in the playoffs, right? Why bother watching the games or series if you can’t root for your own team?”

These are the questions that I have been asked every day since the 2017 NHL post season began. Yes, I know my team is NOT in the post-season this year, tell me something that I don’t know. You want to know why I will ALWAYS watch the NHL playoffs regardless of whether my team is in it or not?

The simple answer is: playoff hockey is the best, it’s a beast of it’s own whether it includes my team or not. Playoff hockey is incredible, pure and simple. As a hockey fan, how could I not enjoy it?

Would I have loved it even more if I was able to watch and root for my own team this post-season? Absolutely, but that does not mean that I will not enjoy the magic that is the playoffs. My love of the game goes beyond just my own team. Yes I will always be a Vancouver Canucks fan through and through, but I am also a fan of the game itself whether my team is involved or not. Give me all the games, all the overtime, all the unpredictability and everything in between that leads to the Stanley Cup Finals.

16 teams entered the fight on April 12. 2 teams remain to finish the battle for the Stanley Cup beginning on May 29. Will the Nashville Predators incredible post-season play lead them to their first Stanley Cup victory? Will the Pittsburgh Penguins be the first team to repeat as champions in back to back years since the Detroit Red Wings (’97 & ’98)?

Nashville has had incredible goal-tending along with a strong defense and players in every position stepping up every single game. Pittsburgh despite being without some of their core players have found a way to win in every situation. Both have what it takes to win and no matter which way this final 2017 playoff series closes out, we are in for one heck of a finish.

If you are like me, a fan watching with no loyalties to either side, which team are you hoping to see hoist the cup this year?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Canucks fans, don’t forget, as the off-season goes on, I’d love to feature as many FAN stories as possible. For more information for how you can have your story featured, click the link: https://nucksaid.com/2017/05/16/true-blue-2017/

True Blue 2017

As we edge deeper into the Vancouver Canucks off-season and the local media focus on all of the decisions that will or will not be made, here on NUCKSAID, it means that it’s time to put the spot light on YOU, the fans. The summer tradition continues. What exactly is the True Blue tradition, you ask? Allow me to explain.

The True Blue series takes the spotlight off of the angst that is off-season rumour mills and puts it on YOU the fans and YOUR stories. It has become a favourite summer tradition of mine to feature during the off-season. As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canuck stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you back year after year. Over the past three summers, I have had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Canucks fans from all over the world and sharing their stories with all of you.

Here’s a summary post from the first summer of TRUE BLUE to give you more of an idea of just how special this summer project is:

https://nucksaid.com/2014/09/23/true-blue-thank-you/

This year, I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you live in Canada or the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOUR story as a part of this year’s series.

Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I’m asking for your stories, I will share another part of my story as well. Is this the year, that you and your story will be featured? Or do you know someone who would like their Canucks story featured? If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2017, simply send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE.

I look forward to hearing and sharing as many stories as you are all willing to share and have read by many more throughout the summer. Here’s to making the long off-season a little more enjoyable by sharing all kinds of hockey stories!

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.