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Vancouver is saved: Newlywed couple gives Pope Francis a Canucks jersey


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Well done Clay, well done.


At some point, you have to wonder if the Canucks’ championship drought — which has been going in since their inception, so even calling it a drought is optimistic; maybe it simply doesn’t rain on this planet — is too deeply-rooted for guys like Willie Desjardins and Jim Benning to end it on their own.

Maybe the job calls for someone more… connected. Someone with a direct line to the man upstairs, and I don’t mean Trevor Linden. I mean God. Sure, you could argue that God stays as far away from professional sports as he can, which might explain why the Patriots won the Super Bowl, or why the devil only just yesterday resigned as president of FIFA, but the Canucks need all the help they can get. Can we afford to rule out the Lord of Lords?

Especially now that he’s on our side. We got Pope Francis, you guys.


(Pope Francis joins an illustrious group of celebrity Canucks supporters that includes Pamela Anderson and Raffi.)

The happy couple in the above photo are the newly-wedded Joseph and Marion San Jose. (Don’t let their last name fool you — they support Vancouver.) They got married Saturday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Richmond, and just before heading off to a honeymoon in Europe with a stop in Rome to, hopefully, receive a blessing from Pope Francis, they were given a gift by their good friend Clay Imoo, who you might know as a blogger and musical parodist at Canucks Hockey Blog and Vancity Buzz.

The gift? The no. 15 Pope Francis jersey you see above.

The hockey sweater would be Joseph and Marion’s gift to His Holiness as they sought the blessing that the Pope gives to newlywed couples, as explained here:

Typically, when couples go seeking this blessing, they bring a gift. According to Imoo, Canadian couples usually bring kitschy Canadiana and maple syrup. But the San Joses are devout Canucks fans in addition to being a devout Catholics, so a sweater makes more sense. Plus the Pope probably has enough maple syrup. And a Canucks car flag would be no good, since the Popemobile’s been out of service for a year. (“At my age,” said the pope, in ditching in the bulletproof car, “I haven’t got much to lose.” Pope Francis is the funniest pope sincePope Hilarius.)

To qualify as a newlywed couples (sposi novelli), couples must be married within 2 months of the audience they wish to attend, carrying with them a copy of the Sacramental Marriage Certificate signed by their priest, and wearing their wedding attire.

The Holy Father will bless them for a happy wedded life when he gives his general blessing at the conclusion of the Papal audience.

I asked Imoo how he came to select no. 15 for Pope Francis.

“There two other options,” he explained. “One of them was number one, because he’s the first Pope Francis, but then I actually thought about [Roberto] Luongo, and I thought… well, what about the succession of popes? What number is he? It’s 266. But I’ve never seen a three-digit number on a jersey, so we went with 15 because of the year.”

It helps that there’s no Roberto Luongo types camped out on the number. It’s practically a vacant number in Canucks history, as noted by Wyatt Arndt last fall. ”No. 15 is like a who’s who of disappointing Canucks players,” Arndt wrote. “Brent Ashton, Jim Dowd, Dave Gagner, Drake Berehowsky… They’re all on the list.”

But now it’s a list that includes Pope Francis, so move over, Drake Derehowsky!


From Joseph’s Facebook page:

After walking through the streets of Rome with
wearing her wedding dress, hearing kind words and congratulations from tourists and locals all around, sitting for 5 hours in the sun and meeting couples from Buffalo, Melbourne, WE DID IT. WE MET POPE FRANCIS. He reached for my hand and I shook it, and I gave him his specially made
Pope Francis #15 jersey courtesy of our friend and wedding MC
(you should hire him), and this was our conversation:

JOE: For you, Papa Francesco!

POPE FRANCIS: Ah, you are from Vancouver!

MARION: (in broken but lovingly attempted Spanish) It’s our hockey team!

POPE FRANCIS: Yes, hockey!

He then blessed us and walked away.

Yes, hockey!

Okay, so Pope Francis doesn’t seem particularly knowledgeable about the sport, but no matter, because HE BLESSED THEM AND THE JERSEY WAS THERE. That means the Canucks jersey got some residual blessing for sure. At the very least, the Canucks going to have a happy marriage.


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