Vancouver Canucks: What a Stanley Cup Win Would Mean for Canadian Hockey
Last night, with one of the strangest goals in Stanley Cup playoffs and even hockey history, the Vancouver Canucks won in double overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vancouver Canucks have not played in the SCF since 1994, when they were defeated by the New York Rangers.
The Canucks' berth in the SCF is not just meaningful for the city of Vancouver and Canucks fans. It is meaningful for Canada as well.
A Canadian franchise has not won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. That is a long time to wait for a country that had dynasties in the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
What would a Stanley Cup win in Vancouver mean for the country?
The Origins of Hockey
People have argued about the origins of hockey for a very long time, and the argument will probably continue. While the origin may be unknown, Canada has really taken the sport to the next level.
Hockey has grown across the world, in European countries as well as the United States.
However, Canada remains at the core of the hockey world.
There may be other sports played in Canada, but hockey is still the most popular sport in the country, and most Canadians would agree that none of the sports compare to hockey.
Yet what started as Canada’s sport has expanded into a 30-club NHL, 80 percent of which is located in the U.S.
Thus, Canadians should be happy when they see their Canadian franchises do well.
A little over a year ago, the Canadian men’s national hockey team won the gold medal in an overtime thriller against the U.S. during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
It marked the first time the historically dominant hockey team won Olympic gold in ice hockey on home soil.
Canadians will forever associate Vancouver with that 2010 gold medal win.
Could they associate Vancouver with bringing Lord Stanley back to Canada as well?
Some have argued that most Canadians don’t look highly upon the citizens of Vancouver and are actually rooting against the team.
That may be true now, but I’m curious what the reaction would be if the Canucks do in fact win the Cup. After all, the naysayers are right—the Canucks have never dominated the NHL like the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens have.
Perhaps, though, they will look at Vancouver differently once their team gets its first Stanley Cup win.
The NHL has been attempting a Southern expansion for years, intending to grow the sport of hockey in parts of the U.S. that haven’t typically been exposed to hockey.
While it is great that the NHL wants to expand the sport and generate more hockey fans, many Canadians have felt a little neglected.
They’ve watched their teams slowly start to disappear, with the Winnipeg Jets moving to Phoenix and the Quebec Nordiques moving to Colorado.
This year, it finally looks like Canada will be getting a franchise back, in Winnipeg.
The timing couldn’t be better. With Vancouver’s continued success, it gives Canadians the chance to show the NHL and the world that nobody celebrates their hockey team better than Canadians.
It will prove that bringing more franchises back to Canada will be profitable and a good idea.
All That’s Great, but What Would a Vancouver Cup Win Mean for Canada?
Truth is, only time will tell.
For sure, the city of Vancouver will be ecstatic celebrating its franchise’s first Stanley Cup victory.
Whether the Canucks win or not in the Final, their presence will bring media attention back to Vancouver and Canada.
It’s been four years since the last time a Canadian team was even in the Stanley Cup Final, when three Canadian franchises had appeared in back-to-back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.
With a Canadian team back in the Final, people will be forced to pay attention to Canada again, which is a good thing for Canada.
Plus, even if Canadians are not rooting for the Canucks, the team’s continued success will only benefit the future of Canadian hockey.