Why won’t Canada love the Vancouver Canucks?

They’re our best hope, by far, for the Stanley Cup


Derek Leung/Getty Images

Here we go again. With Vancouver clinching their second straight Presidents’ Trophy over the weekend as the NHL’s best team, and every other Canadian franchise failing to earn a playoff berth save for Ottawa—in by the skin of its teeth—the Canucks are the country’s best hope to repatriate the Stanley Cup. The painful drought that has kept the Cup on U.S. soil since ’93 was made worse this year by an especially grim season for Canadian hockey. Half the country’s franchises—Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton—rounded out the season as bottom-five clubs.

If it were the Winnipeg Jets or Calgary Flames sitting cozy at No. 1, they would surely be embraced as Canada’s team, the country’s hopes and dreams resting on their shoulder pads. The spring before last, when Montreal made it to the final four, almost 70 per cent of Canadians were pulling for the Habs, according to pollster Angus Reid. Last June, however, the Canucks were cast as arrogant, classless, even un-Canadian—and that’s just what Canadian media dubbed them. Things aren’t looking any better this spring.

At this stage, 35 per cent of Canadians tell Angus Reid they’ll root for Vancouver. That sounds okay until you consider that nearly half the country, 45 per cent, would prefer to see an American team take home the Cup over the Canucks, with Boston and Pittsburgh the most popular choices. “They whine. They turtle. They want referees to fight their battles,” Edmonton Sun columnist Robert Tychkowski wrote this week. “They are arrogant, they bite people, and their fans set fire to police cars.”

In Calgary this playoff season, an “anyone-but-the-Canucks” movement is well under way, says Kent Wilson, managing editor of the popular sports blog Flames Nation. At a local Jersey City store, Boston Bruins jerseys are the top sellers. The Calgary outlet has never carried L.A. Kings gear. “But this week,” says sales associate Caitlyn Blain, when it became clear Vancouver would meet the Kings in the first round, “people started coming in left and right, asking if we’ve got any L.A. stuff. Everyone wants to see Vancouver choke again.”

This disdain for Vancouver is not confined to fans. This winter, the Chicago Blackhawks centre Dave Bolland labelled the Sedins “sisters,” lacing in once more to a team he called out for “pulling hair and biting people—sort of like a little girl.” The Oilers’ Ryan Whitney once said “90 per cent of the guys in the league want nothing to do with seeing them win.” Partly the venom stems from some of the players they employ. “I don’t know if he has an ounce of man in him,” Florida’s Krys Barch once said of Max Lapierre, who has a reputation for diving, and yapping after the whistle. “I’d be embarrassed to be his father.” No surprise, a recent anonymous poll of NHL players named Vancouver the league’s most overrated team.

It’s absurd, and insulting for a team so good, so skilled, so adept at everything we want from hockey—cunning, hard work, ingenuity, persistence—to be met with nothing but hatred and derision. And yet the Vancouver Canucks, even after clawing their way back to first, have yet to be greeted as anything but. Even with Ryan Kesler, one of the toughest players in the game, even after playing a whole season with a target on their backs, Canadians write them off as pansies.

Long before the riot, long before the puck even dropped on the Stanley Cup finals, it was clear the team would not get any love east of British Columbia. A perfect storm of regional rivalries, petty jealousies and a culture clash pitting the Canucks’ skillful, hands-off approach against old-fashioned blue-collar hockey seemed to be to blame. A finesse squad known for jaw-dropping plays, the Canucks lack the kind of blind aggression that makes hockey hockey. Until they met Boston, the Canucks’ approach was winning. Hockey hated them for it. And still does. “They’ve got a bunch of idiots over there,” Detroit’s goaltender Jimmy Howard sneered last month. Of course, he said it after losing to the Canucks.

The hostility began building late last season, when Vancouver was absolutely dominant, running away with the Presidents’ Trophy, finishing first in nearly every important NHL statistic. No underdogs, they were never going to get the kind of cheery coverage that greeted Calgary’s and Edmonton’s plucky, come-from-behind Stanley Cup runs. Columnists began weighing in from across the country, suggesting Canadians support the Bruins. The Toronto Star claimed a Canucks win would give the Cup to the “least deserving champions in NHL history.” Edmonton sportswriter Dave Staples called them “the most loathsome team since the thuggish Philadelphia Flyers of the early 1970s.” The National Post’s Joe O’Connor claimed he’d rather starve than support them. “Canada’s team? No thanks,” blared the front page of the Post. Its curious main thrust? They weren’t Canadian enough. Amidst it all, the New York Times actually ran: “Some in Canada see Vancouver as foreign.” The team’s “foreign” approach to the game goes a long way to explaining the hostility they stir up from the tradition-bound world of hockey.

The story begins with Mike Gillis. Last season’s NHL general manager of the year has never been one of hockey’s favourite sons. As an agent, the too-clever-by-half lawyer took on the league’s general managers, talking them into the kind of bloated contracts that led directly to 2005’s lockout. As a GM, he’s done it all over again, creating a destination franchise in what once was the league’s left coast laughingstock, where the game’s stars are practically begging to be underpaid. Before he was installed in Vancouver, Gillis had never drafted a player or orchestrated a trade, never worked in management, balanced a budget or built a hockey department. But he waltzed into Vancouver and immediately started working miracles.

