As the 2011 NHL Playoffs advance, PuckWatch asks, are the Vancouver Canucks 'Canada's Team'?
No. Here's why.
Firstly, the term 'Canada's Team' is a bit silly. If the Yankees and Blue Jays were playing in the American League Championship Series, would the Blue Jays be 'Canada's Team'? Maybe. They are Canada's only Major League Baseball team. But would Americans consider the New York Yankees 'America's Team'? Do you actually think Boston Red Sox fans would cheer for the Yankees in that series? Of course not!
The Canucks don't even have more Canadians on their team than their American counterparts.
There are other arguments as well. Heck, some Maple Leafs fans are wondering if they should cheer for Vancouver because Burke and Nonis built this edition of the Canucks. First of all, no they didn't. Second of all, whatever let's you sleep at night. Leaf fans that believe that should cheer for the Ducks, or maybe the Bruins since Burke has traded everything of value to Boston.
In fact, television ratings aren't suggesting that Vancouver is Canada's team either.
Anyways, aside from that, to assert that the rest of Canada is cheering for the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup isn't just presumptuous, it's probably downright wrong. Why would Oilers or Flames fans cheer for the Canucks? In 2004 when the Calgary Flames made their run, any self-respecting Canucks fan I knew was cheering for Tampa Bay. When the Oilers made their run in 2006, I knew a lot of people cheering for Carolina. And why not? Many Oilers and Flames fans bash the Canucks openly and write spiteful comments on message boards and news articles (Okay, there may only be a few, but they do enough yapping to annoy an entire province). Hell, Flames and Oilers fans are this obnoxious when the Canucks are having a dream season while their franchises are in the basement. You can only imagine what it's like when they have something to boast about.
So, when the Flames and Oilers went deep into the playoffs and the label "Canada's Team" was thrown out there, I scoffed. I don't want to put up with endless bragging. Canucks fans like myself have lived our entire lives being reminded of how the franchise has not won a Stanley Cup. We used to cling to being the last Canadian team to make the Final, but heck, now that is ancient history. You can bet the Flames or Oilers winning another Stanley Cup was the absolute last thing I would cheer for.
When the Ottawa Senators made the Final in 2007 though, I cheered for them. The Sens lack the banners and storied history of the Canadiens, and they lack the obnoxious Canucks hating fans that Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto have... and Anaheim had Chris Pronger.
So with that kind of history, Canucks fans shouldn't expect the rest of the country to cheer for their team. Canucks fans have a similar reputation across the country for being outwardly proud and perhaps a bit obnoxious (what Canadian hockey fan isn't?)
If the Canucks are successful in winning the Stanley Cup this year, let's keep the celebration between us Canucks fans. Who wants those Leaf fans or Flames fans sharing in the glory anyways? What have they done to deserve that? We've been reminded long enough about 40 years of relative futility. If the Canucks do hoist Lord Stanley next month, well, that would be precious.