Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is GM Place an intimidating place for opposing teams to play in?

There was all this hoopla over the #7 over a month ago, and it was revealed that the fans were applauded as the "7th player" on the team. I can remember the guy on the P.A. mentioning that fans gave the Canucks the home-ice advantage, and gave the fans a big thank-you, blah blah blah.
Let me be honest. I really didn't feel that the atmosphere or the crowd at the Canucks-Wings game was all that intimidating (not until the last few minutes of the game, anyway). In fact, there was a time where I knew I could yell something (being 14 rows up even) and someone on the far side of the ice could have heard me. There are plenty of instances where the fans are quiet and not that rowdy at all. It's not the first time I have recognized this at a live game at GM Place. When listening to the game on t.v. I had the same thoughts, and wondered if it was just the sound equipment placement.
GM Place is no Air Canada Center. And it is definitely no Bell Center either. I have been to a Habs game in Montreal and the fans there are much more into the game vocally. Now that place is intimidating to play in.
So, what gives Vancouver?
Does everyone have to get drunk to come out of their shells? What is the cause of this quiet atmosphere in between goals and fights?
I asked several people in Vancouver about this and every person had a different opinion.
One was that there are so many corporates hanging out there because they hold so many of the tickets and that "suits" are lame.
Another person mentioned that many of these season-ticket holders give their tickets away to people who don't follow hockey, thus dulling the atmosphere. I say BS to that.
One person mentioned the many different cultures in the place and how many of these races have not been Canucks fans for all that long because they have not lived here that long. Huh...
I really don't understand it. Is it because Canucks fans lack faith in their team? Are they waiting for a collapse? Are they just more quietly observant and more laid back?
Oh, another one I heard: That people are polite and don't want to disrupt the experience of those around them.
What are your thoughts on this?
I can almost understand the "respect your neighbors" part, because I felt that pressure to be that way. But the more drinks I had, the less I gave a damn. And I believe that not giving a damn is the right approach.
There is a #7 banner hanging up in the rafters and for what?
I saw one section trying to get a wave going and it must have taken them over 5 tries. Only the fans in the cheap seats were riding Osgood. Clapping mostly occurred when Fin banged that drum. Even that was lame.
GM Place is a graveyard a lot of the time, and it really is not all that intimidating. In my opinion, we need more fans going home with sore throats because they have been yelling, whether it be cheers or jeers. Only then is the home of the Canucks going to arise from the dead.
To those of you who get loud at games, bless your hearts and keep it up. To all you drab couch potato-types: get off your asses a little more often and make some noise.

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At November 26, 2008 at 9:28 p.m. , Blogger Steve said...

The idea of the 7th man is taken from European Soccer where the home crowd is often called the "12th man". Unfortunately from what I have seen, many fans here think of going to a game as a hobby.

Fans in a place like the UK treat their team like a religion. I watch EPL often and when you have 70,000+ fans all singing "Glory glory Man United" and other songs together in unison, it would be a truly frightening place for opposition teams to play. A few years ago in Cuba I ran into a group of Celtic fans in a sports bar, and they were fanatically devoted to their team. In the Caribbean heat, they each had on their green and white scarfs and for hours talked about nothing else except their team. It would not matter how much Celtic could of lost by in their last game, they would stand by their team with as much faith as ever.

Unfortunately many Canucks fans I have talked with, especially ones living in Vancouver, are very pessimistic and seem to wait for Vancouver to lose games just so they fan say "I told you they would screw up again." Not all Vancouver fans are like that, but probably half I talk to seem to be. Maybe I just hit some of the more pessimistic ones.

I think a lot of the problem is a lack of faith and passion, though I can't see why. Everyone should be proud to support their team no matter what. Maybe the Canucks should hire some shit disturbers and place them in different sections to get the home crowd riled up, but something should be done if they want to be proud about that #7 hanging.

At November 26, 2008 at 10:52 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Thanks for that Steve. I was thinking of soccer fans, as well as Leaf and Hab fans as a comparison when I wrote the post. Soccer fans are just insanely passionate and I respect that.
I agree with what you said about a fair amount of Canucks fans being pessimistic as I have met a fair bit of them as well. But team has shut up the critics and are 17-6-2!!
In some ways, I can understand why fans are cautious. They have endured a lot of hardships over their teams' history. At the same time, there are 2 Cup Finals to have pride in and plenty of other great moments. Leaf fans have endured more shit yet the fans still keep the ACC rockin'.
Personally, I am a hockey addict. When I cheer for a team it's all or nothing. Not everyone is like that I know. But there are so many reasons to be loud and have a great time at the game, especially if you paid over $100 for the tickets.
I like your idea of having shit disturbers tactfully placed around the arena. Fin can't do it all by himself :)
I will say that I saw a lot more passion in the streets and bars of Vancouver after the game than I did during the game! That could be the booze taking effect...
The #7 idea was a joke for the most part, IMO. It was something thrust on the unsuspecting fans by the organization. Even the delivery on that night it was introduced was pretty sad.

Maybe the team needs another Bure-calibre player out there to get them on their feet more often.
There are so many possible answers to this aren't there?

At November 26, 2008 at 10:55 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Correction: the Nucks are 14-6-2.

At November 27, 2008 at 10:17 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be a dick, but to Steve, the "12th Man" actually started with the Texas A&M football team.

At November 28, 2008 at 12:26 p.m. , Anonymous Kyle said...

Personally, I just can't get overly amped for the bottomless pit of games that the NHL pukes out at us. I know "every point counts" but come on...the first 4 months of the NHL sched are like the first half of a basketball game - they don't matter unless you are WAAY out of the running. I don't expect that the Canucks will be buried come March, so in the meantime I'll root for my boys, wear my jerseys around town and be loud and proud at the 3 games here in Calgary. But for rowdy, uncontained, over-the-top excitement....wake me when the playoffs start.

And hey, don't get too upset - it's not exactly intimidating at the Saddledome either.

At November 30, 2008 at 6:53 p.m. , Blogger Jenny said...

i go to games, i yell, and i get told to shut up...........

of course i dont listen, but seriously..... its a hockey game we are supposed to cheer !

At December 1, 2008 at 1:34 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Kyle: Really? I thought the Albertans were way more crazy than us! Oilers and Flames games sound noisier on tv I thought...

Jenny: Stay loud! Good for you! Tell those people to can it!


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.