Humble is not Gillis’s strong suit. In his maiden press conference in 2008, the rookie GM took a shot at the powerful Brian Burke-Dave Nonis duumvirate—the pair were fired by the Canucks ahead of his arrival, both moving on to the Maple Leafs organization—calling out their woeful recent drafting record, spotty player development and a lack of competitiveness. Like so many GMs before him, Gillis was promising a revolution. He actually delivered.

Gillis is a student in fact of baseball’s legendary Billy Beane, and set out to do to the NHL what Beane’s Oakland A’s did to Major League ball. Untainted by establishment thinking, wielding data and detached analysis to weed out inefficiencies and dim the game’s uncertainties, Vancouver’s phlegmatic general manager is willing to test-run rare and often strange approaches. Sleep experts, proprietary training programs, laptops and biorhythm bracelets for every player are all part of his arsenal.

His skepticism of hockey brass comes naturally. He was the man, after all, who took down Alan Eagleson. The game wasn’t kind to Mike Gillis. The hockey prodigy went fifth overall in the ’78 draft, but his dreams of NHL glory were derailed by a series of injuries. When in the early ’90s rumours began circulating that Eagleson, his former manager, had been bilking his clients, Gillis’s wife, Diane Coffey, an Olympic-calibre long-jumper, went down to the basement and dug up his old contract. Sure enough, he’d been cheated out of $41,250. Mightily offended, he decided to sue. It was hockey’s version of David and Goliath. “The Eagle,” at the time, was a titan: a lion of the hockey business, a friend of prime ministers and Bay Street icons. In the other corner, Gillis: a hockey wash-up from Sudbury, Ont., not yet out of university, with a new baby to support. Eagleson counter-sued for a quarter of a million dollars. “It was scary,” Gillis’s lawyer, Charles F. Scott, admits. The contentious, high-profile trial dragged out over six weeks, with lawyers’ bills mounting by the hour. In the end, Gillis was vindicated. But hockey’s biggest names had testified for Eagleson, and the episode cast Gillis as a pariah. “People in the NHL were so angry,” Gillis told Maclean’s, allowing a rare flash of emotion to cross his grey-blue eyes. “But there comes a point,” he said, “where you either stand up for yourself or you don’t.”

His life in hockey had given him a clear-eyed view of the game, and of the NHL’s power structure. He isn’t the type to kibitz over the good old days or get caught up in the romance of the game. This, more than anything, gives him a managerial edge: the ability to see through the hokum about the limits of European players and the merit of a Prairie birth certificate that still permeate front offices across the league. He is a fitting choice for Vancouver: an outsider leading a team of outsiders.

Vancouver’s stars can be hard to warm to. They’re led by the Sedins, a pair of Swedes “too bland” to get behind, according to the Post—the kind of players who stood in their wet shorts for an hour after losing the Cup, answering endless questions while fighting back tears. The brothers, who pass the puck nine times out of 10, play with artistry, creativity and beauty, don’t subscribe to hockey’s “code,” and set the tone for a style of play seen as, well, too Swedish. Honest, straight-up types like the Bruins, Vancouver’s mirror opposites, meanwhile, are exalted for their hard-nosed “Canadian” style of play.

Disgust for Vancouver crystallized in a single moment last June, when Daniel Sedin allowed Brad Marchand—generously listed at five foot nine—to smack him in the face again and again like an inflatable clown. Marchand landed no less than six punches. Sedin just stood there as the Boston rookie speed-bagged his face. Questions about the team’s toughness have only escalated since. This spring, the Sedins, along with Toronto’s Phil Kessel, were labelled hockey’s “most easily intimidated” players in a Sports Illustrated poll. The Canucks aren’t quite the pushovers they’re made out to be, but they were one of the league’s least penalized teams this season, and the only NHL squad that didn’t receive supplementary discipline. Neither stat is considered an honour. The Canucks, “gutless” and “unwilling to drop their sticks,” according to Chicago Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner, are a “disgrace to the game.” New hire Sammy Pahlsson, about the closest thing they’ve got to a bruiser, is . . . also Swedish.

For years, everyone in hockey has lambasted Gillis for refusing to add enforcers to the lineup, widely seen as Vancouver’s gaping flaw. Gillis, however, sees hockey “evolving to a more highly skilled game.” There’s no room in Vancouver for “one-dimensional” players who “can’t contribute.” Indeed, this year, several teams, including Toronto, followed his lead, dumping their enforcers, fourth-line fighters who log seven minutes a night. T

he Canucks are written off as too pretty—like Vancouver itself. Life is better in Lotusland, with its booming economy, world’s No. 1 city status and year-round kayaking; and let’s face it, that rankles. The regional rivalry that cleaves the country from east to west has meanwhile been aggravated with the upstart West flipping the balance of power on its head. The country’s new economic engine and now, a hockey powerhouse, too? Partly because of the perception that its success has come at the cost of Ontario, the West has become an easy target for resentment. This makes it easy for Canadians to hate a hockey team from their own country. These reasons don’t stand up to scrutiny—but the prettiest girl in school is also a target of hatred, and it all boils down to jealousy.

like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canucks have come to be seen as pampered. It isn’t long after a new player is traded to Vancouver before he realizes the place is very different from the club he left behind. “Just look at the locker room,” says former Bruin Andrew Alberts. “Personalized computers have players’ shifts broken down, so you can watch your shifts alone, or with the coach. There’s food every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a hot tub, cold tub, couches, TVs everywhere. There’s somebody you can call at all hours of the night, whatever you need. If your family’s coming to town for a visit, they’ll book hotels and flights. If it’s your birthday, Easter, they send you stuff.” Sure, other clubs are doing “some of this,” says Alberts. “But no one’s doing it all.”

