A Hunch about Lunch

One of the most important communities in daily life is the work community. What do I look for in a workplace community? Well, there are a few key factors, but the latest to be added to my wish list is ‘a place where people eat lunch”.

Sharing a meal is one of the most powerful ways to build community and being “a place where people eat lunch” can benefit a workplace both culturally and in terms of productivity. Unfortunately, I have been noticing a major absence of shared meals in my working life and have heard this same thing echoed among many of my peers. I’m starting to think I’m going to have to move to Europe to locate this appreciation for the mid-day meal.

North American Culture prides itself on hard work and ambition. Michael Pollan, in his book, In Defense of Food; An Eater’s Manifesto, suggests that as an effect of this ideology, North American’s view food as merely utilitarian fuel rather than something to be enjoyed for it’s own sake. He brings up several examples of the stark difference between North American attitudes to food as compared to European attitudes the most striking example given is a comparison where American and French people are shown a picture of a piece of chocolate cake and asked what word it brings to mind. The most common American reaction is “guilt” while the most common French reaction is “celebration”!

Perhaps it can be chalked up to the fact that I was raised with a European attitude towards food, but I do not believe that eating a protein bar at my desk can be classified as lunch. Nor do I believe that it can have any long-term benefits to my employer or my career. I can see some very real and lasting benefits however, in taking a ½ hour to share a meal with my co-workers.

Sharing a meal is the fastest way to establish shared experiences, which are the building blocks of community. With strong community comes creativity because two heads really are better than one (and all heads are significantly more powerful when they receive more than just caffeine as a stimulus).  Creativity can invigorate a workplace and make its entire workforce more productive and motivated in all of their working hours.

Each of these outcomes produces more powerful benefits than that extra ½ hour in front of the computer and these are just a few of the benefits to be had when you turn your work place into a place where people eat lunch. If you aren’t lucky enough to work in one of these places already, why don’t you try something new for lunch today?

Canucks Fans: relax, everything will be okay

Matthew Grapengieser / flickr

At approximately 8:22pm (PST) last night, Jordan Stoll ended what can only be described as a strangely unimpressive playoff run by the Vancouver Canucks. Around British Columbia (and nowhere else because, well, everybody hates the Canucks and their fans) folks are waking up, again, to hockey disappointment – albeit of a different variety than last year’s riotous exit from the playoffs.

And everything is going to be okay. After all, Vancouver is one of the best places on Earth to spend your summer. So, with your time freed up thanks to our city’s under-performing hockey team, here are three ideas for you to consider as you strive to fill the void in your calendar (and possibly your soul) between now next season.

1. Go play outside. Whether you want to make your balcony more sustainable, community-garden, play some delightful disc golf, go camping, ride your bike, occupy a public space, or, for the semi-non-creative, drink on a patio instead of next to a giant screen, there are more than a million fun things to do outside on the West Coast.

2. Volunteer your time. Watching (approximately) three hockey games per week from now until the middle of June (when the Stanley Cup Finals take place) could’ve taken up almost 20-hours of your life per week. [Editor's note: the math is pretty simple - one hour for preparation/travel for/to the game, three hours to watch the actual game, 30-45 minutes to reflect on the experience and possibly cry for joy/sorrow, one or two hours of lost productivity the next day because of post-game stress and consequential fatigue]. Think about spending your 20 free hours providing some service to your community – after all, giving back feels great.

3. Watch Game of Thrones. Not into the whole “being active” or “being helpful” thing? Well, I’ve got strategies for that, too. The HBO series Game of Thrones is a beautiful fusion of The Sopranos and Lord of the Rings. And, like hockey, Game of Thrones involves dynasties competing for dominance in a “game” that is underscored by the philosophy that the “players” either win or die. Needless to say, this option will keep you out of the Sun, creatively engaged and, well, it will utilize your superawesome entertainment unit to most of its potential.

So there it is (or “there they are”). Three foolproof ideas that will help you move-on from the Canucks’ early exit while simultaneously building community in a positive way.

Have fun with it.

