Its official, the playoffs are here. This morning at my 7am walk to the gym, I discovered that Canuck Fans have hit the streets early, waving flags and handing out hand towels with the Vancouver Canucks Logo in support of our city’s hockey team. Many a horn honked their support while I stopped to take a picture.
Hockey playoffs are always big news in Canada, but this year especially, I find my loyalties questioned from within. I have always been a Leaf Fan. Its hard not be when raised just outside of Toronto, and working within the city during games or playoffs. But Toronto has not been doing so well. In fact, the Toronto Maple Leaf website has the Marlies playoffs listed, since the leafs didn’t make the playoffs this year. (again.) A couple of weeks ago I went with Family to a Canucks game, which was far more exciting than I could have imagined. I’m absolutely certain the Canucks team members couldn’t hear me from where I was sitting, but that didn’t stop me from cheering them on at the top of my lungs, especially since they were playing the hated ducks. Its only the second time I’ve been to an NHL game, the last being when I saw the Leafs play in Boston in the fall of 2003. But my heart truly leaped in my chest when Mats Sundin stepped onto the ice. Captain of the Maple Leafs for many a season, many Toronto fans feel he was poorly treated in his last year. To me it didn’t matter. In some way, cheering him on gave me the feeling that I was home again, though in Toronto I would never be able to afford the tickets.
I anticipate crazy fans wandering about the streets. Sports, for some reason, definitely brings out the passion in people. Even while calculating plus-minuses when watching my brother play hockey in both house league and rep teams, I still got passionately supportive of his team, screaming at them to pass, and even to body check their opponents; once they were old enough to try. Hopefully the Stanley cup playoffs unify this city, and gives crowd control and celebrations a test run prior to the opening ceremonies.