In 1994 when the Vancouver Canucks were making their drive towards the Stanely Cup, and the province was being whipped into a fervor, I calmly claimed that Montreal would win the cup again (for the 25th time) before Vancouver would hoist their first. Vancouver fell short then, and it was as though a stigma lay upon the club, and my claim was not to be lifted. While Vancouver has assembled some talented players, and put forth some great regular seasons – and the Habs have had some dismal years – I have never felt any inkling to waver from my claim. That is, until now. While I will always be a Canadiens fan, my attitude towards the Canucks has softened. This is partly due to my more balanced and far less fanatical outlook towards hockey in general, as compared to my sentiments many years ago. Also, it’s nice to see people happy about their team. I have been surrounded by Canucks fans for my entire life and for once I guess I would like to have them experience what Habs fans took for granted for so long. However, the primary reason I will now take back my statement (and hopefully any negativity that it brews) is for Trevor Linden.
T. Linden easily ranks in the top 3 of professional athletes to have had a positive impact while playing in British Columbia. I see tykes stare in wonder at number 16 now, the same way tykes looked up to him nearly twenty years ago. He has poured his heart into the Canuck club, the city of Vancouver, and has given his all to make the game of hockey better for all those involved. He comes across as a class act, a gentlemanly competitor, and a taskmaster for hard work. On the ice, off the ice, in the public eye, in his private efforts, through his words, and most importantly in his actions, Linden sets an example for everyone that watches him. Hopefully what people see is more than a professional hockey player, because in the grand scheme of things hockey doesn’t matter all that much. Ideally, people should see Linden as the embodiment of dedication, perseverance, and responsibility – it just so happens he showcases those in the public arena. So my claim (which inwardly was always a bit of a twisted curse and wish) that Vancouver waits for their first cup until Montreal gets their 25th, is lifted. I am pulling for the Canucks so Linden can have a chance at the cup – he deserves it more than anyone else playing in the show right now. Let’s go #16!