Mindcheck Builds Community Around Mental Health Awareness

Courtesy of Whitegadget.com

Former Vancouver Canuck, Rick Rypien, stuggled against depression for years, and sadly passed away in August 2011. The NHLer was touted as a “a quiet hero” who “confided in those he knew best of his plans to support others and help alleviate the stigma associated with mental illness by being a spokesperson of the ordeals of the disease.” Those who knew him best, like Kevin Bieksa, have committed to tell his story and carry out the mission as a legacy of their friend.

As told above by Bieksa (who, incidentally, blocks shots with his sprawling body because he’s awesome), Rick’s tragic passing has galvanized the Vancouver Canucks community to speak out about mental health issues, which has resulted in the incredibly powerful mindcheck.ca‘s recently launched initiative called In One Voice.

Mental health and substance use challenges affect our community each and every day. So, if you know someone who is silently suffering, please speak up about it. Here are some facts that make the case:

  • Mental health and substance use disorders are the primary health issues experienced by young people in their teen years and early 20s. In fact, one in five youth in BC will experience a mental health or substance use disorder serious enough to cause significant distress and impair their ability to function at home, at school and with their peers.
  • Often early symptoms or behaviours are mislabeled as being just a phase or part of an individual’s personality. In addition, youth and young adults are often embarrassed to talk about or seek support for how they’re feeling or what they’re experiencing due to stigma.
  • 75% of mental health and substance use issues begin by age 24 and often go unrecognized and untreated. Mindcheck has been developed to connect youth and young adults to support early and quickly to prevent initial problems and challenges from developing into disorders. Support includes self-help resources, non-professional support, or established mental health services.
  • When issues are identified early, simple self-help strategies are often all that are needed to help young people get better in less time and can prevent things from becoming worse.

I believe in this idea and I spoke up because I’ve seen how mental health and substance use challenges can tear up families and communities – and it’s worse when we don’t talk about it. You can speak up by following this link. Here are some other reasons to believe in the idea:

  • Talking about and understanding mental health issues will eliminate the stigma that surrounds them.
  • Increasing knowledge about mental health issues will increase the likelihood that people will reach out for help.
  • When family and friends understand mental health issues, they will be able to recognize the behaviours associated with these issues and provide support.
  • According to the McCreary Centre Society’s 2008 Adolescent Health Survey Report, the vast majority of youth turn to their friends when they are seeking help. Among youth who sought support, they reported that advice from friends was even more helpful than advice from doctors, nurses, teachers or school counsellors.

Yes, the good people at Fraser Health, BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Provincial Health Services Authority, the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project, the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Canucks for Kids fund make a strong case for speaking up about mental health and substance challenges. Right, Kevin Bieksa?

Disgusted and Angry: The Stanley Cup Riot

Disgusted and angry is how many Vancouverites are feeling right now. Not about the hockey game, but rather the behavior of thousands of Metro Vancouverites in the riot that followed.

If you weren’t paying attention to the Stanley Cup playoffs yesterday and are wondering why all the windows of the Bay (as well as dozens of other stores in the downtown core) are now broken or boarded up with plywood, here’s what happened:

First, the Canucks suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of a grittier, harder-working team with an amazing goaltender. Boston is now the absolutely the greatest sports city in North America, with every pro-sports team winning a championship in the last five years. Daily Gumboot Correspondent, Mark Atkinson and I spent two weeks ribbing each other about the rivalry between the Bruins and Canucks and our two cities. We took shots at fans – I mentioned over and over the classless and prejudice behaviour of Boston fans more than a few times. I even suggested that it would be unruly Bostonians who rioted after they lost, not Vancouverites. But in the end, Boston – and their fans – won in every way last night.

Brock Anton - one of many assholes to stupid to understand his actions.

Vancouver, this riot wasn’t all of us – but it was many of us – and not enough people from our community did enough – or anything – to stop what happened and never needed to. Newscasters, our mayor and about 1.7 million people in the Twitterverse proclaimed deep into the night that “this was the work of a small number of people intent on starting trouble regardless of how the game ended.” Bullcrap. Thousands of drunken idiots hurled anything they could hurl, trashed buildings and got in fights. Many more stood as silent witnesses to the destruction, ignoring pleas from officials to vacate the downtown core. It’s always easier to act for an audience and thanks to the rioters’ traveling cheering section, there was always someone close-by to document their acts of vandalism and illegality and share it on Twitter and Facebook.

