Before I became truly immersed in hockey – by virtue of spending 15 months in Vancouver on a working holiday visa – I took a passing interest in the game. It was easily the most enjoyable of the professional North American sports to watch. I used to follow the results from home and usually hoped to see the Canadian teams beating the American Teams. I think this flowed from the fact that most Australians find it easier to relate to Canada then the US. What with the Commonwealth, Queen and all.
It was a real eye-opener for me when I reached Canada and saw the dislike that fans have for other teams. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, it is sport after all. However, when it really hit home was during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That year it was the 2005/2006 season (the first after the season long lockout). Edmonton took Carolina to 7 games in the Stanley Cup Finals. Friends of mine who were diehard Vancouver fans couldn’t bring themselves to support Edmonton even though no Canadian Team had won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993.
This surprised me. As a proud South Australian, my first love is Australian Rules Football and (don’t hold it against me, but) I am a Port Adelaide fan. My dislike of the Adelaide Crows is well known to those who know me. However come finals, would I rather see a South Australian team lord it over the Victorians? Of course I would. I am sure it is the same for Victorians, unless of course the Victorian team is Collingwood.
Sure it’s fun to beat up on the other Canadian Teams, and nothing beats a win in their own stadium. But if it comes down to a finals series between Toronto and Chicago, or Calgary and New York, or Edmonton and Pittsburgh, etc., etc.
Does your allegiance to the Canucks influence your decision, and can you support another Canadian Team, even for seven games?