Disturbing the Peace: Open Letter to the Southsiders

Dear Southsiders:

On Tuesday night, you made your presence known at Rogers Arena. The ‘shrine’ of the Vancouver Canucks. That other Vancouver based team that seems to get a lot of press and attention in this city. That night, you brought your brand of cheer and support that we, the fans at Rogers Arena, are not quite accustomed to seeing and definitely something we are not used to hearing.

Some of my fellow Canucks fans were a little offended with your presence- your open and vocal ways to show some support to our team. In fact, there was enough of a stink, your visit has been written about in a few of the local publications the morning after and also discussed on radio. So what gives? Why did you feel you needed to come and show your brand of support in our building? It’s not soccer. We don’t hold our scarves horizontally and sing vocal parodies to popular songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Who do you guys think you are?

I personally think, you guys brought a breath of fresh (and loud) air to a building that has been far too quiet the last few seasons.  I enjoyed hearing the chants and songs throughout the game. It made me feel I wasn’t part of the handful of fans hooting, hollering and heckling all by our lonesome. I often get asked why it’s so quiet at Rogers Arena and why don’t we vocally support our team like some of the other hockey hot beds around the league. The truth is, there are so a few reasons for the ‘library effect’ at The Rog’. The amount of corporate owned tickets is growing, so the average fan gets shut out of the building. The Canucks have been so good for quite some time now, it’s hard to get up for a regular season game, especially against a team like the Wild on a Tuesday night. All that enthusiasm seems to be saved up for the playoffs. I am sure there are other factors that attribute but I can only speculate.

Did I find you offensive? From where I was sitting, absolutely not. I saw a group of people in the very back of the section stand, sing, cheer and vocalize support for our hockey team. It’s not usual that fans in the arena cheer the whole game and when play is going, but it wasn’t disturbing the guys on the ice. If people were really there to watch hockey, your cheering should not have distracted them, right? To each their own.

I am sorry you felt, as a group, somewhat disrespected by my hockey brethren and some of the representatives of the Vancouver Canucks organization. I think they were just a little taken back by the unfamiliar. The last time Rogers Arena was a loud place during the regular season, was probably during the years of 2003-2007. The Canucks were in a transition period between the West Coast Express era to the present Sedin one. All most of Canucks fans are waiting for now is a Stanley Cup. So until then, it seems most of them will sit on their hands until it is made so.

Southsiders invade Rogers Arena to mixed reviews.

Southsiders invade Rogers Arena to mixed reviews.

 

Hopefully, the Canucks and some of their fans learned that a presence like the Southsiders could help the atmosphere in Rogers Arena. I’ve had a few fellow tweeters and Canucks fans say just that! A group of great supporters to help bust the quiet zone, library-like monotony that plagues Rogers Arena!  Some teams in the NHL have brought in cheerleaders to help liven up some crowds. Other teams have brought in musicians during the TV time outs to keep the crowd going. The Vancouver Whitecaps have you, The Southsiders. The BC Lions have Tailgate Empire and the Lionbackers.  Maybe as Canucks fans, we could use a group that is a little more vocal and cheerful. At the old Pacific Coliseum, I used to watch the game from the standing room only areas. We were the loudest, most loyal and craziest bunch of Canucks fans in the building. Perhaps we should bring some of that back. So maybe the next time the Southsiders decide to visit us Canucks fans at Rogers arena, instead of us chanting your cheers with you, we’d have some to share of our own.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad


 

Post-It: A Breakdown of Breakdowns in San Jose

Ok, nevermind the Sharks are red-hot and Patrick Marleau thinks he’s Wayne Gretzky this season, so far. What happened in San Jose was just plain U-G-L-Y! Where the heck did my Vancouver Canucks go and how are they so sickly different from the crew that shutout Anaheim just a couple of nights ago? Obviously, they didn’t board the plane to San Jose after the Ducks game. In fact, I think they are all still in Disneyland lining up for Space Mountain.

Although I am not a Corey Schneider apologist, Ginger Bricks, did all he could tonight. Good considering his team left him out to dry. Welcome to the starting job, Corey. Ask Roberto about all those nights he’s been lit up all because the guys in front of him couldn’t clear a puck to save their lives. Again, it’s not Corey’s fault. They could have any HOF goalie in net tonight, and the red light would have been shining brightly. The second to line of defense are usually the defensemen, but when Keith “Perpetually in the Doghouse” Ballard and Chris “What’s a goal?” Tanev are your best pairing for the night, you know you’re in trouble.

