Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Canucks

I have been following the Canucks since 1973/74.   As a kid I was excited by the 1974/75 season when the team, backstopped by Gary "Suitcase" Smith, had a winning season,  They made the playoffs and even won a game against the Habs.   I thought this would be it and the Canucks would become a major force in the NHL.   Who wrong I was.

From 1975/76 to 1991/92 the team was in the basement of the league.   Yes there was the 1982 cup run, one in which the Canucks managed to win against teams with a worse record than them and then were slaughtered in the finals.

In the late 1970s the Cancuks were playing so badly that no scalper could sell a ticket to a game.    At age 12, with brother age 8, we would take the bus from Tsawwassen to Pacific Coliseum and just wait for someone to give us tickets.   This managed to work quit well as only once did we have to buy an extra ticket.   Nik was a very cute little blonde haired boy.   Scalpers not managing to sell their tickets gave them to the young hockey fans.  

In retrospect my mother was very lax in letting us do this, we had to catch a bus from Tsawwassen to downtown and then change to a Hasting bus to get the game.  This in an era of cel phones.   I am not sure I would do the same now, but it was fun at the time.

I remember the odd feeling of the Bure/Quinn era the idea that the Canucks could be a good team, finally after 20 years.   But there were only two good seasons and one amazing cup run.

The team is now in its ninth winning season in since 2001/02.  And they are not only in a winning season, they are leading the league for the first time since the joined the NHL.   The team that went through 28 years with only two really good seasons is now a regularly strong team in the league.  

This means that the expectation of the Vancouver Canucks for people over the age of 30 is that they are a team that is naturally a cellar dweller, but for youth like my sons, the norm is that the team is one that wins.

The odds that the Canucks are going to win the Stanley Cup sometime in the couple of years is very high.   I am both looking forward to it and sad about it.   Vancouver can only win the Stanley Cup for the first time once.

I think am being to believe the Canucks are the best team in the NHL and that it is not just a fluke.   It is a good time to be a fan.

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