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So You Want to Be a Canucks Fan? What You Need to Know

May 10, 2011 at 10:06 AM Chime in now

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler | Getty Images

By MARIKA WASHCHYSHYN

Feeling left out of the hockey playoff excitement?  It's not too late to join in! With Monday night's spectacular win by the Vancouver Canucks, it's the perfect time to hop on the bandwagon!  But before you pull on that hockey jersey and head to the sports bar, here are some key pointers to get you caught up (and excited!).

The Cup

Even if you don’t watch hockey, you’ve heard of the Stanley Cup. It’s the coveted grand prize- the holy grail of professional hockey - awarded to the champion team of the Stanley Cup Finals (since 1926!)
 
Of the 5 NHL teams still standing, the Vancouver Canucks are the only Canadian team. Want to support the only team who can bring the coveted cup back to Canada, the birthplace of hockey? It’s practically your patriotic duty!

The Glory
 
The Canucks defeated the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference semi-finals Monday night. The teams play a series, or best of 7 games. Winning the series 4 games to 2, the Canucks advance to the Western Conference finals – 2 series away from winning the grand prize, the Stanley Cup.
 
The Closing Problem

The Canucks have been criticized for having trouble “closing out” opposing teams. They get ahead, it looks like they’re going to win, and then they choke. Last time this happened was in 2010, against Chicago Blackhawks - even though the Canucks had multiple opportunities to shut them down, they were still forced to a nerve-racking overtime win in the final game of the series.  We all have our blocks, right? Kind of makes you love them more.

The Celebrity Goalie

Many fans can agree that the celebrity of the team is goalie Roberto Luongo, former goalie for Gold Medalists Team Canada during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Luongo was the heart of the fanbase for the Olympics. Not one save by the legendary Luongo would go unanswered by the crowd erupting cheers of “Luuuuuuu!” in support. He holds 5 records for goaltending in the NHL, including most regular season overtime wins (49), and most saves in a single season (2,303 in the 2003-2004 season). His patient and focused style and improved stick-handling skills are what makes Luongo a great goalie.
 
Martine Gaillard Weighs In

Sportsnet’s Martine Gaillard says that new fans should pay attentions to two words if they’re looking to hop on the wagon.

Ryan Kesler,” Gaillard says. “Not only has he been the best player for the Canucks during the playoffs, his ads for Under Armour will have any woman jumping on the bandwagon.” He has spent his entire 7-year career in the NHL with the Canucks, making him a truly dedicated player. Although he hasn’t won a Stanley Cup yet, he was awarded this year’s Vancouver Canucks Most Excited Player Award.  Keep an eye out for him and other celebrity players like the dynamic duo of twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Hockey players who are twins – in this case, two is definitely better than one, right ladies?

“Vancouver remains one of the only Canadian teams to have never won the Cup,” Gaillard says. “What better time to follow the team than the year they potentially could hoist Lord Stanley for the very first time!”

Gaillard encourages new fans to tune into Sportsnet’s Hockeycentral Panel to hear a recap of the action. After last night’s win, the Canucks advance to the Western Conference finals to play either the San Jose Sharks or the Detroit Red Wings.

“From Olympic star Luongo and actual twins playing on the same team, to the antics of the Canucks “Green Men” super fans and of course all the fast-paced action,” Gaillard says, “you’ll be hooked in no time.”

 


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