No no no, hate isn't the right word; it isn't strong enough. I loooooaaaaathe Vancouver.
Before you post an angry comment, hear me out -- this isn't the same hatred that a Leafs fan would hold for a team like Montreal or Ottawa, where multiple games and geographical location determine the rival.
No, this is a personal vendetta, one that holds dear to my heart. You see, as someone who has the majority of his friends cheering for Toronto, there is always the oddball who forces us to hear him yammer on about how awesome Detroit is, or how dominant Pittsburgh can be, and whether or not Montreal can make another run.
And that is fine. Detroit is old enough where people had their parents cheering for the Red Wings of the 80s; Pittsburgh is Bandwagon 101, with multiple superstars on their squad; Montreal has more than enough historic moments to have superfans, in which one or two may leak their way into southwestern Ontario. And that's fine.
But it is a Vancouver fan, one that has done nothing but gloss over how the parade is scheduled for late June, that I cannot stand for.
If you are reading this and happen to be rocking Canuck gear throughout this post-season, ponder this theory: have you been a fan of this team before their traditional second round exits? Did it ever cross your mind that legendary players Mats Sundin and Mark Messier played for the fish? Are you aware of the fact that this team has actually NEVER won a Stanley Cup?
To me, it all goes back a year ago, when the Olympics were held in Vancouver, and the country united for the men's hockey team. We forgot our alligences to our respective squads, coming together and rooted for red and white, hoping for gold. We cheered, we got emotional, we yelled Looooouuuuuu in unison -- it really was a beautiful thing.
Once Sidney scored and the hangovers went away, it was back to business.
But something happened.
Somewhere along the line, hockey fans started getting the idea that cheering for another team was OK. Somewhere, fans started thinking that being a Vancouver fan was cool, and that having a second team was acceptable.
Now this piece you are reading (You made it this far? Impressive!) is being written by one of the all-time homers, someone who's obsession with Toronto sports is on the path of psychotic. But my loyality can never be questioned. Fandom is something that is sacred, something that can never be broken. Or at least, I thought it couldn't be.
Whenever I bring this up, the same argument is made: "But, they're Canadian, so it's ok!". My god, Fonzie would have an easier time telling them they are wr- wr- wr- wrong.
Whatever happened to the idea of being competitive? Why shouldn't a Leafs fan want his own team to win it? How come people in Edmonton and Calgary would be fine if their division rival hosting the Stanley Cup?
I hate soccer, but I admire their fans. Put it this way -- if Manchester United was out of the playoffs, would English soccer fans continue to cheer for Manchester City? Didn't think so. So why should other Canadian fans cheer for Vancouver?
Last night on "The Hook" with Norman James, they were discussing media bias, and whether or not people like the idea of newspaper writer's showing favourtism to the team they cover. Me and him shared the same opinion -- that if your job is to tell it how it is, then you should do so. Their job isn't to be a fan; it's to be someone who lets the readers know how the team is doing and what they should do to improve. Norman brought up the point of how cities like Vancouver and Montreal (Montreal is extremely guilty of this) show fandom in their newspapers, and only want to tell the good side of the story. All year, their newspaper headlines have read "Luongo reaching Veznia form" or "Should the NHL name the Sedin twins co-MVP's?". When was the last time a Toronto based newspaper had a headline that involved a trophy and a Maple Leaf in the same sentence?
Tomorrow is game six between Chicago and Vancouver, 7:30 on CBC. After the Canucks took a 3-0 lead in the series, the Blackhawks have entered complete eff-you mode and stormed back to make it 3-2. Roberto Luongo has looked like his vintage self, letting in big goals in crunch time and crumbling under the pressure. Kevin Bieska turned gutless and fought Viktor Stalberg, who has only had one career fight before taking on the Canuck blueliner. Ryan Kesler should be on the side of a milk carton with the word "MISSING" in bold overtop his picture, while the Sedins are proving that physical play and pressure can knock them off their game.
I'll admit it, the Canucks have a very good squad, but their demons against the Blackhawks may be too much to handle. And for all the Canadian citizens that are cheering for them -- forshame.
And no, I'm not jealous of Vancouver.