In ’82 I was your biggest fan, or smallest since I was only 6 years old. But I was lured away by Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, and the rest of the Oilers franchise. Geography had a lot to do with that as I lived closer to Edmonton than Vancouver. The mediocrity of the Canucks was no match for the skill and excitement of Oiler hockey.
I moved down to the Lower Mainland in ’89 and was in limbo when it came to teams. Gretzky was soaking up rays in LA now and while the Oilers had won another cup I knew that the team was going to be radically different (thanks Pocklington…ass) and I couldn’t get find the excitement in watching them play anymore. But I also couldn’t cheer for you because you were finishing in 4th or 5th place for 7 years in a row.
In your magical run of 93-94, I was against you. I apologize. I cheered for Messier and the Oilers…..I mean Rangers. (The Rangers also had former Oilers, Anderson, MacTavish, Lowe, Tikkanen, Beukeboom and Graves) I spent game 7 on Hornby Island surrounded by your fans. I did a little dance in front of them when the Rangers won. I feel shame over that now.
Your 1997-2000 teams were disappointment because you could not even get into the playoffs. I was jumping from team to team. Not exactly cheering for any team, more like cheering against teams. I was interested by the first your two choices in the draft just for the simple fact I hadn’t seen twins in the league since Rich and Ron Sutter.
I moved to Costa Rica in 2001 and needless to say hockey was hard to find down here. I would read articles every once in awhile about you and look at gamecast on ESPN during the playoffs. Two years ago I met a Red Wings fan down here who told me he subscribe to NHL Gamecenter on the internet and could watch every game. I was sold and signed up for the 2009-10 season. I watched every one of your games and was quickly addicted to you. I suffer through every loss and rejoice over every win. You are the one piece of Canada I show off with pride to those who try to understand Canadians.
You crushed me with your undisciplined play against the Hawks in the playoffs last year. I was one of the first to call for you to change. Kevin Bieksa, I wanted you traded. My Bad. I stewed over your loss until Oct and then waited to see the “New” disciplined you. You came out slow but this regular season was nothing like I expected and everything one could hope for. You were the best Canuck team I had ever seen.
And when the playoffs arrived and you had to face your demons, I admit to panicking after game 5 against Chicago but I kept the faith and you did it. (Burrows you wonderful Frenchman) The series against Nashville showed you could grind it out against a defense almost as good as yours. And this victory against the Sharks…are there words capable to express joy in this fashion?
Thank you Vancouver Canucks for taking me back. Now fulfill your destiny.