See you next year

I’m a Canuck fan by marriage.

I’m a Canuck fan by marriage.

For the 31 seasons we have been together I have watched Darcy’s hopes rise every year only to be dashed to pieces in the end. “Oh well,” he says at the end of every hockey season. “Next year.” And sure enough, when the next season skates forward on its sharp silver blades there Darcy is ready to cheer for his beloved Canucks all over again.

Over the years I have become a bit of a fan myself. I can talk hockey and I even enjoy watching the odd game, but I still have a long way to go before I’m on the same level as Darcy. In game six when the Canucks gave up four goals in as many minutes I couldn’t stand to watch anymore. I got up and retreated to my garden. Darcy got up, went to the closet and put on his Canuck jersey. That’s the difference between a real fan and a bit of a fan. A real fan is there for the bitter and the sweet, the wins and the losses. And if you’re a real Canuck fan, you know all too well about losses.

I wanted Vancouver to win for Darcy and all the other lifelong fans. The fans on the couches and fans like our son who pooled resources to make the trek to Vancouver in hopes of being present when their team finally made history. The son who only once in his two dozen years said, “Why did you have to make me a Canuck fan?” Fans who have only seen their team hoist the Stanley Cup in their dreams. Not the fans who riot when their team loses, but the ones who cheer anyway and patiently wait for next year.

What a season it was. Winning the President’s trophy, making it to the Stanley Cup final and having the same guy between the pipes who brought the gold medal home to Canada in the very same building only a year before! No one can say that the Canucks didn’t play good this year. However, it seemed the last few games digressed from skilled puck handling and displays of athleticism to cheap shots, embellishments and outright goon tactics.

It’s thrilling to watch a player outskate another to dangle a puck into the net. It’s not so thrilling to watch someone sprawled out on the ice from a blind hit. But that’s just my opinion.

Speaking of my opinion, I hate the whole white towel thing. There, I said it. I don’t believe in towel power. There is no power in a towel, only surrender. Back in 1982 when Coach Roger Neilson draped a white towel over a hockey stick and held it up in mock surrender in response to some bad calls by the referees it was wonderful. He was tossed from the game for his comic genius, but it was still genius. Fans brought their own white towels to the next game and the Canucks went on to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in franchise history. And then they lost to the Islanders. They lost. As in they didn’t win. Still, the towels were looked upon as some sort of lucky charm. They waved them about in the Stanley cup final in 1994. They lost that one too.

Neilson meant it as a sign of surrender. He didn’t mean it as a harbinger for victory. Towels are for crying into. To me, sending out a kid at the start of every home game to wave a white towel on the end of his stick is like announcing our surrender before the game even begins. I respect the symbolism and the history but it still smacks of defeat and excuses. Boston has a statue of Bobby Orr caught in horizontal flight after scoring his legendary winning goal. Vancouver has a statue of Roger Neilson surrendering. I say the Canucks need to score that winning goal and forget about surrendering.

Of course it’s not the towels or the statues or the fans or even the individual players that win or lose the Stanley Cup. It’s the team. As Chara hoisted the cup for Boston and Vancouver fans gathered up their disappointment one fan summed the whole season up in eight simple words. Standing on the street corner he leaned his green and blue face into the microphone and explained to the television audience what had just happened. “We won all year and then we lost,” he said.

As for Darcy, he dropped his jersey into the hamper and said, “Next year.” Me? I went out to my garden.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from Northern BC. You can reach her for comment at contact@shannonmckinnon.com.

Just Posted

Bella Coola Valley. (Scott Carrier photo)
Nuxalk Nation closes recreation, sports fisheries at Bella Coola due to COVID-19 concerns

Nobody is supposed to be travelling, said marine use manager Peter Siwallace

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

Pauline Schmutz, 75, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from public health nurse Donna McKenzie on Tuesday, April 13 at the community clinic at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for Horsefly, Big Lake

Anyone 18 and over who has not received a vaccine yet is encouraged to register

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
Industrial park slated for Watch Lake Road

Building company Omnitek to start building new plant on 32-acre site

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Most Read