[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan. If you're interested in being featured in "Shooting from the Hip", send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]
Aaron Gnome is, well, a garden gnome. Made in China, he immigrated to Vancouver in a packing crate and somehow along the way developed sentient qualities. After coming here he became a huge Canuck fan and that love, combined with a garden gnome’s innate love of travel, led to AG’s first ‘road trip of a lifetime’ this past December. Aaron and six friends travelled to California where they watched the Canucks play in Anaheim and LA. To share his joy of the Canucks and travel, and because frankly his ego is much larger than he is, Aaron decided to create a twitter account before the trip – @AaronGnome29. Since returning he has continued to use the account to share his musings with his growing number of adoring fans. What makes AG unique, other than the fact that he is a talking gnome, is that he often speaks in the third person.
Aaron Gnome took some time between tweets to talk California, Aaron Rome, and some potential Canucks’ trade deadline targets.
1. What were your most memorable moments from your December trip to California? Did you ever fear for your safety?
Aaron Gnome’s trip to California was a phe-gnome-enal experience! So many memories. We took in two games, Anaheim and LA. Both were memorable and cool in their own right. At the Ducks game, there were some very friendly and knowledgeable Ducks season ticket holders sitting behind us – they do exist! The game was a little anti-climactic, with the Ducks putting up very little fight. Obviously, the Ducks players were discouraged by the fact that there was more blue and white in the stands than green and black. The postgame celebration with the countless Canucks fans in attendance was gi-gnome-ous!
The LA game was a whole different experience. Though Canucks fans dominated the nearby Yard House restaurant/bar – AG highly recommends it – the Staples Centre was full of hostile Kings fans. Props to the Kings fans for their passion. Intimidation was definitely a theme on the night. On the ice the Kings took the game to the Canucks physically, and in the stands, Bailey, the King’s mascot, beat up stuffed Sedin dolls and generally encouraged the fans to verbally berate the visitors on and off the ice. Was Aaron Gnome afraid for his safety? Aaron Gnome is not afraid of anyone or anything. He is the Tiger Williams of the Gnome world. As a side note, AG is sometimes referred to as “the Little Chuck Gnorris”. Anyway, the Canucks didn’t put on a great show for the fans in LA, but the production value in the arena was very high, the atmosphere was like a playoff game, and it was still a memorable experience.
Away from the rink there were a number of highlights. Disneyland was great, especially getting to see my gnomies on ‘It’s a Small World’. At Six flags, we had some issues with height requirements. I thought we had put that kind of discrimination behind us, but apparently California isn’t quite as progressive as Canada. And of course AG is a hit with the ladies everywhere he goes, and California was no different.
2. How excited are you that Aaron Rome has returned to the line-up? Do you still see Norris Trophy potential in Aaron Rome?
It’s great to see Big Poppy Rome in the line up again. The man is just an absolute rock back there on the blue line. (Editorial note: Aaron Gnome later explained to me that being called a rock by a garden Gnome is one of the greatest compliments a man can get.) Do I see Norris trophy potential in the big guy? Is water wet? Does Max Lapierre talk a lot? Do the Sedins have telepathic abilities? Please! The single greatest injustice this NHL season is that Aaron Rome was not picked to go to the All Star game.
3. Do you think the Canucks will be/need to be active at the trading deadline? If so, how?
The Canucks are a great hockey team. This is basically the same team that got within one game last year and they are just as capable of doing it this year. I think Cody Hodgson is slowly becoming a star and he could be a difference maker for us in the playoffs. I mean, anyone with a silent G in their name is going to be pretty special. The loss of the Hoff hurts us, but between Tanev’s coolness and Sulzer’s German-ness, I think we’re going to be fine on D. As a little guy himself, Aaron Gnome is a big fan of some of the smaller players, and I think Keith Ballard is eventually going to redeem himself to AV.
As for a trade, I would kill to see Shea Weber in a Canucks jersey, but realistically we’d have to give up too much to get him. I think we’ll end up getting a little bit of depth on D and adding some grit up front. Whether that comes through a trade, or the free agent signing of a feisty, undersized, winger with a long white beard, I’m not sure.
4. Who are some of your other favourite players? Or your biggest rivals?
Aaron Gnome has several rivals around the league. JeGnome Iginla is first on the list. The Flames may not be the Canucks’ biggest rival at the moment, but the hatred still burns. Scott Gnomez used to be a rival, but AG recently received an invitation to the party to honour the one-year anniversary of the last time Gnomez scored a goal, so “Rival” is probably a bit strong. Signome Gagne would be if he could stay healthy. Oh, and of course the natural enemy of all garden gnomes is the rat, so Brad “Nose Face” Marchand is close to Iginla at the top of the list.
Other favourite players? Other than Rome and Coho, Steamer was the man when I was growing up. I’m also a fan of Andrew Ebbett and I think Jordan Schroeder is going to be a real player one day. Basically if they’re under 6 feet tall and in the Canuck organization, Aaron Gnome is a fan. Don’t even get me started on Steve Kariya!
5. Why should people follow you on Twitter?
Well, Clay, I think that’s obvious. Everyone should be following @AaronGnome29 on Twitter because Aaron Gnome offers the best Canucks commentary from a gnome that you will find. No one else can give you hard hitting opinions, gnome-related puns, deep hockey insight and irreverent, trivial banter all from the perspective of a well travelled garden gnome.