Where did Alex Edler go? Did he suddenly have a Freaky Friday moment and changed bodies with Adrian Plavsic? The only man on the blue line that has been consistently good so far in this young season decided to join his compatriots in what one might call, “a bad game”. Jason Garrison is making the non-signing of Sami Salo look like a really big mistake. Hammer has been in some weird funk in and out of games, while partner Kevin Bieksa is starting to have what we like to call in Canuck twitterverse as those, “God Dammit Bieksa” moments.  Three  or four of those guys are earning over $4+ million a year, and they can’t clear a puck? Really? Big Mikey should have given Salo the damn two years and dealt with Salo injuries, come what may. It got to the point of frustration for yours truly that I was wishing #41 was dressed. That’s right, Alberts probably wouldn’t have hurt them anymore than they hurt themselves tonight.

The Sedins who looked great against the Ducks took a night off for what? Why? Kassian needed to keep his goal for goal contest with Hodgson, but the Sedins seemed disinterested in playing against the Sharks. I don’t know, maybe they were miffed that Zack got ice cream from AV on the plane ride from Orange County to Northern California. Whatever it is, when your best players aren’t you best players, it tends to send the whole team into a funk.  They were punished tonight, a lengthy benching in the third period and then shifts with Dale Weise, enough said.

Mason Raymond forgot to ask the aliens in Anaheim to take over his body again and make him a scoring machine, but he’s always been streaky, I can’t ask for anymore.

The biggest problem is the absence of Kesler and Booth. It has sent the team to make lines drawn from a slot machine pull that could drive any coach mad. Someone give Alain Vigneault some vodka infused gum! He needed it after this Sharks game! Without a real second line, it’s been hard to find secondary scoring when you don’t know what is in store for the line ups from the 2nd line and down. Those two guys are dearly missed and the ‘second line’ are getting mangled like rag dolls. Kesler’s physical and tenacious play is missed and much needed.

Hey Max Lapierre, you’re pretty and everything but that penalty you took in the second period? Well it’s so stupid, you could model with Derek Zoolander!

Lapierre had the bus take off on him tonight, he was so damn awful!

Lapierre had the bus take off on him tonight, he was so damn awful!

Face-offs: Can we win one? Just got out drawn by the Sharks tonight, and it killed the Canucks. Plain and simple.

Power Plays and Penalty Kills: Special teams looked like they took a special ed course. Horrible defending and 0 for 7 on the PP says it all.

Oh yeah, I hope Niemi buys the post dinner and drinks before he takes it home tonight. What team hits 5 posts in one game and none of them go in? Oh yea, the Canucks **FACEPALM**

I usually don’t write a game analysis but tonight was just terrible worse than opening night at Rogers Arena. I can only be hopeful and say they will bounce back in Los Angeles against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Kings. Here’s to hoping! Until tomorrow!

Justine Galo.

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

PS

If you want to see how I deal with a game as it’s being played, give me a follow on twitter and see for yourself!

 

Feelings of a Post-Lockout Canucks Fan

After 113 days of an NHL work stoppage via lockout, it’s actually safe to say it’s finally over. It’s official, the NHL is back in business. However, some fans have voiced out the they don’t really care if the lockout is over. They are not happy with the NHL and their local teams. Many have said they will boycott the games and not watch any of the NHL. Some said they won’t spend a cent that would benefit their local hockey and some said they will take up knitting. Well, I can’t knit, but to each their own.

I’ve talked to many fans on twitter like @ThePrawnGuy ,Jay Mayede, who said he is boycotting the NHL because of this lockout. He even went to far to tweet just how long:

@ThePrawnGuy:<—- pretty much ignoring hockey until after Grey Cup in Nov.

Jay has expressed he is probably going to buy Vancouver Whitecaps FC season tickets and for the money he’d spend for three or four Canucks games.

@ThePrawnGuy: … for 4 decent Canucks tickets, i could buy Lions or Whitecaps seasons tix and get change

Meanwhile Jason Baker, @JBonCanucks has had mixed feelings about the whole thing and tweeted to me

@JBonCanucks: Just excited to have hockey back and that’s sort of what I’m choosing to focus on. Not as much time invested though.

This seems to be the most common consensus of the majority of the Canucks fans on twitter and those that I have talked to personally. Even long time season ticket holder, Chris Baldwin, @cbaldwin74, is still a little ‘iffy’ on jumping in wholeheartedly. Although he was disgruntled by the lockout, he does feel the Canucks are trying to make amends, at least throughout the beginning of the season with their fan offers.

