I've read a lot of stories over the last week or so about how the Vancouver Canucks are Canada's team, and they need to beat the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final this year because Canada hasn't won the Cup since 1993. And I've also read stories about how if you're not a Canucks fan, you can't root for them, even though they're Canadian.
But in just about every one of these stories, I've just been reading a lot of writer opinion. Some guy who works for the Ottawa Sun (or whatever) thinks you can't root for the Canucks if you're a Sens fan. Has anybody actually asked the fans?
Well, I reached out to some of our bloggers from around SB Nation, and quite simply, I'm going to publish their feelings on the potential of the Vancouver Canucks bringing the Stanley Cup "home" to Canada for the first time in 18 years.
We'll start with Kevin van Steendelaar, who runs things over at our Canadiens blog, Habs Eyes On The Prize.
The sport of hockey has always been considered the Canadian game. So seeing the Cup raised by a Canadian based NHL franchise is usually a positive one. Given there are only six NHL markets north of the border, it further strengthens a national pride mentality. Exceptions may be the die-hard Calgary Flames cheering for the Oilers, or Leafs fans routing for the Montreal Canadiens/vice versa.
It does have counter reaction that the competing US-based team may have more actual Canadian players on it's roster than the one in Canada.
The Canucks have made the Stanley Cup Final twice in their 40+ years in the NHL. Both those times came off years where the team did not have high expectations in the regular season. This season, they were one of the most dominant in the league. Aftert battling some diversity in Round One, they are certainly ready to go that final stretch.
With the City of Vancouver coming off a great Olympic year in 2010, adding a Cup parade this June only seems to be the icing on the cake.
Of course, it's easy when your team has won a bagillion Cups and no other franchise will ever match your total. What about fans of teams that have never (at least, not in modern NHL history) won the Stanley Cup?
There is a lot of sentiment through the country about how Canadians should rally around any Canadian teams left to 'bring the Cup back to Canada', but personally, I'm not all that into it. Really, the Cup comes to Canada every summer, because every team (Canadian- and American-based alike) has a good number of Canadians on their roster, and those players bring the Cup to their hometown.
But I'm still cheering for the Canucks. I'd be a lot more interested in tuning in to a Cup parade in Canada than I would an American one, so I guess I am cheering for the 'Nucks at least in part because they're a Canadian team. But I'd also sooner cheer for Vancouver than Boston (a divisional rival) or Tampa (an expansion-year rival who's already got one more Cup than the Senators).
Alright, so various reasoning there. Not so much "because they're Canadian!!!11", but instead some more logical reasoning. They're playing a division rival, and it'd be cool to see the passion of Vancouver in victory, of which being Canadian is more consequence than reasoning.
Let's hear from one more Canadian hockey fan. Here's Hayley Mutch from our Flames blog, Matchsticks & Gasoline.
The whole 'bringing the Cup back to Canada' thing will never cease to baffle me. Why would cheer for a team whom you don't normally support (or in my case, as a Flames fan, openly detest) to win hockey's greatest prize simply because they hail from the same enormous land mass you call home? The Stanley Cup and its replicas reside in Toronto year-round at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
If a Canadian team had won the Cup every season for eighteen years, would Flyers fans be cheering for the Penguins to bring Lord Stanley's mug back to the US? Would Pittsburgh then become "America's team?" Maybe it's just because I cheer for a team in the same division as the Canucks and have been conditioned to hate everything about the organization and its arrogant, self-entitled fans, but I couldn't care less about the Cup coming back to Canada when over 50 percent of the players in this league are still Canadian and you know one of your countrymen is going to lift the trophy above his head in mid-June one way or another.
I cheer for the players I like and/or the team I find entertaining unless I have a legitimate rooting interest -- and this season, that interest is seeing the Sedin twins cry into their Swedish meatballs after a crushing defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
I don't think we can really wrap one big bow around this little debate here and say that all Canadians want the Canucks to win the Cup or anything. Not that anybody is saying exactly that, but if the Canucks do win the Stanley Cup this June, we'll hear a lot about how Lord Stanley is coming home to Canada.
From the mouths of some Canadian hockey fans, that's a sentiment worth celebrating. For others, it's vomit-worthy.
The Stanley Cup Finals kick off Wednesday in Vancouver, as the Canucks host the Boston Bruins. For coverage on the Finals, stick with our Stanley Cup Finals hub, our Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.