Owner Francesco Aquilini opened up the bank for Gillis, giving him a $3-million dressing room overhaul, a top-line audio-visual system and the expanded scouting staff he’d wanted. A $50-million waterfront practice facility on False Creek is in the works. A team of military sleep experts oversees the players’ rest patterns, advising the front office on everything from when individual players should be napping to whether the team—whose gruelling travel schedule criss-crosses multiple time zones—flies home immediately after a road game, or spends the night, maximizing rest. “When it comes to innovation and creativity,” says agent Anton Thun, “Vancouver has taken it to a whole new level.” Nutritionists and chefs fine-tune three-square-a-day meal plans, and after games, players down a pink recovery drink blending electrolytes, carbs, proteins and amino acids developed specially for them and lab-tested at UCLA. The team doesn’t want for anything. This, too, gets hockey’s back up.

Maybe it actually comes down to this. No one likes the smartest person in the room. Nobody likes change. The Canucks deliver both in spades.

Vancouver’s faithful know what is coming their way. For months, fans have promoted the idea that they should laugh off the loathing and caterwauling, “embrace the hate,” and feed off all the negativity. But they may not have to. Hockey narratives are a moving target. Last week, New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella and TV analyst Mike Milbury crowned Pittsburgh the most arrogant team in the league. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, not the Sedin brothers, are being called out for “diving” and “whining” and “cheap, dirty” play this playoff season. And according to Angus Reid, Vancouver isn’t even Canada’s most hated team. The Leafs are.


Why won’t Canada love the Vancouver Canucks?

  1. yes, lets all cheer on a team with a drunk criminal fan base. Lets all cheer on the burning and looting of local businesses and police cars. Lets all cheer on the destruction of the once beautiful city of Vancouver. But were still the most ‘peaceful’ and ‘friendly’ nation.

    • your not a true canadian :)

      • Gulintino is right. Vancouver fans put a large scar on the internation views of Canadians. Hockey is a tough, gritty game, but ask any true enforcer and he will tell you that it stays on the ice. Vancouver fans took it to the streets last year and made themselves look like a bunch of big babies. Your city, and nation is embarassed of you.

        • It wasn’t the fans that looted, it was low-lifes and all the career criminals who BC continues to embrace (and pardon).  BC has become a lawless provicince, with it’s pathetic lack of a functioning legal/justice system. 2500 criminal cases thrown out of the courts last year in BC due to delays.  Dirtbags are allowed to do whatever they want in BC, and the Hell’s Angels have found a home in every district “policed” by the RCMP, their “partners in crime”.

          •  don’t bother, it’s too complicated for the simple minds here that have it all figured out using basic black/white us/them theories.

          • What about Montreal in 1955, 1986, 1993, and in 2010 when the Habs fans rioted?  You forgot?  Or the Edmonton fans in the Whyte Street riot of 2008?

            Don’t forget the1999 Stanley Cup riot in Buffalo NY, or Michigan State University that had hockey riots on two consecutive years.

        •  I”m a Canuck fan that lives in a US city, how exactly does your theory work now?  I didn’t scar anyone, I didn’t riot anywhere, and your tendency to group us all together is not only shortsighted, it’s a little dumb.  If that’s the only way you can reconcile it in your head, well all the power to you and your small mind.  Sad.

        • Only a Wings fan would conveniently believe that those 18 to 24 yr old drunken boys were representative of Vancouver’s fan base. The Canucks are a big deal in this town and we are not a town of drunken 18 to 24 year old boys any more than Detroit is a town of (pick your trashtalk target).
          The big mistake in Vancouver was the city leaders that let the gathering take that shape. You probably believed in Santa until you were 20 just so you could keep geeting the presents. Delusion of convenience.

      •  Correction: You’re not a true Canadian OR You are not a true Canadian.  I’m as upset as anyone about Gulintino’s comment, but please don’t resort to bad grammar.

        • Correction: please don’t resort to poor grammar.

    • The riot talk is getting old.  The trash talking of Vancouver and it’s team, people, etc etc etc has been going on for years.  

      •  41 years, to be exact. (Hint: number of seasons without a Cup win)

    • @Gulintino… you sir are clueless.  There were skids showing up before the end of game 7 with shirts tht read: “Riot 2011”.  Win or lose, it was going to happen.  As mentioned on here already, the fault is with our weak justice system and utterly useless non-actions and poor planning by Gregory Roberston (mayor) and Kristy Clark (Premier).

