The Vancouver Canucks are in the final of the Stanley Cup. Such a simple sentence, and yet it means so much. To non-Canadians, it probably means “Whaaa? And?” To 80% of British Columbians (according to polls I really cannot be bothered to look up and reference), it means “Like, the most awesome, I mean, like, unbelieveable, like totally totally unreal. I mean, it’s just the best thing ever, eh?”
So, for pending immigrants and the newly arrived, here’s a few things you ought to know.
- Hockey (ice hockey, that is), is the most important thing in the whole world.
- The Stanley Cup is the most important (and incidentally the ugliest) trophy ever played for.
- The Vancouver Canucks were last in the final in 1994. They came second. There was rioting. It was Canadian rioting, so pretty tame compared to what the Brits can do when they get riled up, but windows were broken.
When we say “in the finals”, don’t make the mistake we did when we arrived in March 2009 and watched a Stanley Cup game. We watched the Canucks play the LA Kings (yes, apparently they have ice in California). They came second. A few days later we turned on the TV for Hockey Night in Canada, and there were the Canucks playing the LA Kings again. Was this a repeat? A rematch? No, the Stanley Cup is played in series of up to 7 games (first to win 4), so the final will be played over a maximum of 7 games. Last night the Canucks won the first game of the series against the Boston Bruins and there was jubilation. Downtown, streets were closed for the party as if the Olympics were back in town. In Surrey, 2000 people gathered in the rain to watched giant screens in the park and in Delta, 3500 people closed a busy intersection of a main road so they could dance in the street. What the heck-in-a-handbasket is going to happen if they actually win the (very ugly) cup? There will be celebration, and it will be Canadian Celebration, not like British celebration (a binge on warm beer, a restrained cheer and a weekend of looting and vomit on the streets). There will be parades, street hockey, great food and a whole lot of loving going on. Can’t wait – Go Canucks Go!!