Streets empty and lawn mowers fall silent.
It’s game time and the Vancouver Canucks are taking all of B.C. along on their remarkable run for the Stanley Cup.
We’ll leave it to sociologists to study the deeper meaning behind why the faithful seem to grow exponentially the deeper the team gets into the NHL playoffs, and how something as trivial as pro sports can create such a fevered community.
But it is precisely that feeling of community – that shared sense of being part of something – that will create a milestone in the lives of people across the province. From Greater Victoria to the Yukon and Alberta, we are living through an experience that transcends sports.
To be sure, there are other benefits. Bars and restaurants in B.C. have been given a needed boost at a time when that industry is dealing with an unsure economy and the public’s reaction to the HST. People want to experience important events together, evidenced by the hundreds who gathered at Royal Athletic Park to watch Vancouver beat San Jose, or the thousands who spill out onto lower mainland streets after games.
Part of what makes this run so thrilling is, unlike when the Canucks made it to the finals in ’94 and ’82, this year’s squad started the playoffs as the team to beat. Still, as known by fans of the only other Canadian NHL team yet to win the cup in the modern era (Ottawa in 2007), making it to the finals is not the same as winning them.
And as fans of the Senators also understand, getting this far is not something to be taken for granted. Which is why everyone should find a reason to cheer a little and make the most of what could be a once-in-a-generation experience.
The lawn can wait. Seize the moment and let’s hope the Canucks do the same.