      • Ummm… dogg… I’m kinda with ya but I wouldn’t go so far as to pretend I know which individuals were responsible. I don’t think either Gregor Robertson or Christy Clark are experts in crown control – so I’m pretty sure it’s not them.

    • True Canuck fans were not a part of the riots. Infact, many people who participated in the riots were visiting from other places specifically for the riots. Any real Canucks fans left downtown right after the game.  Wearing a Canucks jersy doesn’t make someone a fan. 

    • lol go fuck yourself dumbass, your clearly-ignorant-ass is obviously not from here. you dont know the TRUE FANS, you just saw the bad apples and junkies finding an excuse to destroy our city. We’re still the most beautiful and peaceful city. Its fucked up how the innocent get dragged in with the guilty. Our Canucks are not only a hard working team, but they’re good hearted people who give so much back to their fans. If you dont want to cheer for them, then dont, we dont need retards like you. THIS MESSAGE IS FOR ANY ONE IN THIS FORUM  WHO AGREES WITH THIS DOUCHE BAG, DONT BE SO IGNORANT. WHEN WE COME BACK WITH THE CUP, YOU’RE GONNA WISH YOUR SORRY ASSES WERE VANCOUVERITES, BITCHES :)

      • So, uh, are you saying that YOU’RE a true fan?

      • I suppose anyone can call themselves a fan but “Your Mother” is definitely part of the problem (fan or not). Judgment and hostile attitudes are at the heart of nothing good.

      • I would not be terribly surprised to learn that “Your Mother” is in fact a Canuck hater in disguise. It’s almost surprising that someone that communicates in that way can type

        •  I think you are right Wings hater… probably had his mother type it.

      • Oh Vancouver will never come back with a cup unless they ditch the sedins and luongo

    •  simple minds group everyone together.  Millions of people in BC that are Canuck fans weren’t anywhere near the riots.  Your simple-minded theory doesn’t quite work in the real world, which is complex and multidimensional.  But I guess you have to reconcile it somehow for yourself, in a way you can understand it.

    • Hey smarty pants. What city and country to you respect, follow, cheer for?
      Oh, right. The one with no criminals. La la la… Doh!
      You appear to be a disillusioned soul. Don’t worry, that’s just part of growing up. First you create a bunch of delusions (e.g. peaceful and friendly nation means you could have thousands of drunken young men and a few dozen instigators in a confined space and not have to worry about them going on a rampage). Then something happens and your delusions are lifted… and you learn that under the right circumstances bad things can happen anywhere. Or… if you’re not too bright you keep your delusions and you believe that such bad things couldn’t happen somewhere else… until they do.

    • Edmonton had a hockey riot.. and frankly, This is an excuse.. nobody with half a brain would blame a team for its fanbase doing somethng stupid.

    • your freeking ignorant

  2. There’s some inconsistencies here – Vancouver’s easy to hate because the West is the new economic engine of Canada, but we’re all happy to accept Calgary and Edmonton.  Something doesn’t add up there…

    • And even Calgary and Edmonton, which are arguably a bigger economic engine than Vancouver, won’t cheer for them.

  3. Hockey stopped being about what actually happens on the ice ages ago. Now it’s about tribalsim. A player you would despise on another team is a hero on your own. Concussing an opponent with an elbow is a matter of hitting a guy who’s admiring his pass when your team does it, but a war crime when the same thing happens to a member of your team.
    The Sedin’s problem is that they want ot play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Not the way it’s played in North America.

    • are you serious, so he gets an albeit a bit of an over reaction to his dirt bag play.  I’ll tell you this much for as much as your team is whining now you sure were a bunch of apologists for torres’ play on seabrook last season.

      • I can’t really tell what your first sentence says but your second point… was exactly Bpraughts point. Doh!

  4. This is seriously being published on April 16?


  5. LOL I love the sub-headline…  
    ” They’re our best hope, by far, for the Stanley Cup”  HAH! Ottawa has a better chance then the Canucks now!

  6. Miika & Jarome better not end up here. Ever. go flames go.

  7. Everyone acts as if “everyone” in Vancouver rioted. Did people forget the folks who showed up the next day to “clean up the city”. It was a disgusting event, and whats worse than that is our mostly federal criminal justice system does nothing to deter this behavior. OK, don’t send them to jail, but make them pay back every penny they owe for what they destroyed even if it means 30% of their wages for the next 10 years as hitting people in the pocket book seems like the only way people learn these days. Ohhh, and if Vancouver’s out, I’m cheering for the Senators. I want Canada to win a cup!

  8. This article is hilarious.  The rest of the hockey world doesn’t hate the Canucks because they’re good, we hate them because they have never won anything, but they, and their fans, act like they’re already a dynasty.  Also, Canadian hockey fans do not want a team in another Canadian city to win the Cup.  We cheer for Canadian players, not cities.  Lastly, nice timing on the article.  Perhaps you may have heard – the Canucks are just about finished with one of the most epic playoff implosions in the history of the NHL. 

  9. This article is a little L.A.te. no?

  10. “Your not a true canadian.”

     You’re.  As in you are not a true Canadian.



    “Vancouver fans took it to the streets last
    year and made themselves look like a bunch of big babies. Your city, and nation
    is embarassed of you.”