Post apocalyptic world or Downtown Vancouver after a Canucks game? You decide. - Photo courtesy of the National Post

Ultimately, the tens of thousands of other people from our community who hung out downtown well after the melee had begun, snapping pictures as if they were part of some adventure tourism experience, helped add a little more fuel to the fire. These people kept the mob mentality intact, gave looters and rioters places to hide from police, and – most importantly – occupied the Vancouver Police Department’s time.

Unbelievable. Disgusting. Embarrassing.

Second, there is the rest of the world. On behalf of the Daily Gumboot’s Vancouver Team – one of whom was tear gassed last night – we apologize to you for this reprehensible behaviour and we ask you to please believe that this kind of thing is not an accurate reflection of our city or the people in it. But every community is not without its alcohol-influenced-misguided-troublemakers, and a few of these people made their mark last night. The thousands of people who will show up today and volunteer their time to clean up this mess, let these people speak for the culture and spirit of Vancouver.

Finally, a friend of mine from high school posted the following line on Facebook last night; it’s something that Canadians should take to heart: “Useless violence and destruction. No one in this country takes action for things that matter, yet will destroy a downtown when a hockey team loses.” I’m one of the most positive and hopeful people that you’ll ever meet, but even I’m searching my soul right now. So must Vancouver.

Bruins vs. Canucks: Game 5

[Editor's note: John Horn and Mark Atkinson were friends at Bishop's University. But then Mark went to Nova Scotia and John moved to Vancouver. Sporadically, they kept in touch over the years, but - fortunately for you, the noble readers of the Daily Gumboot - their friendship has re-discovered itself thanks to hockey. More specifically thanks to the fact that Mark loves the Boston Bruins and John loves the Vancouver Canucks. Sure, after this series they can never be friends again. But the point is that you will benefit from their being nemesises nemeses nemesoulmates nemesi each others' worst enemy! GO SPORTS!]

Re-Cap of Before

Mark: That was more impressive than the 8-1 win. Marchand backing up his pestering by dropping the mitts, the fact that it was a shutout, and Tim Thomas actually chucking dukes instead of just body checking. Strolled into Boston Vancouver Pizza with the same crew as game 3, and got the same result (I might have to start paying for their drinks so they’ll keep coming, seems to be good luck). Everyone with half a brain knew Bobby Orr was coming out to kick off the game, but bringing out the Horton #18 flag just set the crowd, and apparently the team, into a frenzy! I knew then and there that this game was ours for the taking. I should offer congratulations to Henrik Sedin on finally getting a shot on goal in the finals, it only took him 9.5 periods, guess he leads by words and not example eh? 8 Mins left in the first and the guy who gets bumped up to replace Horton scores the first goal, I might have even peed a little when that happened. Canucks revert to there tried and true tactics of faking being hurt in the second period with Burrows and Sedin both embellishing a smack to the face, neither of which drew a call (ever read the boy who cried wolf?). Bruins score two and you know that with the way Timmy Thomas (we’re close, I call him Timmy) is playing that there is no coming back from 3-0 in one period. One more for good measure in the 3rd and the Canucks staff is thinking of bringing their golf clubs with them to Beantown on Monday.

John: The best team in the NHL is being beaten by a goalie and his minions of ragamuffin thugs. Not to mention said minions’ classless fans. The Canucks were beaten in every way on Wednesday. They were punished physically, emotionally and mentally – I mean, the way Marchand dusted off his hands as he skated by the Canucks’ bench after clothes-lining Erhoff and under-cutting Daniel was the kind of thuggery that happens when, first, a team can’t penalize said thug by making him pay on the power play and, second, this is what happens when a team can’t do the first thing or match physicality with physicality. Luongo was rightly chased from his goal – he let in some weak ones – but Keith Ballard and his brothers on the back line need to (and hopefully have been doing) some pretty serious soul searching. I loved how Ballard jumped on Marchand after his antics, but it was too little too late.

If one thing summarizes Game 4 it’s this: The Boston Bruins won every single battle for loose pucks.

