I’ll begin with a disclaimer, the title of this post is not meant to suggest that the Canucks are somehow Canada’s team (although I personally feel we should be supporting them) or that all Canadians should be firmly behind them, but that their very presence in this year’s final has created a new interest in NHL hockey, and hockey in general. Without a doubt this interest was always there, but there is just something different about this year’s season. For the past number of years, many Canadians just lost interest in the NHL Playoffs. It took an international tournament to bring us together. From a national perspective tonight’s game 7 may not have the same emotional attachment as the Vancouver 2010 gold medal game, and may not be a game that is remembered for generations, at least outside Vancouver, it certainly has the potential to be a game that will be looked-upon by hockey fans as being of an epic nature.
At first I did think that all Canadians should rally behind Vancouver and was bothered by those that were not. Although admittedly I wavered after the collapses in games 3 and 4, and was bothered by some of the antics on the ice, my personal feeling is that we should support a Canadian team. I do not, however, harbor any ill will for those that will be supporting the Boston Bruins tonight. For various reasons such as wanting to cheer for the team with more Canadian players, having a negative feeling towards the Canucks as a team, or not wanting any Canadian team to win unless they are the Leafs or Habs or whatever team you happen to cheer for (a notion I firmly disagree with, there is no good reason why fans of other Canadian teams cannot support the Canucks in the same way Canucks fans should support other Canadian teams should they make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in future years) this series has renewed interest in NHL hockey. No matter who any single hockey fan is behind tonight, there will almost certainly be considerably more people watching this game then any NHL game in at least the last decade. Combine this with the announcement that hockey is returning to Winnipeg, and we really have a dream for Canadian hockey. Of course, the high interest level and anticipation for this series has created more interest among hockey fans in the United States.
My preference of course is for a decisive Vancouver victory. However the game turns out, however, it is bound to be a good one.