Friday, November 16, 2007

Vancouver - Part Deux

Why is everything bilingual in Vancouver? It's an awful long way from Quebec. A few more observations from my visit... The fans LOVE Trevor Linden! The souvenir shop manager told me his jerseys outsell everyone else's, even Luongo's. GM Place is a rather pedestrian building with only two main levels, surprising that an arena built in the mid 90's would not have a significant middle level of club seats. I think Roberto Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL, but he spent the first period on his back like a dying cockroach making saves with arms and legs alike, before settling down. The 'Nucks fans call him Louie, which I never heard when he played for the Miami Panthers.

Why on earth would Canucks coach Alain Vigneault select unskilled journeyman Byron Ritchie as his first skater in the shootout, and not use Marcus Naslund or the Sedin Sisters? The 50/50 drawings are big at the Canadian rinks. You buy a raffle ticket, and half the money goes to charity and the other half to the winning ticket holder. We're talking $20-$25,000 for the winner. Nice haul, eh?

While boarding the flight to Vancouver, I recognized Marc Bergevin, an original member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who played for a few other teams in his 15+ year NHL career. He is now a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. He knew who I was, having seen me on the Jumbotron, and he jokingly said he was sick of seeing me, as he had been to three other games I attended. As a player, Bergevin had a reputation as a practical joker. I fell asleep in an aisle seat near the back of the plane, but I soon awoke to feel someone pulling my boarding pass out of my shirt pocket. I opened my eyes and it was Bergevin, on his way to the bathroom, who simply said, "Gotcha". Pretty funny, Marc!

I hope to get my power cord back tomorrow and tell you all about my few hours in Edmonton, which were quite interesting. Now I'm boarding the redeye to Toronto, to get to St. Louis the roundabout way!


Anonymous said...

About Byron Ritchie...that was a major brain fart and we were wondering the same thing watching the game at home.

In my livingroom, occassionally we call our goalie "Reboundo Luongo". But only on bad days...and we all have those.

Ayan said...

Despite French only being spoken in Quebec, there are 2 official languages for the entire contry of Canada, English and French.

Anonymous said...

"We're talking $20-$25,000 for the winner. Nice haul, eh?"

They even do the 50/50 draws in our little arena up north (Alberta Junior Hockey League) and sometimes people win $2500 which isn't bad for a small arena with 1700 seats!

Anonymous said...

The Canadian influences reaches as far as Australia - not the French thing, the 50/50 draw. It a regular at our local rink.

Sometimes the money goes to a particular cause (like a new wheelchair for a cerebral palsy child) but mostly the $100-$200 helps pay for travel and other team expenses - we pretty much run on the proverbial shoe string down here!