I enjoy a very special friendship with a brother in Christ who is one of the owners of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. As a result of my friendship, and my real love for hockey, I have adopted the Canucks as my favorite team in the NHL. I have even had the privilege of seeing a game at the Rogers Center in Vancouver and sitting with my friend. I saw the inside of the arena and the entire operation. It was an exciting night in late 2009.
My Chicago friends are surprised, once again, that I root against my home town team but so be it. Friends trump towns unless it is the Atlanta Braves and/or the Alabama Crimson Tide, which are just too deeply rooted in my childhood and the impact of my dad on my life.
Tonight offered me one of the true thrills of my post-season hockey experience — seeing the Canucks beat the Blackhawks 3-2 to go up three games to none in the first round of the post-season. If I believed in conspiracy theories I would be convinced the NHL wanted Chicago to win the way the game was called by the referees. But the Canucks showed class and skill and won in the final period. When the Hawks pulled their goaltender in the last 90 seconds it was tense but the Canucks defense was ready.
Stacy and I were given some of the best tickets in the arena – seventeen rows from the ice in the corner just above the goal. You could see the whole flow of the game and when the action was right in front of us it was downright palpable. I actually felt my strength ebb away in the last few minutes. One of the trials of my fatigue syndrome is related to stress management and this was fun but stressful. I’m not sure I can watch much more of this kind of game in person. The place was so loud, the energy off the charts high and the pace of the game unbelievable. After it was all over we just sat there and relaxed until the building was nearly empty. What a great evening. If Vancouver wins Tuesday they finally finish off the Hawks who have tormented them the last two seasons in the post-season playoffs by ending their dream of their first ever Stanley Cup championship.