January 08, 2016

It's Never Easy Being A Canucks Fan

This article was first published in the summer of 2011. It was my first attempt to understand what happened in the Stanley Cup final weeks earlier. To this day I have not really revisited it.

I told everyone I knew (and everybody in British Columbia listening on CBC radio that afternoon) that I would cry at some point during game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

I was hoping it would be tears of joy for after clinching a Vancouver Stanley Cup championship, but it was not to be. But I was also surprisingly calm at the end of the game and through the Boston Bruins celebrations. Maybe it was because the outcome was evident in the second period, and therefore the devastation I expected to feel did not immediately come, either.

But I did cry. I unsuccessfully fought the tears back as long as I could as the Canucks players first entered the game to their customary U2 Streets Have No Name entrance music. I guess I just knew how the story was going to end. That was probably why I was such a nervous wreck all day long. 

Blinded by the passionate fan inside of me, I put on my bravest face (and bravest voice on the radio) and said that the Canucks would prevail. I really, really wanted to believe it. But deep down, I guess I just knew. It always ends this way.

This is what it is like to be a Canucks fan. When you watch as much as hockey, and as much Canucks as I do, you have seen the story before. You never fully believe. There are so many more downs than ups. And the few ups that there have been over the years, turn into disappointment by the end.
It is never easy to be a Canucks fan. We have seen the story time and time again. You come to just expect it. 41 years now. And I'm not quite sure why we keep coming back.

Everyone says the sting of this defeat will give way eventually. I'm not so sure. The implications of this loss are immense and potentially fascinating.

For all the greatness this team and these players have shown in the past couple of years, their legacy in Vancouver was very probably set with this loss. The heroes, rightly or wrongly, will be vilified.

Unlike in years past, disappointment will linger. In 1982 and 1994 we could take pride in their underdog efforts. But the 2011 team, burdened by the highest of expectations, will be remembered for failing, even though they came oh so close.

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