Yesterday, I received an email from Jeff Klein, one of the writers for The New York Times hockey blog, Slap Shot. He was looking for my thoughts on whether I (and other Canadian hockey fans) are cheering for the Canucks because they are the only Canadian hockey team left in the Stanley Cup race. He put together a great article called, “Some Fans in Canada See Vancouver as Foreign” aka “Vancouver Canucks may not be Canada’s team” which has a number of great quotes. I suggest having a read because it’s a great piece, beyond the fact that I’m mentioned in there.
Jeff’s question was got me thinking, and I am wondering who YOU will be cheering for as the NHL Conference Championships kick off tonight in Boston. Will you be cheering for Boston, Tampa Bay, Vancouver or San Jose? Most importantly, WHY? Leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page. Even a tweet will do. If you’re a fan of one of the remaining teams, your answer will be self-explanatory. If you’re not, please explain your reason.
I know who I will be cheering for. I’ve cheered for the same team since the beginning of the playoffs and while that team has changed their name twice since the playoffs began, they are still in it. I just hope they can finish the job this round. Here’s the full-length version of my response to Jeff:
Question 1: Will Flames fans support Vancouver the rest of the way because the Canucks are the last Canadian team, or does the fact that they’re a Flames archrival outweigh any conceivable nationalistic reason for supporting them? I am not aware of any Flames fans who have felt the need to jump on the Vancouver Canucks bandwagon. If there are, I am certainly not one of them. My own decision to cheer for “whichever team plays the Canucks” is based on a combination of the rivalry that exists between the Flames and Canucks and my general dislike for many of their more stereotypical fans. By that, I mean the ones that earned them the reputation of being some of the worst fans in professional sports. They definitely don’t need any more fodder for their egos.
Question 2: Most of the Canucks’ most important players are not Canadian, so does *that* undercut any reason for supporting them as a Canada-based team? Most Canadians would agree that we want the Stanley Cup back in Canada as soon as possible. If our preferred team isn’t in the race, the next consideration is how many Canadians are on the team. This is an instinct that exists in all Canadian-born hockey fans and it is usually powerful enough to overcome divisional rivalries. The fact that the Canucks have so few Canadians on their roster and the lowest number of Canadian star players, only reinforces my desire to see them exit the playoffs sooner rather than later. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that my ideal final is Boston vs. San Jose. Can you imagine what us Flames fans will be feeling if we have to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning face-off against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals?!! We still haven’t erased the memories from 2004.