Oct 252012
 

I met Matthew Hawkins through the Ultimate Canucks Fan Contest back in 2007.  Since then we’ve become fast friends sharing mutual interests of family (our own and not each other’s), video games, making videos and of course, the Vancouver Canucks.  Speaking of videos, here’s a Clay’s Canucks Commentary from last year where we talked more about the Ultimate Canucks Fan Contest.

It’s a year later and while there is no hockey (yet), I thought it would be a good time to check in with my buddy Matthew in my newest Shooting From the Hip.

In his own words:

Matthew (@matthewahawkins) resides in the horribly named town of Chilliwack, BC. He is a professional amateur adult rec hockey league player in the C division. His team doesn’t win much, but he plays for the money.

1.  Tell us about the Ultimate Canucks Fan contest and some of the videos you did for it.

Years ago I entered this crazy contest the Canucks put on called the Ultimate Canucks Fan contest. I never won anything out of it, but I did sell rights of one video to a studio in Halifax and I was on several news stations. People still don’t get that the Boston accent was a big joke and think there is something wrong with me. Here’s one of the videos.

2.       One of your most popular videos is a rap song called “I Just Pulled an Auger on You”.  Care to explain?

I don’t think this video started to get popular until Harrison Mooney, from Pass it to Bulis, made fun of it on his blog. Auger decided to retire from his illustrious career as an NHL official and my video fit in well to say farewell to the French Canadian referee. I know I can’t rap, at all, but I wanted to make a video of me being an idiot and I think I succeeded.

3.       What’s your general mood with respect to the NHL lockout?

To be honest, I haven’t followed it too closely. I do think the PA has some legitimate gripes and I think the owners are extremely stubborn, then you throw in Garry Bettman and who likes that guy? I have been finding my sports fix in the NFL this year. Still trying to find out what happened to Tebow?

I don’t like that there is a lockout. Saturday evenings seem so empty in our house. Hockey Night in Canada is one of our favorite nights as we hang out in front of the TV, play some living room hockey and try to understand what Kevin Weekes is saying. I’m not happy about the lockout, but all I can do is wait for them to figure it out.

4.       What’s your prediction of the date of the next NHL regular season game?

I think we’ll be lucky to see any hockey before Christmas. Maybe they’ll get the Winter Classic ready to go because that’s a big money maker and we can celebrate the anniversary of Sidney Crosby’s concussion. Both parties seem so far apart from each other, I don’t think hockey before Christmas is going to happen. I really wouldn’t be surprised if there is no season at all this year. So much for EA’s NHL 13 Moments Live feature…

5.       Where is Roberto Luongo going to end up once the lockout ends (whenever that may be)?

If this lockout keeps going, I think Luongo will have a gut from eating too many canollis. Maybe he’ll team up with Wellfed in Winnipeg?! In all honesty, I think Luongo will be going to Florida and maybe, just maybe, Toronto. For a little while there was rumor he may go to Chicago, which would make the feud between the two clubs even better, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I say Florida, his roots are there and he’s probably pushing for it to happen.

Oct 112012
 

@iam_canuck

On the day that the Vancouver Canucks were supposed to open their 2012-13 regular season in Calgary against the Flames, I check in with another two Canucks fans about their favourite and not-so-favourite players, preferred dinner guests and of course, the lockout.

Crystal (@iam_canuck) was born in Abbotsford, BC, and has hop-skipped around the western provinces (except Alberta) before settling where she currently resides in Winnipeg, MB.  She lives with her parents, sister, and her equally Canucks-crazed brother.  She started watching hockey in February 2010 (during the Vancouver Olympics!), and latched on to the Canucks since she was living in BC at the time.  Her secondary love is basketball and she has played it for longer than she can remember.  She’s living her dream of playing at the university level right now at Providence University College.  While playing ball, she’s studying Communications and Media and hopes to someday work in sports journalism or reporting (she would love to take over Derek Jory’s job).  Her other interests include rockin’ out to country music, hanging out with friends, and watching movies.

Dan (@vancitydan) is currently between professions, and open to new opportunities.  Born in Calgary, he moved to BC before four, and feels homesick without the purple mountains’ majesty about.  Having been schooled mainly in the classroom of life, Dan has worked in a variety of businesses as a manager, and truly enjoys helping people.  A lifelong photographer who went from making his living as one to being part of a team of professionals helping movie makers realize their creative visions.  While he first hit the ice in full Bobby Orr regalia at age four, Dan has been a Canuck fan since three years later, when the team joined the NHL in 1970.  He fully agrees that Dale Tallon got unfairly compared to Perreault, loved how Andre Boudria played, and still cannot fully understand how Vladimir Krutov went from one of the best power forwards in the world to a cautionary tale for overeating in one year.  Vive le Vancouver restaurants!  Currently one part of the team of many fine writers at NucksMisconduct.com.