    I’m confused.  You’re scolding Vancouver for rioting, but
    then saying Vancouver is embarrassed of Vancouver?  Oh, and embarrassed has two R’s.



    “Concussing an opponent with an elbow is a
    matter of hitting a guy who’s admiring his pass when your team does it, but a
    war crime when the same thing happens to a member of your team.”

    I understand the point you are trying to
    get across, but this sentence doesn’t make any sense if you read it
    literally.  How does a guy admire his own
    pass when his team does it?




    “Everyone acts as if “everyone”
    in Vancouver rioted. Did people forget the folks who showed up the next day to
    “clean up the city”.”

    Are you trying to be sarcastic when you put
    quotation marks around the word everyone? 
    Or are you quoting the word everyone from the article.  If the first, why would the word everyone
    need to be emphasised with sarcasm.  If it
    is the latter, who cites a single word? 
    And the period goes inside the quotation mark, not outside it.

    • Watch it the grammar police are out in full force.

    • guest —

      When you quote a passage from someone else’s post, you should reduce the double apostrophes to a single apostrophe for any quotation marks contained in the original post.

      Your attentiveness to another poster’s grammar — rather than to the substance of what the poster is saying — bespeaks a whiny, niggling, anally-retentive personality.

      This is true regardless of whether I agree with the point you’re trying to make. This site is meant for hockey fans (or fussbudgets), not for English majors.

      • Wrong-o chump.  Anyone who can’t, (or worse won’t,) express themselves properly isn’t worth listening to.  Do you expect anyone to give credence to an opinion or idea postulated by someone who can’t tell the difference between “your” possessive and “you’re”contractive?  They are illustrating by their writing that they are too STOOPID to have a credible thought.

  11. Thank you , Thank  you and yea, did i say thank  you . GO Canucks . This was a well written article to why Canadians and so does Americans hate the canucks.

  12. There’s no mention in this article about how Alexandre Burrows bit a player’s finger in a fight and the next game Maxim Lapierre taunted the dude about it.
    There’s no mention of how during the Stanley Cup finals making fun of the opposing goaltender for an “easy” save.
    There’s one mention of the riot (and no mention of the last time they went to the Cup finals and did the same thing).
    Instead there is an accusation that fans who don’t like Henrik and Daniel Sedin are anti-European, which is an implicit suggestion of widespread xenophobia, ignoring the hatred Canadian fans have on similarly bedrock players like Patrick Kane.
    And the very last thing this very author wrote is about how in Canada, the most hated team is not Vancouver but Toronto.
    This is the most perplexing thing I’ve ever seen out of this magazine.

  13. What an apologist article. “People hate us, because they can’t handle our awesomeness!!” The Red Wings have won cups, and even if you hated them, the respect was always there. Same with the Avalanche in the late ’90s. For me my issue is with their (Canuck’s) fans. Every team has fans that are jerks, but you hope the number is low (like 1 jerk to every 25 true fans) but in the Canuck’s case it’s like every other fan is a complete loser. You have one fan he/she might be awesome, you have two one of them is an @##hole. It can’t be debated it’s just math.

    • Actually, it can be debated.  GM Place had over 18,000 fans inside it on the night of the Stanley Cup final.  There were thousands at the party zone downtown and thousands more in bars and homes away from downtown.  And how many were responsible for the destruction of the riot?  Not more than 100 actual perpetrators, I’d say.  Definitely not one in two.  But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good hate fest, right? 

    • @Robbie0805…  The article actually reads: “People hate us because they are jealous!”  Good team, good stats, and in one of the World’s highest rated cities.  Yep, losers gonna hate.

      •  Still terrible fans, and apparently pretty ignorant too, if they don’t understand the concept of paraphrasing.

  14. I love the article’s subtitle, especially after Sunday’s results.

    Not anymore, they’re not.  Get ready to clean out your lockers.

    Even Ottawa managed a win in NY after growing a pair and showing some toughness.

    I would like to see a Darryl Sutter coached group of underdogs go deep.

  15. Classless fans, classless city.

    They don’t deserve a champion.

    • I hope you like living in some dump like Toronto.  Vancouver isn’t called Lotus Land for nothing.  But take my word for it . . . you shouldn’t bother coming here.

  16. Chicago is a finess team. Vancouver is a soccer team.It’s a team of divers with a history, a long, long history of acting childish. Show up to games, shut up and let the the best squad win. Thats why Nashville gets more respect then Vancouver from the league. Yes Nashville. 

  17. THATS not true,every Canadian team is Canads team,We will embrace any team that will bring the cup back to where it belongs (Canada)!  

