So tonight was the night – The Canucks and The Bruins equalised at 3-3 with one game to go. It’s worth noting that each team have won their home games and tonight was played in Vancouver giving the Canucks the home ground advantage. I was also reliably informed that each time a Canadian city has hosted the Olympics, the following year their team had won the Stanley Cup. Add to this the fact that I got up, put on my Canucks t-shirt and headed downtown – surely victory was assured and the game itself was a mere formality! I wasn’t worried.
I was invited to watch the game with my new gang of pals who I’d met whilst watching my first game – the last game of the semi-finals – the game that got the Canucks into the finals. We hatched rough plans to meet in Yaletown but when I got there early afternoon, the queues were literally around the block out of every venue. Luckily word came through that Jay had been more successful and managed to secure a few seats at a nearby bar. I rushed to meet him there to fulfil my duty as a designated seat warmer.
The atmosphere was electric – the entire city was clad in blue and green – those that weren’t, well, lets just say there wouldn’t have been enough of them to make their own hockey team! It was great chatting with Jay, an all year round hockey fan who was able to give me a little more insight into the game. Pretty soon the others arrived – Triona, Ryan, another cousin, Cale and friends Tim and Kerry.
The game began as always with a rousing rendition of the Canadian National Anthem – I’m sure the collective voice of the city could have been heard from space – it was phenomenal! It reminded of Australian sporting pride before the Howard years turned it ugly and nationalistic. And then they were off.
Again, I had very little idea of what I was actually watching so took my cues from those around me. At some point shots were passed around – jaegar bombs going off everywhere further distracting me from the game. At one point I became engrossed in an enlightening, yet confusing conversation with a couple that eventually led me to the realisation that the Canucks weren’t the only ones looking to score that night! When the penny finally dropped, I returned to my fold to focus on the game… at which point, it wasn’t looking good. The Bruins were on the board with the Canucks (and the odd couple) yet to score.
During the breaks speculation mounted about the outcome should they lose with people reminiscing about their own hockey war stories. The mood was changing, it did not bode well. I’m afraid to say that the worse came to pass – the Canucks lost without scoring a single goal (same for the couple in case you’re wondering). With riots inevitable, it was time to get out of dodge… we beat a hasty retreat to Jay and Triona’s hotel and waited for the heat to die down a little. From there we headed back to their aunts house in Kits to watch it unfold on TV over pizza and wine.
Cale, who’d gone missing at the end of the game, eventually rejoined us having gone down to check out the riots and promptly got his foot stomped on my the police and subsequently arrested. Still, he’s not the first in the family to have been arrested during a post-game hockey riot…
And so ends my brief flirtation with sports fandom. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!