Category Archives: Sports

Those Lovable Canucks


Admit it, if you were playing a team

That had Burrows, Torres, Lapierre, Bieksa, Rome,

You’d hate them, too.

 

The defense are pricks

And all the Swedes are soft.

The goalie is a headcase

Swinging from shutout to shellshocked

Like a grease monkey during 80s night.

 

Their best player is an American

Who said, “I hate Canadians”

In the Canucks’ home rink

Before the gold medal game

Of the 2010 Olympics.

 

What’s not to like?

 

Their swarmy French-Canadian coach?

Their player agent cum GM?

Their refusal to play Cody Hodgson?

 

When I was six years old

I got a Bruins jersey and black hockey gloves

For Christmas and wore them all day

At my grandparent’s house singing,

“Janey Bainy was born in California…”

I don’t know why,

But with Orr in the house

It would have taken a miracle

For the Cup to be won in Beantown.

 

Oh wise and benevolent Hockey Gods,

I was a Canucks fan from the very first game

Forty years ago. I stayed up way past bedtime

Listening to so many losses

On a little red transistor radio

Hidden under my pillow in the farmhouse

Robson calling all the games

On the Hockey Nut Station.

 

I remember Don Lever

Hitting the post on Dryden with two minutes left,

And then again in overtime,

Before the Habs finally buried us.

 

When Smyl hit the post

In game one against the Islanders

I thought immediately

That our best hope to win

The game, the series,

Had just vanished.

 

Without fail, the wheels came off

The West Coast Express

Every springtime,

Or some stupid Euro scored

On his own goalie,

Or the New York Oilers

Stacked the odds against us

To break a slump longer than our own.

 

Oh Hockey Gods,

Have we, the faithful,

Not endured enough?

 

Is another game seven

Just one more torture

To test our worthiness,

The intensity of our desire

To see the city’s name etched

On an old silver mug?

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OMFG!

A Banner Year

My son’s home ice hockey rink this year was the PNE Agrodome, which has an odd collection of ancient banners, trophies and photographs of old horsemen, 4Hers, hockey teams, and figure skaters. I often strolled the concourse before games and gazed at the trophies and banners, and read the detailed biographies of the founding B.C. horsemen. Some were born on farms in the Lower Mainland in the 1880s and 1890s, when there were just a few pockets of civilization linked by dirt and skidder roads carved through the predominant forest.

The Hastings Hockey Association, which was originally located in the Forum circa 1930, was the forerunner to the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association that my son plays in now. Like most things in Vancouver, the City is divided into two hockey associations, with the VMHA representing the East Side and downtown, and the immeasurably better-funded Thunderbirds playing for the West Side.

Over the first few years of playing hockey, my son’s teams have often been trounced by the dreaded T-Birds. Teams from Richmond, Burnaby and New West often beat them too, but there always seemed to be a little extra frustration (especially among the parents) when they lost to the West Siders.

But this year, after 4 years of playing on hockey teams that lost far more games than they won, my son’s team had an impressive 18-2-2 record. They won every game against the T-Birds teams, and finished in first place out of 18 teams in their President’s League division. For the first time, my son’s team won a banner – a rare feat for the East Side kids.

The banner will be hung in Britannia Arena, just one of dozens that hang there from bygone eras. But, hopefully, in 20 years or so my son will take his own kids there and point up into the rafters, and tell them the story of his first banner year.

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Art as Propaganda: The BC Spirit Festival

Today, I’m mourning an anniversary of sorts, as it was one year ago today that the BC Liberals sent the mass emails around the province announcing the massive raiding of BC Lottery Corporation and cutting off funding to thousands of arts and cultural groups. Having started this blog only two weeks before, I hadn’t expected to be suddenly thrown into a spiral of poverty and bitterness, which admittedly has only grown worse as the months passed. Like so many others, I was forced to Stop All Art.

So it perhaps comes as no surprise that the Campbell government and Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger – one of the more worthless and imbecilic politicians in this province, and that’s saying something – recently announced that they would be “restoring” about 10 million worth of “arts” funding on a sham annual propaganda event called the BC Spirit Festival.

This funding program is an attempt by Campbell to milk the success of the Olympics for the next three years every February, which, not coincidently, will take us to the next election in 2013.

Needless to say, the arts community is once again enraged, as most organizations are barely clinging to life as it is, as they just recently learned that funding will be cut again this year. And now the only hope to access any provincial funding is to sell out their artistic freedom and put on some sort of pseudo-Olympic celebration that pays homage to the assholes who crippled them. It really is sick.

So sick, in fact, that BC Arts Council chair Jane Danzo finally decided to resign 10 days ago, slamming the government for their latest cuts while simultaneously announcing the Spirit Festival fund with absolutely no consultation with the Arts Council.

The last two weeks have seen numerous arts community heavyweights weigh in on the matter and condemn the government for what some have labelled a fascist view of the arts as state propaganda. In a blog post that was subsequently published in the Georgia Straight, John McLaughlin had these choice words:

“But outside of economic and political arguments, the real slap in the face comes from the arrogance of the Spirit Festival scheme. The government has slashed the arts community in half — then spoon-fed back a shadow of its previous funding in such a way that creative control is ripped from the hands of artists themselves. They are now expected to act as mouthpieces championing a legacy of debt, excess, and political misdirection — and we’re expected not to notice.”

“That’s not “belt-tightening” — that’s premeditated murder by strangulation.”

And they wonder why 705,000 signed the No HST petition? It has very little to do with the actual tax, you fools. People simply hate this government, and everything Gordon Campbell stands for.

And with so many underemployed but highly creative people kicking around the province these days, Recall in the Fall is going to be a nasty, dirty fight. But hey, they brought it on themselves.

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