5. The 2001 World Figure Skating Championships
I was just eight at the time when my family came up for the Figure Skating Championships from Woodinville, WA (a suburb of Seattle). I had already gained some interest in hockey, mostly from playing NHL '99 on the computer and from watching the Mighty Ducks movies. Because of the movies, I was a Ducks "fan" and Paul Kariya was my favorite player even though I never watched him actually play. Coming up to Vancouver and spending time in the arena meant a trip to the team shop during the oh so tedious Ice Dancing portion of the competition. This meant a Daniel Sedin jersey which meant instant Canuck and Sedin fandom. I've been following the team ever since.4. Video Games
I was able to build loyalty and gain exposure to the team through the NHL series by EA Sports. First on the computer, then on the PS2, and now on the 360, being able to play as the Canucks made me more familiar with the players and how they played the game. I would know who I was watching when tuning into CBUT (later CBC) on Saturdays. This medium, as well as the internet, was very valuable as without it I would not have become familiar with the players and thus I wouldn't have been as strong a fan as I have grown to be.
3. Northwest Ties
Being a Seattle native, my proximity to Vancouver has shaped my Canucks fandom immensely. I have been able to watch games on Canadian television and make the occasional trip up to see the team play. Without this connection, I would either be a fan of another team or of no team at all. I feel a strong sense of kinship with Vancouver, a city that I see as similar to Seattle in terms of values and aesthetic yet also vastly different. Vancouver is beautiful and unique, and the people there show such devotion to the Canucks that I can't help getting swept up in the admiration and support shown for the city's hockey club. Vancouver truly is a mix of people with differing backgrounds who all come together to cheer on their Canucks. I no longer have a basketball team to root for, but during the fall-spring months I still have a team to get behind.
2. From Naslund to Burrows: The Players
Some of the players that we have had the pleasure of following have grabbed my attention and made my devotion to the Canucks grow stronger. Daniel Sedin was my first favorite Canuck and is still my favorite to this day. I love watching the chemistry between he and his twin Henrik, a duo that can make watching endless cycling fun! I am so happy that they have put it all together and become two of the best players in this league. I also grew up watching that West Coast Express team, and boy were they entertaining. If only Bobby Lu were around during their heyday. Now a days, we have the pleasure of watching the twins and Luongo along with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, two players who play the game with dignity and pride, leaving their last ounce of effort on the ice each night. They have shown me what a true all-around hockey player is. In no other sport does one use this combination of skills: skating, defending, puck handling, passing, shooting, and checking. Kes and Burr do it all. I look forward to watching the two of them, along with many other players, for years to come.
1. Playoff Hockey
There really is nothing like playoff hockey. The intensity of game seven, of overtime, of a combination of the two produces human emotion that is hard to duplicate. The knowledge that one penalty, one save, one deke can change the outcome of a seven game series is nerve-wracking yet insanely exciting. My love for playoff hockey, and hockey in general, can really be traced back to the series between the Luongo-led Canucks and the Dallas Stars. I was already a big hockey and Canucks fan at the time, but after this series my love for the sport and team grew. I can remember staying up very late to watch a game of seemingly endless overtimes. Luongo made crucial save after crucial save, willing the team on to victory. It is the one thing that I will most remember him for long after he has retired (however a Cup run or 3 may change that!). When the Canucks finally scored to take the game, I was ecstatic. That enthusiasm has since been met in each playoff series, jumping and hollering after every goal scored and holding my head in despair after every goal scored against. I have gained a hatred for Dustin Byfuglien and the Blackhawks strictly based on two playoff series. If that doesn't summarize the importance and impact of playoff hockey, I don't know what does. Spring hockey is something to be cherished and to look forward to, as a season without the drama of the playoffs is not really a season at all.
This is why I, Woodinville_12thMan, love the Vancouver Canucks.
GO CANUCKS GO!!