This was unreal and is unacceptable.

Another unacceptable thing is that when Boston Bruins slash, punch, clothesline, taunt, slew-foot, hit-high. hit-late, run-the-goalie, and goon-it-up, the world calls it “old time hockey” – but when the Canucks to any of that – or fall down when they get hit in the face with a stick – it’s dirty or faking. You can’t have it both ways, world outside of Vancouver. The last unacceptable thing(s) I’ll mention are the ridiculous penalty calls on a Sedin (even I can’t remember which one) for slashing and Mason Raymond for hooking/slashing/cross-checking, whatever it was – utter crap. Also, goal number two came on a post-slew-foot turnover. Sure, Keith Ballard should’ve gotten the heck up and then not danced with Henrik Sedin next to the goal, but it was still a ridiculous non-call. At the end of the day, though, Vancouver needs to score on the power plays they have – six chances are more than enough to put Boston away.


Predictions: Game 5

John: I predict that Vancouver fans will be the worst. It’s already happening. The thing I like about your fans, Mark, is that they’re level of player loyalty is pretty high. From what I understand, no one was panicking during the Montreal or Tampa series – like, not the same way so many of Vancouver’s fans were freaking out during the Chicago series. Anyway, the people who are calling for Luongo’s head and yelling about the Sedins and Kessler need to know that this isn’t what the players need to hear right now. I predict that there will be an unfortunate air of nervousness and tension in Rogers Arena and this disappoints me to no end. Paying between $2,000-$6,200 for a ticket means that you should be yelling like it’s your last day on earth. Because, if fans don’t back the team, it very well could be.

But on to the game. The Sedins are going to be huge. And so is Chris Higgins. I don’t know if it’ll be the hits, the goals, the puck possession, or Daniel getting on Henrik’s shoulders and fighting Zdeno Chara. But something is going to happen and these players are going to play like the guys that got us here and not like dudes skating on terrible ice in an arena where the hate crimes were higher than the temperature…in Fahrenheit. I also think that Keith Ballard is going to be a difference maker. And that’s all I’ll say.

You look like you’ll fill out an XL Canucks t-shirt nicely, buddy. Have you been working out?

Final score: 4-1 Canuckleheads!


Mark: I’ve been bragging up home ice advantage for the past two games, and tonight is no different. I figure the Vancouver faithful will be out in full force and scream extra loud to show the boys in blue and white that they still love them. Too bad for them that they’ll be shut up by half way through the first period. We’re on too much of a roll right now. I haven’t seen the offense AND defense clicking like this all season long, it’s ridiculous. The Sedins, both of those aliens, aren’t doing jack squat, and Luongo is just bad, as voiced by the drunken Masshole below on the way home after the 8-1 drumming in game 3. Maybe he can do some head and shoulders ads in the off season with those pretty locks of his to supplement his income. If you guys score first, I’ll be back to sweating like I did during the first two games in Vancouver. If we get the lead at any point, even if we get the lead and Vancouver comes back to tie it up, we will still emerge victorious. Bruins 5-1. I said it, 5-1.


[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]

John: Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest, pal. Here, we have real ice. It helps our hockey players move like hockey players and not like oafs. Speaking of which, in order to deal with your fans and players, I’ve made some calls to some big characters from The Princess Bride who are ready to put your rabble in their collective place.

Seriously, though. Once we get back to hockey we’ll reveal Tim Thomas for what he is. A great goalie who played two great games and who is ripe for a fantastic error that will cost you kids the game. Oh, and the red light will light on more than one Canucks power play, my friend. Finally, you’re crappy ice gave your goonish, overachieving team a lot of lucky bounces. You’ve had your turn with luck, and now it’s ours. Remember I told you this when the first garbage goal finds its way past Timmy.

Good luck, good sir. You’re gonna need it. Boston Vancouver Pizza will be a place of celebration tonight!

