When the Olympics were in Vancouver it was easy to see how sports could unite people, our communities and even a country. There was something very special about experiencing that whether you were there in person or sharing the moments while in the comfort of your own home.
This year I am once again seeing how sports can bring people together with the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It is quite something to watch Canuck fever sweep across the Hazeltons and across Canada in many ways.
If there was ever a doubt how many Canadians are hockey fans one only needs to look at Facebook it seems as during a Canuck game there seems to be 200 posts at any given time.
Most are sharing comments about their support for their team or their frustrations for that matter as well as the details of the game. Of course there are the few comments from rivals having fun with the competitive side of the playoffs and egging each other on but for the most part it is quite evident that we love our hockey.
Throughout the Hazeltons the passion is evident everywhere. Flags fly from vehicles of all shapes and sizes, jersey’s, jackets and caps can be seen on people wherever you look. Hockey is the talk around town and in fact, things almost shut down when the game is on. Meetings were cancelled and postponed when it was discovered the game was on and you could even here cheering and yelling if you were walking around at the right time on game night.
Upon stopping at the gas station, one could hear the game on radios throughout the parking lot and people walking by were yelling over to get the scores. If you happened to be driving down the road when they scored or won for that matter, horns were sounded throughout the area.
Now on a personal note, playoff hockey is really the best hockey to watch, for the most part. I do enjoy watching the game but this past few weeks it has also been quite stressful for most of us Canuck fans. In fact, during Game 7, I was so worked up I left the game on and went into the kitchen to clean so I didn’t have to watch. It was pretty entertaining to find out in the following days how many people were just as, or even more so, stressed during that series.
There is also an extra special bonus for me and I am sure for many others with the very talented Dan Hamhuis from Smithers on defence for the Canucks.
Now going forward, I do hope the Vancouver team can keep it going and take it all the way and I am sure if that happens, Canuck fever will only amplify in the weeks to come.
Shannon Hurst is the Three Rivers Report correspondent and writes the weekly My Town column.