  18. Vancouver is ass have fun cleaning up ur stupid city when they get swept by the Kings

  19. The timing of this article is a little suspect, but the content, is to a certain degree accurate. Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton are 4 of the weakest teams in the league, and arrogant, so yeah, the media that covers those losing franchises hates Vancouver primarily because they win. After trading Cody Hodgson for non hockey related issues I would say that Mike Gillis is an imbecile. The Hodgson trade was made to satisfy an embarrassingly arrogant coach who simply didn’t like the kid. Buffalo’s gain is Vancouvers loss, not the first ( Cam Neely) and as long as Vignealt is the coach and Gillis does whatever Vignealt says, it won’t be the last. Vignealt doesn’t like tough players or players that challenge his “authority”, he is, to put it bluntly… a jackass! The NHL itself is nothing more then a glorified American college hockey knock off, where Canadian traditions are strictly verboton. So go on and hate the Canucks Canada, no one in Vancouver really cares what you think, and the hate is mainly media generated anyhow. Enjoy the crap that is passed off as NHL hockey these days, a league with the most incompetent referees and inconsistent rules in professional sports. The NHL is a pathetic joke, a league where the flying elbow and hitting from behind is the norm and considered, “toughness”. The players that play the game today are in large part pussies and cowards, less skilled, and equipped with some of the most dangerous equipment ( shoulder pads, elbow pads) it’s a wonder that no one has been killed. Most Canadian teams are crap and the Canucks are decent but lack any toughness and they all play in one of the worst run leagues in the world.    

  20. completely agree, I feel weird saying it but I rank the sharks above them  in terms of respect… and that is REALLY saying something

  21. I know who loves the Canucks… a guy named Ivan Hrvatska. He wrote a song about how much he loves them actually. His song makes up for everyone else. Here’s the youtube link for you guys…   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bS71YQ64jg  Might change your minds about Vancouver… and this guy really means it when he says “LOVE”.

  22. “Disgust for Vancouver crystallized in a single moment last June, when Daniel Sedin allowed Brad Marchand—generously listed at five foot nine—to smack him in the face again and again like an inflatable clown. Marchand landed no less than six punches. Sedin just stood there as the Boston rookie speed-bagged his face.”

    NO . . . the disgust is reserved for the ref who failed to call the Marchand penalty the first time he hit Sedin, then the second, the third, fourth and fifth time.  And the ref watched it!  Only on the sixth hit did the ref do his job and call the penalty.  This isn’t UFC . . this is hockey.  Call the penalties!  It takes a real man to stand there getting punched in the face to clearly show the world that the Canucks aren’t whiners and divers – the refs aren’t calling the penalties.  And the refs didn’t decide this on their own.

    The real disgust is reserved for Bettman – he’s ruined the league with his instructions to the refs to ignore infractions against the Canucks yet call every questionable penalty against the Canucks.  This league could have moved beyond goonery and into a true hockey game, like the IIHF, except for Bettman.

    Don’t believe that Bettman is behind it?  Go watch theSedin/Marchand incident of last year.  Go watch the Bitz hit on Kyle Clifford for which he received a 2 game suspension, then watch the cheap, late, headshot of Brown on Sedin, long after the puck had left the area . . . maybe more than .44 seconds for which Torres was suspended for hitting the moron Horton who stood there admiring his pass?  Ask yourself why Torres gets suspended, Bitz gets suspended, but Brown doesn’t.  And how about Rome getting steamrollered backward into the boards while the Bruin goon had him in a can-opener with his stick between his legs?  Is breaking two vertebrae on a play like that a penalty?  Not if it’s against the Canucks.  You people need to get your heads out of your asses. 

    As to riots, my memory-deprived fellow commenters, what about Montreal in 1955, 1986, 1993, and in 2010 when the Habs fans rioted?  You forgot?  Or the Edmonton fans in the Whyte Street riot of 2008?

    I guess there’s never been a riot in Toronto because nobody gives a shit about the Leafs. 

  23. No They’re not, because Europeans don’t win cups.  The team built around the Sedins is never going to win the cup.  Canada’s best hope for a cup is the Edmonton oilers.   A good mix of young and old solid Canadian boys.  They’re drafting pure quality for several years.  Those young guys need to get a bit older, a bit stronger and they will bring home a cup.  They just need a goalie.

  24. People do not hate the Canucks because of their skill or talent. They can’t stand them because of the arrogance of players like Burrows, Lapierre and Bieksa. It’s not about hating Vancouver but the simple reality that this team is not likeable. Sorry but that’s the way it is. Back in ’94 most Canadians rooted for the Canucks in the Cup Finals because of the character found on that team. Guys like Trevor Linden, Kirk MacLean, Cliff Ronning and Pavel Bure were easy to cheer for against the money soaked Rangers. This current Canucks team has an attitude of arrogance that has not been earned.

    I agree that the riots have been overblown and that the actions of a few idiots do not represent the city as a whole. But I can’t help but wonder if the same people calling for perspective would be as understanding if fans in Boston had done the same thing. I seriously doubt it.

    And can we please stop measuring our patriotism on whether we root for a Canadian based team? Being a Bruins, Flyers or Penguins fan does not make you any less of a Canadian patriot. I root for Team Canada in the Olympics, the World Juniors and any other team that wears the maple leaf for CANADA. I don’t feel an obligation to cheer for a team that represents a city that just happens to be north of the 49th parallel.  

    • Arrogance?  Perhaps this is an attribute that you ascribe to the Canucks, but there is no basis in reality to substantiate your perception.  You’ve been reading too many Toronto newspapers.

  25. Funny thing is that all of these “American” teams that are winning and keeping the cup on “American “soil are mostly Canadian and European and since the cup gets to visit the hometown of all the players doesn’t that mean that the cup is mostly off of American soil?