Mark: Before last night’s Mavericks win, the Boston Bruins had more points in 24 hours than Lebron James (12-8). I said it after the first two games and I’ll say it again: You squeaked those first two wins out by the skin of your teeth. One with the clock ticking down and one in overtime, both by one goal. We embarrassed you so bad in games 3 and 4 that your grandchildren will wake up with nightmares. Luongo has about as much confidence in his game as Tiger Woods does right now, and you don’t just come back from a public shellacking like that with ease. Canucks keep diving, and we keep hitting. Not only are you not getting the calls any more, I would wager that someone on the Canucks gets an unsportsmanlike for faking being hurt at some point in the next two games. I’m heading to my hometown of Bridgewater tonight (think Merville on steroids), meaning I will be watching the game at a house party surrounded by friends and not one Canuck fan. That positive energy combined with the fact that a case of beer at home costs as much as 3 beer at the bar, will make me even more of a jerk during the game. I do not envy you John Horn, if you have to watch the game on Monday night knowing that you’re down 3-2 and heading to Boston because the garden is going to a literal zoo if that happens. Best of luck chummmmmmmmmp.

[Editor's note: Mark Atkinson is responsible for all swearwords associated with this blog post. His comparison of Bridgewater to Merville is also 92.5% accurate, even though he has never been to Merville. Well played, Mark].

Bruins vs. Canucks: Game 2

[Editor's note: John Horn and Mark Atkinson were friends at Bishop's University. But then Mark went to Nova Scotia and John moved to Vancouver. Sporadically, they kept in touch over the years, but - fortunately for you, the noble readers of the Daily Gumboot - their friendship has re-discovered itself thanks to hockey. More specifically thanks to the fact that Mark loves the Boston Bruins and John loves the Vancouver Canucks. Sure, after this series they can never be friends again. But the point is that you will benefit from their being nemesises nemeses nemesoulmates nemesi each others' worst enemy! GO SPORTS!]

Re-Cap of Before

John: A re-cap of before, you say? Well, the Sedins almost scored off the opening face-off and the Canucks didn’t really look back. In spite of Boston’s 117 power play minutes in the first period the team from Vancity perservered and powered through some semi-unreal goaltending by Timmy Thomas. Assisted by his giant beard, Raffi Torres won the game just as 74% of people in the Lower Mainland eased out of their chesterfields and prepared to make mad dashes to the bathroom. Oh, and Luongo got a shutout. No big deal. And Burrows might’ve bitten someone. Kind of a big deal, but not as big as the media is making it.

But images speak louder than words (except the words of Jim Hughson):

 

Mark: Well Crap. That was a great game, more specifically, great goaltending. Thank God I left Boston Pizza before Vancouver scored and crushed my soul with 18.5 seconds remaining. I have calmed down slightly after having one of the more painful viewing experiences of my career. You see, after attending a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, I strolled down the hill to take up a seat in what I thought would be the friendly confines of BOSTON Pizza. I arrive to find that the bar is now being called Vancouver Pizza. I then walk in and find the bar not only packed with Vancouver fans, but the waitresses/bartenders are ALL wearing Vancouver t-shirts. As if that’s not enough, I’ve walked in to a private party for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference being held here in Halifax so I have to watch the game with the damn Mayor of Vancouver!!! It seems as though the stars were aligned for you whale huggers on Wednesday. As if that wasn’t enough, you had Burrows try and bite the finger off Bergeron (fingapitate?), and sent Henrik ‘Tweety Head’ Sedin to acting classes before the game. Cheater cheater pumpkin eater.

Predictions: Game 2

Mark: Saturday’s game will be a much more wide open affair. We both have awesome goalies, but even they can’t stand up to our also equally matched skilled players for much longer. I predict Alex Burrows gets his little pea-head knocked off by Chara or Lucic in the early going. Seguin’s gonna step it up and score the first goal for Boston (not necessarily the first goal of the game), which will in turn motivate the rest of the team because they’re getting shown up by a 19 year old who barely played up until a couple of weeks ago. Recchi scores the game winner and Horton adds an empty netter for the 6-4 Bruins win.

