Inescapable

I thought I knew how a city could get when its home team was fight­ing its way toward a cham­pi­onship. I lived in Boston dur­ing that remark­able 2004 World Series vic­to­ry that ‘reversed the curse’, etc. There is still a sec­tion in the Boston.com web site that may end up immor­tal­iz­ing the event for the next 86 years — which was the length of time between the two World Series tro­phies — if they have to. For all I know, there are prob­a­bly folk songs about the Sox of ’04 and hun­dreds of new baby boys chris­tened ‘John­ny’, ‘Jason’ and ‘Man­ny’.

But for Cana­di­ans, Hock­ey seems to be more than just a sport. It’s a glue for coun­try, includ­ing the new cit­i­zens (and land­ed immi­grants), maybe because we all agree that Cana­da invent­ed the sport, and deserves to be the world cham­pi­ons in it, even if things haven’t always worked out that way.

Add to that, a tro­phy drought of sim­i­lar length to the Sox. Van­cou­ver, who have not won the Stan­ley Cup since the ‘Mil­lion­aires’ won it back in 1917–1918, is notice­ably hock­ey crazy, even for Cana­da. You see the cars every­where, with the flags all over them. Today at the mar­ket I could­n’t help notic­ing more than a few guys wear­ing Canucks Jer­seys. The CBC is run­ning a pho­to con­test of the cra­zi­est Canuck fan (you know, the ones who do the whole face-paint thing). If the team does win the cup, they are esti­mat­ing a $2.1 mil­lion cost in Police pro­tec­tion to keep all of the cel­e­bra­tors from run­ning amuck. Speak­ing of costs, tick­ets for tonights game were going for $320 for a pair from scalpers.

Some of my fel­low Van­cou­ver blog­gers are also pod­cast­ers. One of them was high­light­ed for their increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar pod­cast, Crazy Canucks. Check out the spot on the local TV sta­tion at John’s oth­er blog: John Boll­witt blog or his wife and co-pod­cast­er, Miss604. I think they’ve tapped into a real vein of Hock­ey Mad­ness.

I write this after the home team lost in over­time. It seems that every time I watch they lose. So I’m not sure I’m going to watch the next again on Sat­ur­day, when they are away in Dal­las.

As for the sports bar own­ers. I’m sure that although they do want the Canucks to win as much as every­body else, they’d much rather stretch this ini­tial set of play­off games with the Dal­las Flames to the full sev­en. Noth­ing crazy about that.

4 Replies to “Inescapable”

  1. Saw a bus yes­ter­day, its sign alter­nat­ed between “Broad­way” and “Go Can­nucks Go”.

    There may be a craze in Van­cou­ver now, but I think you mis­over­es­ti­mate the impor­tance of hock­ey. When there was a strike/lockout and a sea­son with no hock­ey, it was my expe­ri­ence that it was a rel­a­tive­ly small group (of men) who grum­bled. Most Cana­di­ans, includ­ing almost every sin­gle immi­grant, just went on with their life, with one less (media gen­er­at­ed) dis­trac­tion in their life.

    Of course I don’t claim that my social sphere includes a broad cross sec­tion of Van­cou­ver-ites, and it includes almost no Cana­di­ans from out­side the low­er BC main­land.

  2. Jan -
    It may be that the craze is media-gen­er­at­ed, but when that stick, puck and ice-pow­ered machine is run­ning, you can’t avoid it, for sure.

    I have noticed that it is expect­ed that every­one who lives here know some­thing about hock­ey. That’s not an explic­it require­ment, but I bet if you said ‘I don’t know a thing about hock­ey and am not inter­est­ed’, you’d be giv­en some strange looks in some cir­cles. I’m sure there are lots of equiv­a­lent expec­ta­tions about oth­er subjects/sports in oth­er areas. Maybe its a mat­ter of being able to make polite con­ver­sa­tion about some­thing oth­er than the weath­er. In Boston, I think there were times when ‘How ’bout them Sox?’ was the equiv­a­lent of ‘Hi there’.

    Maybe the effort it takes to learn a bit about what a pow­er play is, or that the game is played in three peri­ods (with or with­out over­time), or even the names of some of the star play­ers caus­es one to invest some of your­self into it. It does­n’t cre­ate fam­dom, or even per­haps, enthu­si­asm, but it does mean that you can par­tic­i­pate some­what. Pam has real­ly got­ten to like the game, and was per­haps less famil­iar with it than I was when we arrived in Cana­da.

    Roland -
    Thanks for the reminder. Now that we know the tech­nol­o­gy works, it’ll be good to see it in action. I’ll try to tune in (seems like a strange verb for link­ing to a URL, but then again, we still ‘dial’ the phone even though I haven’t seen a phone with a dial on it for years).

  3. I know the rules, I used to watch ice hock­ey dur­ing win­ter Olympics when I was a kid, but now it does­n’t inter­est me at all.

    I either call it Hokey or Stick Fight­ing. That usu­al­ly sets the expec­ta­tion lev­el with my con­ver­sa­tion part­ners as to how much/little I’m inter­est­ed in talk­ing about the sport.

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