@cbaldwin74: I think the Canucks are making a good start -canucks link- This has to be a “Season of the Fan and For the Fan”

@cbaldwin74: The @VanCanucks also need to make sure they target Season Ticket holders who left their money with the team

Then there are the likes of fans like Jocelyn Aspa aka @suitoflights  who said

 @suitoflights: I’m really excited about it! It’s been far too long, I’m ready for the puck to drop

Lindsay Bayne gave a heartfelt tweet talking about the upcoming season after viewing the newest Canucks TV Video

@causticchick: Well, I cried watching the new Canucks TV today, so I guess I’d say over-excited and emotional.

Excited isn’t enough to describe these ladies’ anticipation for the upcoming season and they are not alone!

I think it’s great to see a wonderful spectrum of opinions from the Canucks fan base. However, I am with Baldwin and Baker on this one. I am excited, but at the same time, I am hoping the Canucks do as much as they can to show the fans they are appreciated.

Are the Canucks the villians in this situation? Did they gauge the fans until we’re bled dry and want more now that they are back in business? If that is the case, nothing the Canucks do will be enough for some, that’s ok. We have the choice to say no. Remember that.

Can't wait to see some this at Rogers Arena!

For me? I am excited to be heading to Rogers Arena and hitting my foursquare check-in for a hockey game, not a rock concert. But I’m not ready to depart with funds to buy new merchandise quite yet. Call it my little ‘boycott’ towards the NHL, the NHLPA and their ‘lockout’. The difference between me and the ‘complete boycott’ people? I love Canucks hockey way too much to be away from it for too long.  So I will see you at the rink, in last year’s fashions, but I will be there, in anticipation for a new Canucks season.

Parting words: Go Canucks Go!

Justine Galo

@aviewfromabroad

 

 

 

 

Introducing: Twitter Me This- #Hashtagging Weekly Canucks Topics From the twitterverse

As a social media junkie that has been addicted to twitter since 2008, I have been trying to figure out a way to implement twitter into some blog writing over the last little while. Marry the two loves of my social media life: Explaining thoughts in 140 characters or less and writing opinions on stupid NHL rule changes, Gary Bettman, the NHL lockout and of course, the reason I started blogging in the first place, the Vancouver Canucks.

So this is how it works. Every Monday before 7PM, Pacific standard time, I will put up a topic on twitter hash-tagged #TMT and the topic of choice, and in 140 characters or less, you tweet me a response. On Thursday before 7PM, Pacific standard time, I will put up an article containing and tying in some of the answers followers and readers have sent my way via twitter. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t cost you a thing.

New Feature wants your feedback with the hashtag #TMT

With this introduction of what we are trying to accomplish here on CC, why don’t we get it kicked off with something fun.

With the lockout happening, I was thinking about how we can all keep talking hockey and mainly the Vancouver Canucks without having to bitch and moan about the billionaires shutting out the millionaires and their PR campaigns to the fans. It a topic that has been hashed out and re-hashed from all angles.

As I was driving into my parking garage the other night, U2’s “Where the Streets Have no Name” starting blasting in my car. As I felt the steady ‘thud’ of Larry Mullin’s bass drum pelt against my back from the sub-woofer, I started to really miss my team. I started to think of the awesome “WWE-esque” entrance the Canucks had going on. Lots of blue and green lights, smoke machines, added sirens to the song and the cheering of us fans. It will be another while until we hear and see that again.

Hit the music! “Where the Streets Have No Name” intro.

For quite some time now, U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” has been the Canucks entrance theme but it’s been up for debate over the last few years if the team needs a new entrance song. Some say that ‘Streets’ isn’t “in your face” enough and it’s too subdued. Others love it, and link the song to their beloved team and especially at the start of every season, they can’t wait to hear it belt through the speakers at Rogers Arena.  So I am asking you, to give us here at CC some thoughts to what you think of the Canucks introduction song of “Where the Streets Have no Name” . Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you simply don’t care and just want NHL hockey back?

How do I feel about it? Well, what can say in 140 characters or less?

@Aviewfromabroad: One might want to rethink a team entrance song when the 1st lyrics sing “I want to run, I want to hide…” #TMT #CanucksThemeSong

Now “Twitter Me This” and let’s see how the rest of Canuckland feels about “Where the Streets Have no Name” as the Vancouver Canucks theme song.

