Raise-A-Reader 2015 Edition

IMG_1395The tradition continues! September 23rd marked one of my favourite days leading up to the Vancouver Canucks regular season: Raise-A-Reader. The event takes place downtown in Vancouver and various places across BC sees local athletes, mascots, and television personalities selling special copies of the Vancouver Sun to raise funds for literacy programs. The event’s purpose can be properly summed up on the Raise-A-Reader website as the following: “The Postmedia Raise-a-Reader campaign exists to empower today’s children and families with tools to improve their reading skills. These skills are the foundation for lifelong learning that significantly affects the quality of life and the health and social economic well-being of individuals, families and communities. 100% of all funds raised will go to the literacy community.”

The campaign as usual, went from 7:00AM-9:00AM. There were representatives from the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Giants, Vancouver Stealth, Global News, the Vancouver Sun and many more volunteers. There’s no pressure or negativity or critics, just some incredible people from all different backgrounds coming together for a common cause. A morning where you simply make a donation to help grow the love of reading AND you get to talk one-on-one about hockey with some of your favourite hockey players, is perfection.

Here are some of mine and my sisters’ snapshots from the day:

We had a SVENtastic time meeting Sven Baertschi to start off our Raise-A-Reader day! We all agreed that the Canucks and Vancouver are both equally awesome.

IMG_1381Welcome officially to the Vancouver Canucks, Jacob Markstrom! Thank-you for the great hockey discussion and helping to make our morning epic.

IMG_1379 IMG_1387 IMG_1396Quite a few Canucks alumni were out and about volunteering for the day:

First up: Stan Smyl and Jyrki Lumme. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to talk about hockey and a shared love of literacy for all with these two gentlemen.

IMG_1397 IMG_1389 IMG_1382Darcy Rota was out volunteering and taking time with every fan that crossed his path.

IMG_1390 IMG_1383Captain Kirk was a class act as always.

IMG_1391 IMG_1384Another familiar face was out volunteering and being swarmed by the fans who were anxious to discuss hockey and relive some memorable “Captain Canuck” moments. Yes, that’s right, Trevor Linden was also out volunteering and meeting the masses.

IMG_1393IMG_1386And of course, no Canucks outing is complete WITHOUT a visit with Fin.

IMG_1392 IMG_1376And I could not leave the other mascots out of all the fun:

The Whitecaps very own Spike stole FIN’s move…not too sure how my favourite Orca would feel about this…

IMG_1377Vancouver Stealth’s, Bomber the FOX

IMG_1385and the Vancouver Giants, JACK the Giant was on location:

IMG_1378

Raise-A-Reader 2015 was a success as funds were raised to help literacy programs, smiles were endless and all in all, another priceless experience.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Raise-A-Reader 2013 Edition!

The LAUG's representing Raise-A-Reader 2013 in Canuck style!

The LAUG’s representing Raise-A-Reader 2013 in Canuck style!

Every year the Vancouver Canucks participate in the Vancouver Sun’s Raise-A-Reader campaign. This year was no exception and they were out bright and early. Vancouver Canucks players downtown is a HUGE draw for fans of the team.

The campaign went from 7:00AM-9:00AM. There were representatives from the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, B.C. Lions, Global News, and of course the Vancouver Sun. You can guess who I went downtown to see, right? Is it even a question?!

Of course it’s my Canucks! Support a great cause & meet part of the team?!

Team representatives today were: David Booth, Zack Kassian, mascot FIN! Kirk McLean was representing the alumni [but I missed out on meeting Captain Kirk…next time!! Even so, I still have some great long lasting memories!]

It was an absolutely fantastic way to start my day!

First meeting of the day: David Booth!

Met David Booth!

Thanks for the photo David!

Second meeting of the day: Zack Kassian! [side note…Jeff Vinnick {Canucks photographer} got an awesome shot of my 3 sisters & I with Kassian…hope to get a copy to share!]

Met Zack Kassian!

Thanks for the picture Zack!

And no Canucks fan outing would complete without a sighting of everyone’s favourite mascot: FIN!

FIN always takes a bite when our paths cross!

FIN always takes a bite when our paths cross! Seriously…every time!

Walked away with 3 awesome autographs!:

SarahsAutographs!

Helped the #raiseareader campaign & walked away with the perks of being an early bird! 3 autographs: newspaper[FIN!], Jersey[#9 Kassian], & hat[#7 Booth]!

Thanks again David Booth, Zack Kassian, & FIN for an epic start to my day! It was great to see so many Canucks fans out there support the #RaiseAReader campaign & supporting the team! Hope to see you all out there next year!

[Canucks met previously: Mason Raymond & Ryan Kesler. Still on my list of Canucks to meet: Luongo, Linden, the Sedins & Bieksa]

I do not think I can thank the Vancouver Canucks enough for my wonderful morning! It only made me that much more excited for the regular season to begin[despite the lack luster preseason!].