1. Who is your favourite current Canuck and why?

Crystal:  I have struggled with this question forever.  When people ask me this, I usually rattle off my top 5 or 6, simply because I love them all.  But since I have to narrow it down, I tend to be drawn not only to the best players on the ice, but the guys with awesome personalities off the ice as well.  Having said that, Cory Schneider, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler are the main guys that spring to my mind.  Watching these guys do interviews are some of the most entertaining, hilarious moments of the season for me.

Dan:  My favourite Canuck is Kevin Bieksa both for his style of play and his talent, and because he’s one of the most community-oriented guys on the team. Plus, come on:  he is obviously one of the funniest and toughest guys on the team, no matter what that punk Vern Fiddler says!

2. Which Canuck would you not miss if he wasn’t on the team? Why?

Crystal:  Dale Weise.  Hands down.  It’s not that I hate the guy; it’s just that I like him the least.  Okay, I kinda hate him.  It’s mainly because back when he had his Twitter (and wasn’t using it wisely), I made a harmless comment about him doing so.  He responded not-so-nicely to me.  Ever since then, I haven’t been so fond of #32.  There’s also the question of production for Weise.  He’s never been a prominent player.  Not even close to prominent actually.  He’s been… present.  That’s all I can say for him.

Dan:  I don’t want to answer that question, as it will make the guy I pick feel bad.  You have Mason Raymond who falls down too much and Keith Ballard who isn’t worth his cap hit.  I do think that Ballard would be better on another team where he would have more opportunity.  So, if I had to answer (and it sounds like I do), I would say Ballard should be traded somewhere where he’d get more ice time.

3. Who would you rather have dinner with: Alain Vigneault or Mike Gillis? Why?

Crystal:  Alain Vigneault.  I want to see if he chews gum throughout dinner as well.  No, seriously I’d like to pick his brain!  Last year the team had a lot of different line combinations (most of which didn’t work), so I want to hear the logic behind that from the man himself!  I also just would like to get to know him.  I feel like we know tons about the players, their families, etc., but AV is kind of in the background.  He’s a really funny guy who I think would be entertaining to talk to!  I also want to find out if he can impersonate Cory Schneider as well as Cory can impersonate him.

Dan:  Alain Vigneault.  Though I would enjoy hearing about the travails of coaching the team, I am almost as interested in hearing about his time as “Bam Bam” as a St Louis Blue.  As well, I want to hear what it’s like to have millions of British Columbians “couch coaching” your every move.

4. What’s your general mood with respect to the NHL lockout?

Crystal:  The regular season is supposed to be starting today, which really made me think (and cry).  I should be donning my jersey, getting super pumped for my Canucks to pummel the Calgary fLames on opening night in their arena.  But I’m not.  Which is sad, because all summer I was literally counting down the days to October 11.  One of the things I hate the most about this situation is the fact that the Canucks were supposed to be coming to Winnipeg on February 9, and my brother and I were going to go.  Now we can’t.  Stupid lockout.

Dan:  A growing indifference, tinged with the realization that I would probably come running back!  The NHL knows they have Canadians in their back pocket.  I do feel that even this Canadian is reaching his breaking point if there is some foolish reason for no season.  Grow up Gary!

5. What’s your prediction of the date of the next NHL regular season game?

Crystal:  Being the positive person I am, I don’t really want to say that I don’t think there will be a season at all this year.  So I won’t.  I’m hoping for a October 25 start, although you and I both know that won’t happen.  At the rate the NHL/NHLPA talks are going, I think the most realistic goal, as the great Wayne Gretzky has already predicted, is for the Winter Classic on January 1.  Until then, I guess I have evenings free to do schoolwork.  Ugh.

Dan:  Late November or early December.  The Winter Classic will be the impetus for a deal.  So, when the Canucks win the Cup next summer, the haters will talk about how it deserves an asterisk.  #EmbraceTheHate!

Sep 052012
 

As we look ahead to the possibility of an NHL lockout, I chatted with 3 Canucks fans about their feelings, their frustrations, and their outlook.

@Hockeys1stlady

Jolene (@Hockeys1stlady) is a Vancouver-born and Burnaby-raised gal that is head over heels in love with hockey. Jolene believes “the most amazing sport in the world” saved her life when she was going through a rough stretch in her early teens. Jolene currently gets paid to have fun on the radio in Vernon. That high time includes an NHL feature that runs during Vipers’ broadcasts on 1075 Kiss FM. Jolene also writes a blog for Hockeytube.net. When she isn’t being a hockey junkie, Jolene loves to paint, watch ‘Friends’ re-runs and explore the unknown.

Ian (@SirCanuckles) was born in Vancouver, studied at UBC for two degrees and is currently halfway done a professional admission course. He’s lived in Vancouver all the years of his life but one, which he spent toiling on exchange across the pond in the UK. As a Vancouver native, he’s had his heart consistently broken by the Canucks for over 20 years, and has a strong suspicion that his enduring loyalty evidences a dark, masochist side, of his personality.

