Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Nation's Pride: Hockey

In 2009, I, small town girl from BC, visited the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, two thousand miles away. Like a kid in a candy store, I wrapped my arms around the Stanley Cup.

I strolled from room to room in awe. I stopped at the Vancouver Canucks window and read their accomplishments.

Under Stanley Cup it showed one word: None. 

It wasn't as if I didn't know they'd never won. I knew that. But somehow, seeing it on the wall of the HHOF, the knowledge hit me: Since their beginning in 1970, the Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup.

After 39 years, you begin to believe it'll never happen. Then you witness the 2010 Olympics. You watch both the women and men Team Canada win the Gold. You feel the connective pride.

Maybe it was seeing our youngest carrying the torch.

Or hearing Oh Canada sung in the streets. Suddenly the reaffirmed sense of patriotism was all-consuming. I was singing Oh Canada while vacuuming, sorting laundry, doing dishes, writing.

I know it's only a game. They're not curing cancer, or instilling world peace. I know that. But they're bringing us together in a very important way. They're renewing our sense of pride and wonder. We're Canadians, this is our game.

Regardless of whether the Vancouver Canucks take the Stanley Cup this year, I believe they will, I'm grateful for the opportunity to stress over the game between Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks. I'm only now recovering.

Say "Hockey" to a Canadian who doesn't speak English and they'll nod and smile because they know exactly what you mean. Hockey is our game, the Vancouver Canucks are our team.

Go Canucks Go! 
* The photos are courtesy of the HHOF webpage. My pics are on a disc somewhere...


  1. I'll be rooting for the Canuck's too Joylene.
    I'm a keen follower of all kinds of sport all over the world and I firmly believe that history and tradition are one of any sports greatest strengths.
    That's why I can identify with you and your passion for your national sport and your team.
    It always seems strange to me that the NHL has expansion teams in warm weather places like Dallas and Florida, I suppose money talks!
    Go Canucks.

  2. Thank you, Paul. What a nice comment. And yes, hockey in tropical climates seems strange. Phoenix is sending the Winnipeg Jets back to Manitoba. But I don't it has anything to do with weather. Have a great week.

    1. Hi Joylene, I was thinking about this post yesterday when my local football team Manchester City, finally won the premier league title after a wait of 44 years!
      It was one of the most amazing and cathartic moments of my life when the winning goal was scored, deep into injury time, I'm sure you will enjoy the moment just as much when The Canucks finally win The Stanley Cup.

  3. Yes, even we English always think of you when hockey is mentioned. No wonder you are so proud. That visit must have been a wonderful experience, Joylene.

  4. Hey Joylene,
    I stayed up and watched that game. Never, in all my years of watching and yes, playing hockey, did my emotions go through such a torturous series of emotions.
    At gone six in the morning, I woke up my son and my startled and puzzled neighbours due to my uncontrollable screaming of relief and jubilation.
    I so wanted to come over and know that the Canucks would still be in the play-offs. Thankfully, I now can realise that.
    Actually, in some ways, that experience was more that just the game. It was a collective sigh of relief for many of us and we all need a bit of the 'feel good factor'. Even over here in England, I sensed the tension and anxiety of something very special that went beyond just sport, but may be, to some degree, a reflection on aspects of our lives.
    Take care eh:) Go Canucks Go!

  5. So both our teams made it to the next round! Perhaps they will meet and battle for the Cup. You never know. :) Might be kind of fun, you know? Yes, it is only a game but I still love it. Here's hoping our teams move forward.
    Have a great weekend,

  6. Carole, it was a highlight of my life. But best of all, every time I recite how wonderful it was to hug the cup, my son Jamie screws up his face the way he used to when I made him eat liver! LOL. I know, I'm a mean mum.

    Have a lovely weekend, Carole.

  7. Gary, I know! It was the best hockey game I've ever seen. When they tied I was beside myself with stress. I finally hid in the laundry room, took some deep breaths, then went back to the game. I'm embarrassed to say I actually prayed. For heaven sakes!

    Have an excellent weekend, my friend.

  8. Karen, who's your favourite team? Boston? Detroit? I love the excitement of really good solid playing like we had the other night. What an experience.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Go Canucks go! I can say that becaue in our climate we don't play hockey of any sort, much. I played it as a school sport, but on a green field. I guess Rugby League and Union are our most prideful games. Er, it used to be cricket but those dastardly Pommies are slamming us these days.


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  10. Hi Denise. Yes, Go Canucks Go! I played grass hockey. I wasn't any good. Wasn't any good at curling either. I can play a mean jigsaw puzzle. Actually, I'm pretty good at billards. Glad you could stop by, Denise. I love your blog.


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