Living downtown, we get to share the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Run Fever with 100,000 of our closest friends in the concrete jungle. Game 4, with the Canucks at Boston, saw us ensconced at the tiny patio of a pricey Japanese restaurant on the Granville entertainment strip; virtually all the bars, clubs and restaurants in this area were already packed with Canuck supporters by the time that the big man and I made our way down Granville so there were not many options for hockey viewing. This place had room because its management made the unwise decision to have a minimum charge for food and drink while the game was on; that thinned out the crowd, as almost everyone who came in left again in a hurry when told about the minimum (it was quite high). But we like Japanese food and had a prime spot with a good view of the action and so the Japanese patio it was.
Seated next to us were an older couple whose inability to communicate with the waitress, since they didn’t speak much English and she spoke no French, led to my interventions in helping them to order two pieces of cake, one tea and a beer, and a heated conversation about the general failure of personnel in BC’s tourist industry to speak French. As I found out during our subsequent conversation, this situation really bugged the man, for whom one’s ability to speak, or not, la belle Francais, was un idee fixe. Judging from the intent and sometimes puzzled expression on l’homme’s face when I spoke, my French was barely up to the task, although la madame did say that she understood me perfectly.
After Rome’s bruising hit on Horton, a hit that left the Bruin seemingly unconscious on the ice, I had a bad feeling about the game, and, lo and behold, the Canucks got crushed. Needless to say, the mood on Granville that evening after the game ended was dark and depressed. Even the guy in the gorilla suit could barely raise a chuckle.
Oh woe, misery in Canuck Nation – the President’s Men become not heroes but goats.
Ah, but another day, another opportunity; Vancouver fans, although worried, still held the faith.
Since we don’t have a TV, Ty and I watched Game 5 in the comfortable, and no-cost, venue of our building’s lounge; by the time the scoreless game headed into the third period, I was getting a bit tired of the whole thing (not being one of the true believers) but – huzzah! – a goal by Lapierre, the Canucks managing to hold off the Bruins, and, voila, victory and jubilation – let the party begin!
The massive crowds in the downtown “fan zones”, such as outside the CBC building on Hamilton, erupted in a frenzy of cheering and clapping and Ty and I decided to enter the dragon and check out the scene on the street.
Almost immediately the horns began to blare and fans began to converge from all corners of the city on Granville Street, the celebration epicentre.
Hugs, hi-fives and screaming everywhere; even the cops, who could barely be seen once the crowd really got thick, got into the act, hi-fiving with the best of them.
Love the homemade Bieksa jersey … it was interesting to note that, at least judging from the jerseys worn, Kesler is the most popular Canuck, followed by Luongo, the Sedins and Burrows. We saw Keslers with breasts, multi-ethnic Keslers, Keslers with babies, Keslers with dogs, Keslers with hair, Keslers with no hair – number 17s everywhere.
Along with the multitudes of Keslers, Luongos and Sedins were many Stanley Cups, some plastic replicas, some homemade from duct-tape and tinfoil; Stanley Cup-carrying fans saluted one another with their cups held high, singing “We want the Cup”.
A roar of joy went up in the crowd when a gigantic black plastic cube made its appearance on the street, only to be passed from many hands to many hands until it developed a tear and slowly disintegrated somewhere along Granville Street.
The crush on Granville got denser and denser until, at Robson, we could barely move through the crowd. I grabbed ahold of the big man’s jacket as he plowed through the sea of bodies.
A variety of garb was on display on the street, ranging from the derigeur blue and green wigs
to red-hatted pirates
to Mexican mariachis and Roman gladiators; Canucks fans are a multi-ethnic bunch.
Along with the seething sea of Canuck fans on foot was a procession of honking, decorated cars and trucks, one of the most popular of which was this black pickup with a full size Bruin bear caged in back; frenzied fans jumped up on its bumper and pounded on the caged bear’s head, much to the delight of cheering onlookers.
We shall see what Game 6 Monday brings – joy or sorrow, jubilation in the streets or devastation to Canucks Nation.
See more pictures here.