@iskeets0ysauce

Jordan (@iskeets0ysauce) was born in Winnipeg and moved to BC in August 2008. He studied Aviation Management at The University Of North Dakota and is currently working in Food Services at Rogers Arena, He’s lived all over the place, including Winnipeg, Fargo (ND), Bismarck (ND), Grand Forks (ND), and East Grand Forks (MN). He’s an avid traveller and explorer and has a fond appreciation for new things (especially food)! He’s been a Canucks fan since 1996 and admits to having man-crushes on Teemu Selanne and Roberto Luongo.

1.  What’s one word that you would use to sum up your feelings on this negotiation process or your hopes for an NHL season? Why do you feel this way?

Jolene: Absolutelyfrustratingandutterlydepressing. That’s one word, right? I can’t do another year where the only thing close to watching NHL hockey is a Swedish Elite League game featuring the Linköpings Hockey Club. There are some days the only thing I look forward to is sitting down with some munchies and enjoying a game. I guess you can call it my lifeline.

Ian: As I attempted to answer this question the first time I heard it, I moved through several words and similar words. “Cynical” really felt appropriate for a while, but it feels like it’s missing something important in all of this. Really, my feelings on this are perfectly encapsulated by a sarcastic “Whatever.” Yeah, I’ll miss NHL Hockey. I love the excitement, thrill and ultimate disappointment that comes with being an NHL fan in Vancouver. But I don’t really believe most of what’s being said, I don’t really think that the most vulnerable parties in this dispute are being looked after, and I don’t really think the fans are foremost on anybody’s minds either. Whenever I hear about how “the current system is unsustainable” or how we’re “the best fans in the world”, I think to myself, “Whatever.” I really can’t believe any of that. Nor do I believe things will change all that much. I honestly couldn’t care less how either party, or some in the media try to spin it; this dispute is about two relatively select and closed groups battling over how to split an enormous amount of money, the likes of which you and I will likely never see in our lifetime. Good for them, I guess. Just let me know when it’s done.

Jordan: Teeter-Totter (yes, from the playground). You have both the NHL and the NHLPA sitting on either end, trying to balance things out, but alas they try to slant it their respective ways. It actually saddens me that the negotiation process, while necessary, is taking forever and that it only revolves around the almighty dollar, instead of the pure love of the game (which is what made us all fans).

2.  Whose side are you on (if you were forced to pick one)?

Jolene: The Fans! Gary Bettman has been known to make the American audience his top priority. I’m sure the wheel in his head often squeaks, “How can I put more butts in those seats?” Well Bettman, another lockout isn’t going to help you build your dream world. What will happen is thousands of people that have just started to get into the game, will be nowhere to be found when things start back up. Our society can hold some pretty good grudges. In the end, it’s the fans that will suffer.

Ian: Since this appears to be a Bush-ian “You’re either with us or you’re against us” question, I guess the NHLPA. I come down on the side of the party which was not publically willing to casually deprive me of the entertainment and joy said groups provide me for the sake of a few more dollars, of which they already have plenty of. But honestly, I’m not nearly that concerned about the players. My sentiment is more of a frustration directed towards the owners, than sympathy expressed to the players. An alliance of convenience, I suppose.

Jordan: Definitely with the NHLPA on this one. I get the overall vibe that they just want to play (and we want to watch them). Whereas the NHL is about getting the bigger share of the revenues; as if they didn’t have enough!

3.  What’s your prediction of the date of the next NHL regular season game?

Jolene: I’d love to say on time after reading Ron MacLean’s recent article, but I have a hard time believing all their issues will be resolved in a week. Money runs the world, and this game now. It’s so unfair. The NHL used to be more about passion, and love for the sport and less about “how much coin can I get?” So, the players may return just in time for Christmas, or possibly in 2013. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were forced to wait until 2021.

Ian: Don’t underestimate the power of greed. I think we see hockey by the beginning of December. This way, the owners get to cash in on the marketing and publicity orgasm that is the Winter Classic. Also, while most Canadians and die-hard American fans won’t drop their loyalty, the NHL does risk doing damage to its brand in the US to the casual fan the more it drags this out. Two missed seasons within a decade because of labour problems? As if the escalating severity of injuries wasn’t bad enough, the worse these problems get, the less likely the league converts casual fans who don’t give a rat’s donkey about a labour shortage into interested fans willing to watch lots of games, pay for subscriptions and paraphernalia and go to games.

Jordan: Sadly I have no guess…it’s too hard to tell. If I had to guess however, I would say mid-October so we get as much hockey as possible. I would hope it’s no longer than January.

4.  If there is indeed a lockout, what are you going to do with the time you would have spent been watching hockey?

Jolene: Maybe get a life, yeah? I’ll take up more activities like building bunk beds and creating videos for Prestige Worldwide. I have some super old games on VHS too, so I might watch those a couple of times a week. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Ian: I’ll get by for sure. I’ve been watching the Canucks for decades now. Again, three work stoppages and life didn’t end before. In fact I might even get more work done, as on game days I won’t have to be home before puck drop.

Jordan: Without hockey I might have to work (insert tears here)! When the last lockout happened, I was just a padawan learner. This time, I will likely travel. There are a few places that I’ve been itching to see/explore …especially Anaheim, CA (home to my 2nd favourite team – The Anaheim Ducks)!

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