This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
The team I love playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. It still doesn’t feel real.
I remember the days when my parents wouldn’t let me watch the third period of Canucks games because I had school the next morning. Instead, I would listen to Hughson and Larscheid on the radio as I fell asleep — and then watch highlights the next morning.
I remember Harold Druken’s OT winner in 2000-01 that essentially sent the Canucks to the playoffs for the first time since 1996. I remember Matt Cooke’s last-second heroics against Minnesota and then Calgary a few years later. I remember Morrison’s game-winning-goal in the third OT against Calgary and Henrik’s in the fourth against the Stars. How about Game 7 when Linden tipped one home past Turco?
I don’t remember the 94 run — I was only four — but I know I was watching. I still get the shivers every time I watch Bure’s breakaway goal against Calgary, Adams score in OT against TO, and listen to Jim Robson’s call at the end of Game 6 against the Rangers. Oh, and how could I forget “The Save?” I’m probably missing some moments (I know I am), but you get the point.
This year, I tried to contain my excitement. Why? Because heartache ensued after each of the moments I just mentioned. I think I’ve cried on more than one occasion because of this team. If you’ve known me for a while, I’ve probably freaked on you for telling me the score of a game I hadn’t watched yet, or for talking smack about my team. For those who fall into the latter category, I’d like to say I apologize . . . but I don’t. Instead, I’ll ask: are you still talking smack now? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
When the Canucks were rolling through the league in the regular season, I tried to stay calm and not get my hopes up. This was also the case in the first two rounds of the playoffs. I had seen playoff disappointment too many times before. When Chicago tied it up in the last minute of Game 7, I honestly thought this team was cursed (as my Facebook status at the time suggested). If that was me losing faith, then so be it — I don’t think it was.
My passion for the Canucks also had a big part in shaping the person I’ve become and the career I’m pursuing. No, really.
Most of you know that I’ve come to love journalism, and over the past few years, I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience in the field. I was initially attracted to journalism because I wanted to one day cover the Canucks. I can now say that I’ve done that (not really, but kinda). I’ve interviewed a number of players on the team, including Ryan Kesler, Cody Hodgson, Christian Ehrhoff, Chris Tanev, and Jeff Tambellini, and managed to secure a press pass to one of their games in Ottawa a few years back. Although the Canucks drew me in, journalism has become much more to me. I have the Canucks to thank for that.
I used to plan my days around the Canucks, and to a certain extent, I still do (though it’s much harder now that I have some responsibilities). Thankfully, my current responsibilities won’t hold me back from coming home for the finals (unless the series goes beyond five games, in which case I’ll have to watch the final games in Ottawa).
This probably doesn’t express how I truly feel about this team. But I tried.
See you tomorrow, Vancouver.