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2012 ends with the NHL making one FINAL offer…

Let me start by saying I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! Adios 2012. Hello 2013.  The 2012-2013 NHL Lockout has now surpassed 100 days. As 2012 came to a close…the NHL has made yet ONE more FINAL offer to the Players. Funny how each time a new offer is made..Bettman calls it the FINAL offer. Following each proposal there is usually a counter proposal. The sides have been in constant contact since the new deal was suggested and are supposed to met together yesterday and today. The latest reports suggest that a new deal MUST absolutely BE in place by January 11th in order to get the minimum 48 game regular season in place + playoffs ending by the end of June. It was expected that NHLPA would respond to the NHL’s offer yesterday with a counter proposal of their own. They did. We shall have to wait and see how that turns out….all signs point to they BOTH need more time to review and discuss. Great…more waiting! Just what we all wanted! There are many who claim they could care less if hockey returns after this latest round of cat & mouse that the league and PA are currently trapped in. There are a few NHL analysts that still hold out a faint[very faint] hope that a deal will be struck by the 11th. One of those analysts is the ever colourful Don Cherry who has taken to twitter tweeting his belief that the NHL will be back ice mid-January. I admit [as always] that I would LOVE if that occurred but it really comes down how far Bettman is willing to lose just to make his point [in the end, it might be more costly to him than he can guess. Rumor has it that this could mark his last year as Commissioner].

Now that 2012 has come to a close and the lockout continues…here is a list of all the moments we have missed thanks to Bettman’s lockout:

– 2012-2013 pre-season [but that is the least important of any games!]

– 2012-2013 opening day of the NHL season and all the games prior to & on January 14th.

– 2012-2013 All-Star game & all the festivities that come with it.

– 2013 Winter Classic [It was supposed to be TODAY in Detroit!]

– All of the ups and downs that come with an NHL season for each player individually and each team separately. There are always streaks [good & bad] throughout the season that make it unique and draw comparisons to previous years of previous players.

In other news…have you been watching the World Juniors taking place in Russia? Have you seen Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stealing the show? He has so far led Team Canada through an undefeated preliminary round…sending them into the Semi-finals! Go Team Canada![p.s. the U.S. team is looking pretty good too!] World Junior hockey is a great outlet for those us who are missing hockey. It gives us those lovely moments to yell at the refs for making bogus calls, yelling at the players when they make a mistake or dissing the opponent and cheering like crazy each time your team scores a goal. Yes, World Junior hockey is great for any hockey fan, but it ends as quickly as it begins and each game leaves me wanting to watch the game I have been missing since September.

I don’t care how it happens, I just want to be able to watch hockey again. I want to see my Canucks hit the ice at Rogers arena just as many of you [though you might not admit it at this moment] want to watch your team hit the ice in their home arenas. I am tired of reading the local papers [Vancouver Sun/The Province] attempts at creating hockey story lines during this lockout…it drives me crazy[specifically those jabs at Luongo…!] Their constant negativity is what drove me away from buying their papers and keeps me from buying them now. Each article seems to push fans against the home team rather than support them. That is not a paper that I want to read. I would rather read a paper that supports the team WIN or LOSE. It can report the BAD and the GOOD….not just the bad.] Apologies for my rant…but I was reading the paper at work the other day and the story made my blood boil…that is all I will say.

Moving on, back to the lockout that has seen no end [YET]…we shall have to wait and see the results of this latest NHL  offer and PA counter as it unfolds. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Roberto deserves better from you Vancouver & you should give him the respect he’s earned.

**I apologize, this post is a little long but there was so much to address.

Roberto Luongo deserves better from you, VANCOUVER. There is one thing that all of Vancouver fans owe to one Roberto Luongo and that is RESPECT. If there is one thing he has earned, it is at least respect. The guy could never do anything right in the eyes of some whether the team was winning or losing. Did he let some bad goals at times? Yes…but so has every other good goalie. He took on the burdens the city and media laid upon him, .and in the media placing the blame or glory on him, the city followed suit. One day everyone would love him and the next people wanted him gone and so the pattern would go. Oh how soon most of you all forget the good things that he has done for  this team and city.

I’m going tell you story about a guy named LOU. So sit right down & prepare to listen all the way through.