  26. I’m a Canuck fan and seriously, nobody cares. Hate us all you want, it’s part of being a fan. Personally, I love the passion and I much prefer being hated than pitied.

  27. As of this
    moment the playoff eulogy for the Canucks (my team) is being proofread so some
    you may have to find something else to hate this spring. How about Raffi
    Torres? He will likely receive the latest (and hopefully longest) suspension of
    the playoffs. That will make 8 suspensions and there are still, as of April 18,
    9:30 Pacific, 16 teams left. AND (bonus hate-points) Torres is an ex-Canuck!

    Try to
    follow along please: Some say the Canucks don’t play hockey the ‘right’ way:
    not tough enough, or honorable enough or whatever. It would appear that the
    ‘right’ way is what won the cup for the Bruins: play well, have a good goalie
    and when the whistle blows, show ’em who’s boss by pushing, punching, ant
    otherwise intimidating the other team. The ‘Sedin Speedbag Incident’, because
    it wasn’t penalized, lowered the bar so that the knuckle-draggers, at least in
    part, dictated the outcome.

    Even the
    Canucks came out in game one like the Charleston Chiefs with Byron (Bonehead)
    Bitz trying to separate a head from a body. Meanwhile, Shea Webber got fined
    pocket-change for going WWE on Zetterberg and Torres (a repeat offender) sent
    Hossa off on a stretcher.

    I think a
    hard body check on player with the puck is good hockey, but the obvious intent
    to injure by shown by Bitz, Torres et al? The shenanigans in the Flyers/Pens
    series? Is this really what we want?

    So I will
    admit I would rather not see LaPierre or Burrows run their mouths and I wish
    Mason Raymond played less like a figure skater And a Stanley Cup (with a
    parade, not a riot) would be nice, of course. But speed and skill are fun to
    watch and I hope to see more of it from Vancouver or whichever teams make it to
    the big finale. But the way things are going we could be talking about
    body-count rather than which club has the best skaters.

    • sorry about the goofy formatting folks.

  28. I love my hometown Vancouver, I love hockey and my Vancouver Canucks – but I do not love what is going on in the NHL.  The citizens of Vancouver and British Columbia are proud of what we do and what we have accomplished.  Only a few spoil it for the rest of us.  

    Remember hockey is only a game – and some fans take it more seriously than the players.  It’s a long hard season for NHL players.  Cheer on your home team or any other team wherever you live.  

    This is where I live and this is  MY HOME.  

    Have seen U.S. television coverage of hockey last week in California, and it frustrates me that most commentators don’t know squat about hockey.  Mike Milbury is the worst – couldn’t make it as a coach or general manager in the NHL, but still gets a job with NBC.  

    Til September 2012 when it all starts again, and Congratulations to whomever wins the STANLEY CUP!!  

  29. Maybe because every team seems to count Van as a ‘rival’, because they keep winning.. maybe because the media is running out of original stories, and likes to talk about this over-and-over-and-ovvvvveeer

  30. I’m pretty sure most Canucks fans were extremely disappointed in the group of morons that started the rioting. Let’s not paint all the fans with the same brush. Mob mentality can get the best of people, and when you have assholes starting a ridiculous event it can happen to those who you’d expect better from.

  31. Do me a favour, press Control + F and look for the word “heart”, you’ll find it in some of the comments but not in the original article. The Canucks don’t have a heart of the team, like Edmonton did with Smyth or Calgary with Iginla. That’s why Canada doesn’t rally around the Canucks, there’s no jealousy from the other clubs, just no heart and soul to root for.

    Oh, and Go Kings..

  32. Here we go again… http://www.harrisdecima.com/news/releases/201204/1354-canadian-fans-want-canadian-stanley-cup-champion-divided-over-cheering-can

    Once again, an Eastern reporter missing the boat. New Harris Decima poll shows that 50%+ of Canadian hockey fans want the Canucks to win; and, of the rest, less than 1 in 5 want someone other than the Canucks or Senators to win. The only exception to this is in Ontario, where 42% are cheering for the Sens, 29% for the ‘Nucks, and the remaining 29% is split with all 14 other teams & the “I don’t care” votes.

    The fact, jack, is that for most of the nation, the Canucks *are* Canada’s team right now. The Sens may end up as Canada’s team by Monday; personally I think that the series will go 7 games, but you never know.

    But until that point, the people have spoken; and what they are saying is GO CANUCKS GO.

  33. No one in Vancouver cares what Canadians think. Canadians hate British Columbia, British Columbians think Canada is irrelative – insignificant – unimportant – immaterial.

  34. These reactions to this article only serve to underscore the point of the writer. We are Canadians, but we seem bent on dividing our loyalty to our flag over sport. An intelligent discussion about hockey is impossible to find. It’s a one-way stream of information. A “This is what I think so it’s right” mentality with no statistical support, or evidence from actual games. Even this article is laced with a bias lacking in authority from ocular or written support, but that’s what good writing does: presents a bias and makes it plausible. Maybe the nation hates the Canucks, and maybe they don’t. Ultimately are they any worse than any other team in the league? It’s doubtful.

