<table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>I feel that sometimes it's difficult to establish any sort of meaningful connection with you, the reader. I mean sure, I've received several emails from people telling me that my words have touched them on an emotional level they never knew existed, but until I can personally reach out and touch every one of you, a part of me remains unfulfilled. Seeing as how Christmas is fast approaching, I thought I'd give you the best gift of all: a piece of me. Specifically, a brief, but totally-true tale of how the Canucks and I found each other.
I'll be perfectly honest, hockey wasn't even on my radar until about 2001. Up until that point, basketball was my world. Like so many, I was swept up in what could only be described as a hurricane-coated tsunami sweeping through the city: Big Country Reeves and his Vancouver Grizzlies. In what English professors refer to as "foreshadowing," I was writing a Grizzlies blog before the term "blog" even existed. Granted, it was mostly in the form of entries in a journal I had entitled "Hopes and Dreams vol. 3," but the basic bone structure was there. I even had a haircut like Big Country - I had originally asked the student barber for my usual Caesar cut (extra spikes in the front), but due to a little bit of fate and the shaky hand of an angel named Cindi, the end result closely resembled the patchy coiffe of my hero. Basketball had captured my heart and two of my three kidneys.
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But I digress.
The first Canuck game I ever attended was entirely by accident. On April 18th, 2001, the Grizzlies played their final game before being moved to Memphis. As the team was out of town, I traveled down to GM Place to inquire as to whether it might be possible to purchase a piece - a brick, or perhaps even a seat - of the soon-to-be demolished arena (I had naturally assumed that the building would be torn down as it had been rendered useless). Much to my surprise, instead of finding bulldozers and men in construction helmets pointing at things, the arena was alive with excitement. The "Canucks" - an upstart ice-hockey team - were playing the Colorado "Avalanche" in game four of their first-round playoff series. After a rather chance encounter with a delightful gentleman who serendipitously happened to be selling a ticket to that very game, I was transported into a world of ice and magic. And despite my ardent proclamations in the past that nothing on ice would ever come close to the excitement and beauty of IceCapades Presents: Tron, the display I saw that night came dangerously close.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche02_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche02_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>I was swept off of my feet like a manly princess, as the ice-hockey stars below plied their craft on a sheet of ice that glistened glow-beams right into the part of my brain that responded favourably to shiny things. Pat Kavanagh, back to Drake Berehowsky, over to Jason Strudwick! Icing! It was breathtaking.
The broken shards of my heart, lying cold and brittle on the floor of my heart cavity, were quickly being mended by the steady hands and infectious smile of Denis Pederson. I vividly recall writing in Hopes and Dreams vol. 7 that finding the Canucks had to be more than Scott La"chance" (I was going through a rather difficult phase in which name puns amused me to no end). It was kismet.
As fan favourites like Pat Kavanagh and Greg Hawgood left for presumably greener pastures, new faces rose up and filled the void. Before long, the bald patches on my head had grown out, and the Grizzlies were nothing but a distant memory - like a relative you saw on a fairly regular basis until they moved to Memphis.
The Canucks were, and remain, an all-consuming force in my life. Dr. Hand, my therapist, says that I project the team's successes and failures upon my own psyche, but since they're coming off of a 5-0 shutout of the Devils, I'm too happy to care.
Merry Christmas everyone.