Thursday, April 24th, 2014

A Canuck Nation Growing

12

As we draw near the end of the eastern road swing for the Vancouver Canucks, there is one constant occurance that has come to my attention. The fan support in the east has strengthened for our beloved team, and surprisingly really showing up strong in the arenas away from home. In fact, many comments throughout the league about the growing support for the Canucks in eastern cities. So what triggers the surge of support?

Montreal had to be the one town that wouldn’t sway their loyalties. The Bell Centre is a different beast from the other two arenas visited. Although I have noticed the pockets of Canucks fans seem bigger than those of previous visits. I have to say it is one arena where you know the undying love for the Habs will never be overshadowed of that of the visiting team. It was enough to propel les Canadiens to a shutout victory (2-0) over our Canucks.

In Ottawa, the pockets for Canucks supporters were evidently quite bigger than it has been in the past. I’d dare say the Canucks had about a third of the arena on their side. That’s a significant number of supporters in the nation’s capital. It was great to see a few westerners also make an eastern road swing trip to support the boys on Remembrance Day on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Senators. There was even a small bar meet-up (so I was told) after the game of Canucks fans. Unfortunately for me, being sick with the flu, I had to decline.



Toronto is Canuck Land? Photo taken by Justine Galo


Now the most surprising surge of support for the Canucks was in the “Centre of the Universe, also known as, Toronto. I used to live in Toronto, both downtown and on the east side, and I’ve run into very few ‘vocal’ Canucks fans in the 416 (or 905 for you suburban people). Usually, the only time I see those fans are when the Canucks visit the Air Canada Centre and even then, they are more reserved. This year, the support for the Canucks in Leaf territory, was, for me, surprisingly stronger than I could have imagined. The support for the Canucks was crazily visible in the stands. Not just pockets of supporters but rows of Canucks fans. More than it has been in the last four years since they started doing the home and home once a year again. Canucks fans were yelling, “Lu!!!!” at the ACC. It was so evident that it couldn’t even be masked on Hockey Night In Canada’s broadcast of the game. I remember just last January, when the Canucks visited the ACC, and the out-right support for the team wasn’t as vocal and in abundance. That was only 11 months ago! I’d dare say the Canucks had about 2000 fans on Saturday night, and that is a huge feat in Leaf Nation. I think only the Montreal Canadiens and the Canadian Sabres fans would be greater in numbers.

So the Canuck fan base is growing, but why? Could it be Luongo winning a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics, or the playmaking of the Sedins? Or could it be that they are a very good team, it makes the easterners realize they probably have the best chance of the Canadian teams to contend for the Stanley Cup. I’m not quite sure, and to be honest, I don’t really care, but it’s been nice to see Canuck Nation growing, especially in places it was once shunned.

On to Buffalo…


Justine Galo

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Comments

12 Responses to “A Canuck Nation Growing”
  1. I live in Barrie, just north of Toronto… I think the fan base looks like it’s growing because some of us native Vancouverites are moving to other Canadian cities (where housing is more affordable – ha!).

    Anyways, I’ll be sitting one row behind the bench wearing a Canucks jersey (probably a ’94 McLean jersey) at the Buffalo game – keep your eyes out for me and my wife! ;)

  2. Terry says:

    lol I think Tim is right, a lot of Westerners have moved east and that’s why the Canucks have a stronger support group. I also believe they are probably one of the most fun teams to watch play. Good line up from top to bottom and even with an injured defensive core, they are pretty solid.

    Hope you had fun at the ACC cheering against us Leaf fans.

  3. Dave says:

    I have to wonder if it might be partially attributed to a stronger media presence. I’m currently deep in Caps territory, but when I see the NHL center ice commercials, the three players they mention are Ovechkin, Crosby, and Luongo.

    Having a Canuck mentioned on all those commercials can’t help but raise the Nucks’ profile.

  4. J21 says:

    You didn’t seriously take those for converted easterners, did you? Pretty much every one of the Canuck fans you see at eastern games is from BC. Much like the huge swaths of Hab and Leaf fans at Canuck games are relocated easterners (or some whose fanship simply predates the Canucks’ entry into the league).

    Migration in Canada is still more common toward Vancouver than away from it, but the scales may have tipped back slightly in recent years, depending on economic cycles. But also in the past, when the Canucks were perennially bad, they didn’t evoke such strong feelings in those who had left the province. However with the rise in the team’s popularity locally (this was never an issue in Toronto or Montreal, for example, where pretty much every kid grows up cheering for the local team — they didn’t used to in Vancouver) and larger waves of people leaving BC for other major cities, it’s not surprising that there are more of them going to hockey games out here in the east. But it’s certainly not people who grew up out here.

    And the reason it doesn’t touch Montreal? Moneyed people don’t leave BC for Quebec, pretty much ever. The Canuck fans at Hab games are generally McGill and Concordia students, so you have a smaller pool to draw from. By contrast, lots of well-off BCers end up in Toronto (business) or Ottawa (government). I have been at the last four Canuck games in Ottawa, and all four times the Canucks’ support was huge — it wasn’t only this year.

  5. Clayton Imoo says:

    Hi Justine:

    I just came across this blog now….great job. I agree with a lot of what you said…it’s nice to see the Canucks gaining popularity throughout the league.

    Not knowing of your article, I actually did a video blog on this subject back in November. Check it out if you have time: http://claytonimoo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=372&Itemid=45

    Take care and keep up the great work!

  6. Melissa says:

    Part of the reason could be that people who are in their late 20s to their late 30s grew up with the Canucks as the local team, not with the Leafs as the main team to follow. The run in 1994 helped to solidify the group in this age bracket as they probably only really started to follow the team at around that time. As they have grown up and moved onto jobs around the world, they have taken their love for the Canucks wherever the have landed. A classmate of mine, who is living in Colorado, watches Canucks games when she can and cheers for them on a regular basis. I know that my sister, who is a Canucks fan and has gone to Edmonton for school, had to find ways to watch the Canucks games.

  7. Ziyad Khan says:

    I saw the game on December 10 of this year in Ottawa and the Canucks had even more fans in attendance at Scotiabank Place. About 40% of the crowd in Ottawa were cheering for the Canucks. Now granted the game this year was on a Saturday night and the game last year that Vancouver played at Scotiabank Place was on a Thursday but the amount of support the Canucks got was incredible. The “Luu” and “Go Canucks Go” chants were loud and clear and they drowned out the Sens fans all night. I could clearly hear Canucks chants. It sounded like a Canucks home game. I went to the game on December 17 in Toronto and there were plenty of Canucks fans there as well. More than last year even. The “Luu” chants were loud and clear and you could tell there were a lot of Canucks fans at the Air Canada Centre. A lot of westerners have moved out east, that is why you see so many Canucks fans at games here in Eastern Canada. However, one thing is certainly true, Canuck Nation is definitely growing and will continue to grow in the coming years and decades to come!

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