    So perhaps this writer is on to something about there being a hostile reaction to anything Vancouver. A jealousy over the beauty, the weather, the economy, what have you. A resistance to believe that there could be any other city voted as more livable or more beautiful than their own. And those who want to knock Vancouverites for “being rioters” are as short sighted as anyone who wishes to deride Torontonians for being mad gun-wielders who spray bullets around in a shopping mall, or hooligans at Blue Jays games who cause fights in the stands and YouTube the results.

    It’s all relative. Madness is part of living in urban centres. Riots happen. But harmony happens too. And this is what I’m arguing herein, is to have a healthy dialogue about teams and their performance and not this invective laden hostility about character. None of you are NHL players, and none of you know the players on this team. Even the NHL players who flippantly comment about any other team or player is usually taken out of context and fed into the media propaganda to fuel rivalries, which in turn, fuel the economy of the NHL. Don’t buy into it. Be intelligent about this sport, this game, because that is truly what it is… just a bunch of men chasing a frozen rubber puck around. Debate the issues, but don’t lose your humanity in the process because that, in the end, will be what makes you no better than “a rioter” or a mad gunman in a shopping mall.

    We are Canadian. Remember what it is to be so lucky.

  35. You know what? Vancouver tried to be a tough team. One hit by Bertuzzi and the entire league reigned hell on them. So instead they focused on technical skills.

    Jeez, the poor Canucks can never get a break from you lot.

  36. What a disgraceful attempt at ‘journalism’. I’m a proud Canucks fan for life. Re-read this article CAREFULLY and you’ll understand the underlying emotion driving every single one of these pathetic sources & quotes… JEALOUSY. Winning hockey games is winning whether it’s by brute force or high-speed skill and finesse or a combination of both. VAN went all the way to Game 7 of the finals, something 28 others teams only DREAMED they could have done. VAN WILL be back to the finals, only next time VAN WILL win the Cup, and you WILL be proud.

  37. After finishing this ‘article’ I feel like I need a shower. DISGUSTING. A few more observations:

    1) The Gillis thing is interesting in that it only adds major fuel to the fires of controversy that the NHL has a grudge against VAN that goes very deep.

    2) “Honest, straight-up types like the Bruins” – I laughed out loud when I read that. Who is this ‘Nancy MacDonald’ that wrote this article? She continues to show her mental prowess by blaming Daniel Sedin for allowing Marchand to punch him repeatedly. Even though VAN was losing 5-2 in Game 6 with only 1:30 left to play in the 3rd. In a normal NHL game, the refs would have penalized BOS and put VAN on a power play. Instead, Daniel received a misconduct for receiving punches! So I guess in a twisted way you’re right that he should have punched Marchand’s rat-face but he purposely didn’t LOWER his standard of play to Marchand – whom she fails to reveal is hated universally around the league for his dirty antics. I actually respect Daniel for that and alongside his brother they still remain top-10 in the NHL even today.

    3) ZERO mention of Johnny Boychuk intentionally BREAKING Mason Raymond’s back 20sec into Game 6 at TDGardens. Followed by the rabid Bruins fans chanting “FLOPPER! FLOPPER!” as Raymond lay helpless on the ice unable to move. Is that HONEST hockey? The play was not penalized and the league brushed it off as an awkward hockey play while Aaron Rome was vilified just a week prior for the longest NHL suspension ever issued in the Finals for his late hit on Nathan Horton. Boychuk’s hit was a textbook interference play (the puck was on the other side of the rink) with an intentional can-opener movement with a finishing crush into the boards right in front of a referee and the NHL did NOTHING! Yet 7 days earlier said there would be ‘zero-tolerance’ on attempts to injure.

    4) Colin Campbell was the lead NHL disciplinarian but ‘voluntarily’ stepped aside on June 1, 2011 to give the reigns to Brendan Shanahan for the finals so there wouldn’t be any perceived conflict of interest since his son Gregory Campbell was active on the Bruins roster. He would however remain as director of hockey operations. If you want to see how crazy Colin is about his son winning at ANY cost, just google his name and the email controversy that came to public light regarding a wrongful dismissal case of an NHL ref who called penalties against his son.

    5) At the end of the ‘article’ she attempts to make a weak play to deflect all the personal hatred she just wrote by saying “See, other teams are branded villains too.” Yes, honey, whoever is at the top of the league is trash talked by those underneath because they are JEALOUS. Maybe one day you’ll actually understand the game from the perspective of all teams and not just the Cup-winning one the media told you to love.

  38. The only thing absurd and insulting is the Canucks whenever they take the ice. And with the overrated Sedin sisters fading fast, the Canucks collapse is complete. Hope you enjoyed the overrated teams and zero Stanley Cups over the past several years. It’s only going to get worse.

  39. if you ask me, any fan that thinks all vancouver fans are arrogant and violent criminals who riot extremely arrogant/ignorant themselves, im sick and tired of seeing people call out vanouver fans saying they “riot and loot” i know about a 100 people who rioted and not a single one watches the canucks ever, they just thought theyd go and riot because they could, and every single person who i know that wathces canucks games (including myself) did NOT riot im sick of all the arrogant people in the world that cant see this

  40. not to mention its not like we are the only city to riot over sports, but with all the shit people talk about us because of it you’d most definitely think we are