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...