Let me tell you a story, picture it: it was April 2006 and the Canucks were without a bonafide #1 goalie with Dan Cloutier injured and Alex Auld flailing to fill the void(he was supposed to be the back up BUT had to play as starter when Cloutier went down) and there would be no playoffs. The playoff miss brought with it change, not just in coaching but on the roster too. Marc Crawford[had been coach for 8 years!] was fired and Alain Vigneault was named head coach. In a bold move, June 30, 2006 the Canucks traded Todd Bertuzzi & Auld to Florida in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Lucas Krajcek. He brought with himself high expectations to win and the certainty that the Canucks would return to the playoffs.The following season was one filled with many expectations and it lived up to it…although it was a slow beginning…the play down the stretch was something special. Luongo led the team to become the 2007 NW Division champion & playoffs with 47 WINS(P.S. the team had 49 W’s total that year…!) and was nominated for the HART & the VEZINA trophies. Round 1 of the 2007 playoffs brought the Dallas Stars…7 games….it became a goalie showdown…it was incredible to watch…4 OT periods that first game before Hank scored…but game 7 LOU was amazing…and Linden sealed that one. It was his 1st ever playoff series experience and victory. The 2nd round was not our forte….but there were some great moments despite the loss and the blame cannot all be placed on ONE player so do NOT go there. The following season [2007-2008] brought some more great moments for our city….Loungo’s 1st 3 game + shutout streak in November…Linden’s last game but there were no playoffs this time, only the promise that the team would be better next season. The[ 2008-2009] season opened with the Canucks beating the Flames 6-0….that was certainly an amazing opening act. November brought Loungo’s 2nd 3 game+ shutout streak(I was at the 2nd game of that streak…it was incredible to watch!) in which he beat his record from the year before! Things were going well until Luongo was injured and there began an 11 game losing streak in January brought all the questions from the year before….what about playoffs? blame being placed everywhere….and then a game in early February….at home vs. Carolina…tied 3-3 with less than 5 minutes to play…the Canucks short-handed seemed destined to lose yet again…but a BIG save & even bigger goal by BURR snapped the streak. That win got the Canucks back on track and they played unbelievable down the stretch to win their 2nd NW Division title in 3 years and just like that the city became crazed in playoff dreams. The first round brought the St.Louis Blues and 2-0 series lead gained at home…including a shutout in game 2. ***let me just say that going to a playoff game is even more incredible than during the regular season…! The Canucks would go on to gain a 3-0 series lead with a chance to sweep..something they had never done before EVER and of course it came down to less than 20 seconds of OT[looking certain to go into a 2nd overtime] but who else but BURR gets to goal for the SWEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great goal-tending & an excellent PK won the series hands down….the next round brought out the Chicago Blackhawks….and well it started out great….1-0 series lead….2-1 series lead….a back & forth game 6 that looked briefly as thought the Canucks would win….but of course we all know what happened…they didn’t and this was the 1st heart-ache the Blackhawks caused me and also ignited a deep loathing of all things Chicago Blackhawk related. The [2009-2010 season] brought out special circumstances with the Winter Olympics being smack dab in the middle of February and requiring the NHL to pause their season for 2 1/2 weeks while many players represented their countries in the event. Luongo was supposed to back up Brodeur…and was given game 1 to play with the understanding that these would be Brodeur’s games. However when Brodeur faltered against the USA, Luongo was handed the reigns and never gave them back. Yes it was CROSBY that scored the GOLDEN GOAL but it was LUONGO that made that ridiculous save against Slovakia to insure that team Canada was able to play in the gold medal game.

CROSBY SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANADA WINS GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Upon returning to the regular season Luongo led to team to their 3rd NW Division title in 4 years and HANK won the Art Ross. Luongo had 40 W’s. The 2010 playoffs brought more excitement to the city still high off the winning gold on home ice at the Olympics. Round one went back and forth with the Kings[some great glove saves on both sides..particularly that one LOU had on Smyth!]…but it was the lack of penalty kills and WAY too many penalties being taken that nearly cost this series…..I remember thinking just kill ONE penalty and stop taking more….and finally they killed one and then another and then a few big saves…and a game 4 won to tie the series..and suddenly they were in control of game 5…and game 6 WON! Round 2 once more brought the Blackhawks from the windy city…and once more it started out great…1-0 series lead….but then down 3-1…….and then game 5 WON…..and hope once more….but we all know what happened in game 6…..it wasn’t pretty. 2 years in a row….twice in 6 games the Canucks were eliminated by Chicago…twice they were the better team. It ignited an even greater dislike of all things Chicago Blackhawk related.
The [2010-2011 season] was special in many ways. Luongo set the bar even higher….becoming to most winning Canuck goalie….reaching his personal 300th career W….helping lead the Canucks to their BEST franchise record EVER…[54-19-9…earning 117 points to earn the Presidents trophy securing home ice for the entire playoffs] in which they led in all the important categories : #1 powerplay #1 penalty kill(*3rd by playoffs, still amazing), #1 in goals scored and #1in least goals allowed. They won the NW Division title for the 4th time in 5 years and won the entire regular season in the West & the East….the next best team had 109 points. This time it was DANNY that won the Art Ross. The Canucks opened the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks…yes I know..3 years in a row…how is that even possible?! The Blackhawks were lucky to make the playoffs in 2011…but still they had a talented team. The Canucks knowing that if they were to go a long way MUST beat the previous Stanley Cup champion team. It was a fantastic 1st 3 games…the Canucks led the series 3-0!!..yes I know amazing…but then the Blackhawks started playing the way they always do…and got themselves back into the series…tying it 3-3….leading to the inevitable game 7…do or die. There were so many implications going into that game….and then it started…LOU opened with some great saves and then KES to BURROWS…SCORES!!!!!!!!! and the score remained 1-0 for nearly the entire game…a missed penalty shot….then there was a last minute powerplay which ended up with the Blackhawks tying it shorthanded rather than 2-0 it became 1-1. Overtime for all the marbles….Canucks take a bad penalty….SHARP goes for the goal…but STOPPED BY LUONGO….and suddenly the penalty is over. Campoli misses the clearing attempt BURROWS steals and SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the dragon has been slayed…or as Jim Hughson said it: “it’s a great day for an exorcisim, Vancouver!”.

