For some, it was a sense of numbness. For others, utter despair.
While a few admitted to feeling indifference Sunday evening, they were likely in the minority, as the Vancouver Canucks – champions in regular-season play for the second year in a row – failed to get past the eighth-seeded L.A. Kings in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, thus bringing disappointment to fans in their city, in their province and beyond.
But there is another emotion being felt by some who merely profess to being fans of the team – a more corporate feeling associated with lost opportunity and, in many cases, lost money.
The race for the Stanley Cup can certainly be lucrative for business. Bars, restaurants, transportation and broadcasters all make their fair share when our home team delivers their fans, and last year’s long post-season run – which did not end until mid-June – no doubt helped fill the coffers.
The media, as a whole, tends to sideline the news that’s more expensive to gather, focusing often meager resources instead on an easy-to-cover topic that guarantees an audience with far less effort. (Controversial newsmakers, too, will feel the pang – we’re talking to you, premier, and you, TransLink – as the spotlight returns to them instead of on our more popular pastime.)
The roar of corporate fandom might tend to obscure that of the true fans of the team during the lead-up to the playoffs, but, now that hopes have been dashed, it’s those who remain steadfast and devoted – despite any losses along the way – who will be rewarded most in subsequent seasons.
And if and when our home team does finally bring home the Stanley Cup – whether next year or, perhaps, the one after that – these are the fans whose cheers will be most heartfelt.
For others, Stanley Cup fever isn’t really about the game, or about standing by the team come thick or thin. Rather, it’s the type of fever that only really surfaces for all to see during the playoffs, when it appears the hometown boys may be in there with a chance – the kind of fair-weather support that’s often too fickle to be worthy of the name.
We are all Canucks? Hardly.
Only those who act as fans in defeat will truly be Canucks in victory.