John: Destiny will continue to unfurl in favour of the Canucks. Timmy Thomas will have to be even better if he’s going to stop the telepathic twin syndrome that is/are Daniel and Henrik. They will score many goals. And, instead of high-sticking his 12-foot-high face, Ryan Kessler will skate with such fury around Zdeno Chara (who, for some inexplicable reason, I can’t look at without getting really, really angry) that Chara’s legs will become irreparably tangled. Someone will throw dentures, fangs or some other biting-related thing on the ice during the third period – this will make Glenn Healy furious. And Luongo will be as steady as my hand when Kurt Heinrich showcases his culinary and knife skills, which are comparable to the character Bishop’s knife skills from the movie Aliens. Because, like Luongo, Kurt Heinrich is a skilled professional who doesn’t let his teammates down. Final score: 3-1 Canucks.

[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]

John: For the trash talk portion of this post, I’d like to paste a gmail chat conversation between my good friend Mike and I:

10:33 PM Mike: i read your trash talk section of your post with your bruin buddy. loved your smack. fun, yet humiliating. nice tone. unfortunately, I wanted to smack your friend upside the head for saying that Manny “tried to put his eyeball through a pane of glass.” I get that he only watches the east coast teams, but that lacked class. And following that implying that his injury is his claim to fame? Weak.
10:34 PM me: I agree – Mark was outmatched.
The post on Friday will be even better, what with the biting controversy and overall underperforming of Boston.
10:35 PM Mike: Boston bites. So does Burrows.
me: Amazing!
Cut and print.
Mike: Don’t taunt the orca. You put your finger there, it gets bit.
10:36 PM solid. i’m planning to watch all the elimination games downtown on the street. gumboot should send a contingent of writers.

[Editor's note: we will send a contingent of writers - only a few will return from the melee].

Mark, you’re a great guy who’s made a few bad choices in his life, which include, but are not limited to, the following: not practicing your three-point-shot every day after school, attending Bishop’s University, that thing you did on November 12, 2000 that I can’t talk about (wow), cramming 17 people (including, I think, the Undergraduate Society President of Harvard) on a rickety balcony that was designed to hold, maybe, four people and a bag of pillows, and, of course, cheering for the Boston Bruins.

All this being said, I love you and thank you for this very entertaining segment. Bill Simmons would be proud of our wordiness!

Mark: I hate the Montreal Canadiens by default as a Bruins fan. Now I hate the Vancouver Canucks because I generally hate them. I know it’s a strong word, and the Bruins are no saints (Brad Marchand grew up 15km from here, I worked with his aunt, and I still hate the guy’s guts), but the dirty, underhanded trickery and general hideousness of your two best players makes my blood boil. The Canucks bite and dive all game and I’m pretty sure they likely kick puppies on their way home. But we have a secret weapon – Tyler Seguin and his Water Bottle of Death. Once he squirts you with his voodoo water, you will leave the game and not return, ala Dan Hamhuis. He got him good with this one, maybe enough voodoo water to keep Danny boy outta game 2.

 

Best of luck, and here’s hoping your Mayor gets the heck outta here soon because if he’s around when the Bruins win on Saturday night, my next post is going to include a picture of me in a Bruins jersey next to him with a sad look of disappointment on his pretty little face.

John: There’s some Vancouver Pizza on it’s way to you in the mail, my man – hopefully it doesn’t get caught in the strike, because it’s tasty! Also, our Mayor’s a good-looking man and kindhearted soul, ain’t he? Hard not to love that guy. He probably left Halifax with some gorgeous bike lanes and three more farmer’s markets, eh?


Bruins vs Canucks: Game 1

[Editor's note: John Horn and Mark Atkinson were friends at Bishop's University. But then Mark went to Nova Scotia and John moved to Vancouver. Sporadically, they kept in touch over the years, but - fortunately for you, the noble readers of the Daily Gumboot - their friendship has re-discovered itself thanks to hockey. More specifically thanks to the fact that Mark loves the Boston Bruins and John loves the Vancouver Canucks. Sure, after this series they can never be friends again. But the point is that you will benefit from their being nemesises nemeses nemesoulmates nemesi each others' worst enemy! GO SPORTS!]