SHARP shoots…GREAT SAVE LUONGO!!! Campoli misses the clear, BURROWS steals…shoots SCORES!!!!!!!!!! THE CANUCKS SLAY THE DRAGON!! BLACKHAWK DOWN!

The games that followed were an amazing run….and one of these days the Canucks will win the cup[every team will have their day]. This season we just had…maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the 2010/2011 season…but it was still a great one…that ended in a 2nd President’s trophy. BURR scoring & LOU standing tall to end the streak in Detroit….these two teams always play great against one another. And maybe there was no magical playoff run this time…but DO NOT place all the blame on #1….was it his fault that the Canucks couldn’t beat Quick? No. What is supposed to make saves and score too? That is illogical. It breaks my heart a little to think of how quick when things go wrong that the local media(The Province & The Vancouver Sun in particular) followed by the fans are to solely blame Luongo…even if the team in front of him struggled greatly…but all anyone ever mentions is the bad goal let in…or if he just stopped that one…..but what about if the defense had just blocked that shot? or if the forwards had just got that one goal? or if the powerplay clicked? I’m sick of it. In comes Cory Schneider…yes he’s a great athlete…yes he’s played 60 NHL games(peanuts compared to Lou) but he is not a bonafide starter and he could STILL benefit greatly from having LOU in tandem with him this coming season. Luongo holds most of the Canuck goalie records…or don’t you remember? I enjoy watching these two play and they make each other play better…it is not a coincidence that suddenly Schneider was playing amazing this year, but he has not yet earned the respect that everyone is so quick to give him. Yes he has earned the right at playing more and getting a chance…but he has NOT earned the respect of Lou’s experience. Luongo has given this team an amazing 6 years…5 playoff appearances….solidifying himself in the Canucks record books…5 Division titles…1 Western Conference Championship…2 Presidents Trophies…not to mention his work with Canuck Place, Canucks For Kids Fund, & his other charities…so do not start telling me to give Cory that same respect because he has not earned that just yet. Maybe he will, but he isn’t there yet. To me Luongo will always be a Canuck and I secretly(or not so secretly since I’m sharing it with all of you] hope that he stays in Vancouver this season and should Cory falter that LOU takes those reigns and does not relinquish them until the Canucks win their 1st Stanley Cup. What is so wrong with having potentially one of the greatest goalie-tandems in the league..I will answer you, nothing…it would be amazing. I have nothing but the greatest respect Luongo and always have…I will always LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU no matter where he plays but like I said I hope that he stays in my city with my team. #foreveraCanuck in my eyes!

So the next time you think about following the media’s standpoint on criticizing a player..just think back to what they have done for the team, the city, and the fans…do not just adopt their attitude present in their article because it is not always true.The fans should not be taken in by the media’s tirade on the team or their players…as a fan you should always root for your team and the players that make up your team.I would hope that the local media would report the accurate facts but also when things aren’t going well for the team instead of attacking the players and coaches and placing the blame that they would encourage the fans and the city to still cheer loud because positivity can go a long way.  I will never understand the local media when things go bad can never find one decent thing to say about the team…but only the negatives…and if that is all the fans are reading…suddenly those become the thoughts they are thinking when a similar spiral begins and they too start sharing the same negative blame placing attitude. It is unacceptable and hopefully in the coming season things will change. How would you feel if every time you opened the paper there was a new article about how everything that is going wrong is yet again somehow YOUR fault….it would be ridiculous. The local media has become so absurd that I stopped by the local papers following this last season because it each day the excuses implied by them was that the blame all fall on one individual…and as we all know hockey is a TEAM sport…a TEAM game…and like any TEAM game…TEAMS win or lose TOGETHER.

That is all.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.