Natatlie North: To the children of Canucks diehards

Never touch a Canucks fan’s playoff shrine.

Never, under any circumstances, comment on the outcome of a game before the last seconds have ticked from the clock. And whatever you do, never, ever challenge a diehard fan to justify their undying love of the team. Such action will only result in a lifelong grudge against you.

Besides, anyone who has grown up under the rule of a hardcore fan knows there’s no real justification for any of it. Team allegiance, group bonding, the euphoria of watching a goal with just 18 seconds left in a scoreless playoff game or 11 seconds into overtime – these experiences cannot be properly put into words.

Respect the madness. I do. And I suspect other West Coasters who witnessed their father’s dreams shatter during Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals might as well.

My dad gripped the arms of his chair in front of an ’80s wood-cabinet Zenith TV, stacked high with Canucks flags, calendars, clippings and autographs.

On his back, he wore a jersey, but his foot revealed a more obvious sign of his commitment: a Canucks bottle-opener keychain looped around his baby toe for good luck. At 10, I chronicled in my diary every night the team’s rise to the top alongside my father’s descent into playoff-induced hysteria. I wanted the team to win so much because, let’s face it, every pre-teen girl had at least a little crush on Pavel Bure at the time. But more importantly, Dad’s happiness was riding on the cup.

Seventeen years later, we’ve all gone mad again. During Vancouver’s first game against San Jose, my friend leaned over to me as she asked sheepishly: “So, uh, what do you think of this Kesler guy?”

She’s not the only one with Ryan Kesler on her radar. People are mowing Canucks symbols into their lawns, pub owners are counting their cash from the influx of game night patrons and Kesler’s abs are driving the ladies crazy.

If I wasn’t surrounded by fans, I probably wouldn’t invest my time absorbing hockey trivia or decoding Scott Oake’s smooth interview moves – look at their eyes, not their mouths, man! I watch these games to foresee how my future interactions will transpire.

Here’s another good rule: never call a fan for a favour 10 minutes after the Canucks have suffered an 8-1 beatdown. Wait until the next day, when the devotee will have had time to prepare a statement on how an at-home cup win will be that much sweeter. It’s true.

Like many, I don’t watch hockey during the regular season. I’ve got better things to do and I’m not afraid to admit it.

I’ll also admit there’s something downright magical that takes place when a room of friends erupts with screams of victory and jumping high fives. Like the gold medal hockey game last year, the quest for Stanley has delivered joy to the people.

With the image in my mind of my father, stunned after the Canucks lost to the Rangers in 1994, I hold onto hope for the future – for the sake of all offspring of diehards. No one should be subject to the emotional scarring left by another montage of highlights set to Mariah Carey’s “Hero” that ends with the opposing team parading around the ice with the cup, while Pops empties out the Kleenex.

Here’s hoping this series ends with more ungrammatical father-daughter text messages like the one I received after game 1 against the Bruins: “Woo we win we win!”

I sure hope so Dad, but hey, there’s always next year.

Natalie North is a reporter with the Saanich News.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read