Column hashtag: #TMT
Topic hashtag: #CanucksThemeSong

We’ll revisit this topic again on Thursday with your input and hopefully I can tie it all in neatly and timely. I’ve also noticed, this is the first time I have ever given myself a deadline to write a Canucks blog, or any blog for that matter. Another reason I am welcoming this new addition to the CC columns. So is it time to change the theme song? A little old for your liking or does it stay? Heck, even the name of the building has changed, is “Streets” next?
Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad

Caught in the CBA Crossfire

 

As I read and keep up on the “progress” of the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement talks, I can’t help but become upset, and at times, angry. Why? It’s because we have two sides that are “duking out” some sort of agreement that involves millions and millions of dollars. Figures many of the average NHL hockey fan cannot even begin to conjure up in his/her mind. Figures that many of us fans can only see if we ever won a lottery. It’s not because I am bitter about how much money the owners, the league and the players have in their pockets, or how they live their lifestyles. I’m upset and angry because, the two sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t the only ones that are affected by a possible lockout.

My concerns go to the people who have jobs in the arenas, the office of various NHL franchises and those that have ties with the NHL and/or franchises. People like you and I that work for a living to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. What happens to them during all this? As I dropped my 15 year old daughter off to work this morning, I got thinking about all those that will possibly be affected. My daughter works special events for various event companies and also for the catering company I own. It is very similar to many that work at Rogers Arena and many of the other arenas across the league, they make a living working the games and special events that happen.

CBA Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA hold up more than revenue sharing percentage quibbles.

The NHL has 41 regular season games a year, a handful of pre-season games and possibly some playoff games for the arena staff to work. An average salary in Vancouver would be around $14-16 an hour and about a six to eight hour  shift for such events. Let’s ballpark that to $105 a game per employee. Over a the course of the regular season of 41 games that’s $4,305 in wages per employee. Multiply that by about 150 people it becomes a cumulative approximate total of $645,750 of wages for the people to help run the NHL events of the arena.  The NHL league minimum is $525,000. The difference between one NHL player earning the league minimum and 150 NHL arena employees is $120,750. It is not a whole lot of difference is it? The $120,750 is also divided by 149 more people than what the low end of what a players makes in the NHL.

While the NHLPA may be losing wages throughout this whole ordeal, many of the players have hazard pay, strike pay, whatever you want to call it. What about the arena workers? Many are forced to seek other means employment in a day and age where having a job is harder to come by each and every passing day, no matter what education and work experience one may have. There are only so many jobs to go around.

So when the owners and the players decide to put the fate of the average people in their hands to bargain about billions and millions of dollars, “Joe” at the concession stand is going to go and look for a new job to cover the 41 games he will not be getting paid if there is an NHL lockout to cover the $4,305 he will shorted on his salary for the year. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman makes a base salary of $5,529,490. I get it, he has a lot of responsibility, more so than a guy that runs a concession stand at your local NHL arena when it comes to the league, but “Joe” has responsibilities as well. “Joe” has bills to pay, put a roof over “Joe’s” head and mouths to feed. I know that $4,305 is just a suit in Gary Bettman’s closet, but that’s 1.5-2.0 months of wages to “Joe”.

NHL Commission Gary Bettman wants a deal done by September 15 or the league will lockout the players…and fans.

As a season ticket holder for the Vancouver Canucks, I’ve gotten to know some of the arena workers over the years, a few of them I consider friends. Although, the ones I do know are very capable of finding other employment in the hospitality and service industry, it bugs to me to think that they have to even do such a thing. It also bothers me to know that fans who have paid their hard-earned money to purchase ticket packages for the Vancouver Canucks and other teams year in and year out are again held hostage to negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. That’s three times in Gary Bettman’s tenure as NHL Commissioner. That’s three times too many in this fan’s opinion.

As many fans all around the league hope for a better outcome of these negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, many of those could possibly be affected by an impending lockout are now forced to find different avenues to make a living.

So my message to the league and the players’ union is: Keep quibbling over percentages of millions of dollars each side gets, but get it done soon. You are not the only ones affected by this dark cloud looming over the NHL’s upcoming season. Some of us (fans) are getting tired of the constant threat of a lockout or a strike. So while you drive your luxury cars to your meetings, some of us are just wanting to make sure we have money to put gas in our cars or to buy a transit pass to make our way to work…that is, if you allow us.
Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad