True Blue 2015 (Part THREE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Canucks Go!!!!

-Justin Lai.”

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

Go Canucks Go!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

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True Blue 2015 (Part ONE)

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

Are you ready for True Blue 2015?

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

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

IMG_0981“How did you become a Vancouver Canucks fan?

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

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

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

Favourite Vancouver Canucks memory?

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

What a BIEKSALLENT goal!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will be an awesome year!

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

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

Which rookie/prosect has you most excited?

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

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

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

What would you like to see change in the NHL?

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

-Helen.”

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

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

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

TRUE BLUE 2015

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

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

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

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.