The Canucks just completed a southern California sweep against the Kings and Ducks, winning both games in impressive fashion. They played two desperate teams, played them tough and fought through tight checking and a lot of physical play to get a pair of wins. What’s more impressive though, is the fan support from Canuck nation in both games!
Canuck nation now travels, impressive when you consider the geography. Vancouver’s closest rival is Calgary, an 11 hour drive. Only Colorado Avalanche fans have to travel further to get to another team’s rink. New York Rangers fans can drive to 11 NHL cities that are a shorter drive than Vancouver-Calgary.
Even when the West Coast Express was in full flight, you did not see anything close to the kind of support the Canucks get on the road. Sure, you’d see fans in Calgary and Edmonton, but that’s been ramped up in recent years. Now Canucks fans show up in great numbers in every Canadian city, as well as border cities such as Buffalo (I remember a bunch of fans painted “Bieksallent” on their chests at a game against the Sabres in 2006-07).
This weekend’s pair of games were different though. They filled the rink with Canucks fans (extra impressive when you consider the Kings average over 18,000 people per game) and even if they didn’t have 50% of the people in the arena, they provided way more than 50% of the noise. “Go Canucks Go” chants were plentiful of course, but “El-lis! El-lis!” and “Nana na-na hey hey hey goodbye!”, now that’s impressive. They even put a Canucks jersey on the Wayne Gretzky statue outside of the Staples Center. No doubt, Canucks fans are the most hated fan group in Los Angeles and Anaheim now.
So did this group of fans help the team? I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Henrik Sedin agrees:
In LA, when we came out for the warmup and see 10 rows of Canuck sweaters, it helps us for sure. They start the ‘Go, Canucks, go!’ chant and for sure you notice it.
There’s just something about having your fans travel with you, all of them loud, to fire up a team. So now it’s on to Phoenix on Tuesday and then back up to San Jose on Thursday for Canuck nation. You know they’ll be there, loud and proud in their Flying V jerseys (or orca, stick in rink, skate… man we’ve had a lot of jerseys), making no apologies and pissing people off. Now that’s bad ass.