Thoughts from a self-loathing Canucks fan

Let me state unequivocally and for the record that Saturday’s pre-game ceremony to commemorate the ‘7th Canuck,’ i.e. the fans, amounts to precious little more than another ignominy for Canucks fans to suffer.

Something akin to the shame and embarrassment any self-respecting fan of, say, the Nashville Predators or Columbus Blue Jackets (surely they exist) must feel when the two teams’ PA announcers declare in an exceedingly shrill roar that the team “IS…on…the…POWER-PLAY!” each and every time the opposition is a man down.

Come to think of it, our recent descent into eminently worthwhile mockery probably pains a great deal more.

After all, the Vancouver Canucks have been in the NHL since 1970 (the third oldest existing Canadian franchise). Our team is one that plays in a province and country that is undeniably well-versed in knowledge about the game of hockey and its myriad traditions; that loves the game above all others. Not some city where hockey often provides something in the form of gimmick entertainment for people who repudiate college football, perhaps in order to stand out among friends and family for their ‘unique’ sports palate.

Perhaps I give our venerable old franchise too much credit though. Let us not forget that the Canucks are, in fact, the franchise of six different basic uniform schemes and effectively three different primary logos in only 38 years of existence. Or, a club that has, at times, made the word ‘organization’ appear to be tantamount to ‘Mickey Mouse Club.’ Or, the franchise whose only sweater retirement to-date (number 16 is not hanging in the rafters yet) is that of a likeable and hard-working but modestly talented winger who averaged well below a point-per-game in his career, won nothing of significance in terms of team or individual awards (save one surprise Clarence Campbell trophy, a litany of Canucks Molson Cup recognitions and a host of franchise records set largely due to the dearth of bona fide stars to have played for any length of time, if any, in Vancouver), and most enduring memory for fans of my generation is probably rushing down the wing on a breakaway in Overtime of Game 7 in the 1989 Smythe Division Semi-Finals against the Calgary Flames and putting the puck straight into Mike Vernon’s glove.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love ‘the Steamer’ as much as the next star-starved Canucks fan, but he makes Bernie Federko look like Steve Yzerman.)

I suppose that is what makes the 7th Canuck ceremony so devastatingly laughable. It is embarrassing precisely for what it is: an obviously cheap gimmick that a person with any hockey acumen to speak of would likely attribute to a new franchise in a weak hockey market looking to ‘connect’ with a fan base that has only passing interest in the game. In other words, not something one expects from an established and respectable franchise in a putative hockey hot bed.

Discerning Canucks fans know better. This is merely par for a tired old, second-rate course. A course that the fans of the other franchises in this country, much to my chagrin, do not seem to ever pay green fees for.

3 Responses to “Thoughts from a self-loathing Canucks fan”

  1. 1 Mike Hawk October 30, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    It all started to go wrong with the new sweaters. The new slogan is even more embarrassing than that horrible “VANCOUVER” stitched over top of the log. Really, so I am a Canuck? Does that come with it any rights to seasons tickets and/or multi-million dollar salaries?

    Also, does it not remind you of the Simpsons Spinal Tap thing? ie. the “sixth member” of Spinal Tap? I add for your reference:

    Smalls: You know, for a long time, people have thought there were only five members of Spinal Tap. But they’re wrong.

    [Audience is silent. There is darkness due to minimum lighting.]

    St. Hubbins: Can we turn up the house-lights, please?! That was the cue to turn up the house-lights so we can tell the audience they’re the sixth member of the freakin’ group!

    Tufnel: We are trying to put a thrill into their grey little lives! [pause] Oh, forget it! Turn on the lasers!

    [Out-of-control lasers appear, one half-blinding Tufnel]

    Tufnel: Oh! My vision! [collapses]

    [The audience is still unimpressed]

    Smalls: That’s it. Show’s over.

    St. Hubbins: Goodnight, Springton. There will be no encores!

    Although I do take issue with you pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a point of comparison. Is a full change of allegiance in your future, RJ? Has Onterrible really got its hooks in you that badly? I feel like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

  2. 2 RJ October 30, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Quality reference, sir.

    I still think you’re a mile off the mark as far as the uniforms go but everyone’s entitled to be wrong once in a while. It’s an important component of personal development.

    As far as the Leafs comparison, the same could be said for the Habs, Flames, Oilers, Rangers, Blackhawks, etc. I simply used the Leafs because I know how much it hurts for us Canucks fans to acknowledge their superiority in any respect. If there’s one thing where they have us beat down pat, it’s on the tradition metric. Incidentally, the Leafs don’t even retire sweater numbers (let alone raise a number to commemorate ‘the fans’); they merely ‘honour’ their past greats.

  3. 3 Mike Hawk October 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    1) I’m all about quality.

    2) True. I mean, you have decided to stay living in Trauma, Onterrible for the time being rather your rightful home in BC, aka God’s Country, right? ;-p

    3) That’s it, I am buying you a Doug Gilmour jersey for Xmas.

    4) LOL, on a totall unrelated note, somehow, I am presently in 3rd in my office hockey pool. Yes, there are more than 3 people in it.

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