Re-Cap of Before

John: What do you need to know? Oh, how the Vancouver Canucks qualify as Stanley Cup Finalists? Right. Here are a few bullet points:

  • President’s Trophy Winners? Check.
  • Scoring champion? Check.
  • Equally good twin of said scoring champion? Check.
  • Vezina Trophy-candidate goalie? Check.
  • Slaying hybrid dragon-monkey in epic first round battle? Check.
  • Badass second line centre who will skate through the boards if he thinks it will help his team win? Check.
  • Domination in the Western Conference Finals? Check.
  • Pending return of gritty “team guy” who does nothing but kill penalties, win face-offs and drive the other team’s best players crazy? Check.
  • Healthy defense and the ability to roll five-and-a-half lines? Check.
  • Hilarious coach who makes press conferences fun? Check.
  • Rabid fans who are ready to explode? Double check!

That is all.

Mark: I know that my beloved Boston Bruins knocked off their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadians in 7 games, I know that they stomped on the team with the second best record in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers, and I know that they knocked off the Tampa Bay Lightening in 7 games in the conference finals.  You beat your arch rivals, the guys who embarrassed you last year, and win a game 7 that was tied 0-0 without one single penalty called and you know that you have the drive to do it. Who did the Canucks beat to get here? With the exception of Chicago, Vancouver was tested in such hockey hotbeds as Nashville and San Jose. Nashville and San Jose!!! Be forewarned there ‘nucks fans, The Garden is not a friendly place for visiting teams. You ain’t in California or Tennessee anymore bub. And if this series goes to game 7, make sure you keep your eyes on Nathan Horton. He’s scored the game 7 winner against both Montreal and Tampa Bay.

Predictions: Game 1

Mark: The great unknown. It’s the unknown that has both worried and intrigued mankind for eternity. Western  Conference, you are the great unknown to us East coasters. All I know about the Vancouver Canucks is that they won the President’s Cup and they have some latex love freaks who wear full body suits to their hockey games. Best record in hockey? That’s a nice hat to hang in your locker, but since I don’t really follow the teams in the west, maybe you had it easy. Maybe you played all of your games against such perennial powerhouses as the Columbus Blue Jackets. I’m still of the belief that Colorado has a decent team. And who the hell is Manny Maholtra? All this fuss about whether he’ll return or not and I’ve never even heard his name before he tried to put his eyeball through a pane of glass. That’s his claim to fame, getting injured. I do, however, follow the Eastern Conference with unparallelled vigour.

The puck drops at 8pm eastern tonight. Both teams have been kicked back spinning their wheels for a while, so I’m not anticipating a real wide open, fast paced first period. Thomas and Luongo will both make stupid decisions that ALMOST cost their team the first goal. I’m thinking 1-0 Boston after one period. Those Sedin fellas seem to have some skill, but once Chara runs Kesler in to the stanchion and puts him out, we can focus on those red headed hamburgers, and if you shut one down you shut them both down. I’ll give you a goal or two in the second, but Boston will be leading after all three periods.

John: After overcoming some early jitters because the corporate, texty and too-cool-to-cheer Rogers Arena crowd actually gets excited, the Canucks settle down and draw some early penalties. I think that Luongo will let in at least one so-so goal, but not a soft goal. Zdeno Chara will continue to be tall. He – as will the rest of the Boston defense – will turn the puck over the the neutral zone like Kurt Heinrich turns over a satay chicken stacker. A lot. Finally, the Campbell-conspiracy will make my dad yell about how the NHL, Don Cherry, the rest of Canada, and the International Monetary Fund are vehemently anti-Canucks. Final score: 4-2 Vancity.

[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]

John: Mark Atkinson, you ski like the Boston Bruins play hockey: slow, grinding, and possibly with a concussion. Also, your Bridgewater-dialect makes you sound like a drunken compilation of all the worst Adam Sandler characters. Finally, it takes a special man/probable-bear-in-disguise to love a team like Boston. I mean, I know that Nova Scotians have no regional team to call their own, but why didn’t you just do what everyone else does and pick the Montreal Canadians? You know, the Original Six team that sucks now but used to be pretty good. Not like Boston. I mean, Vancouver was in the Cup Finals more recently than B-Money was. Oh, as an addendum, I stole money and things from you after you passed out before going to the bar during university. I’ll use the money/things for our bet on the series, which is $6,093. Yeah, I’m a terrible person, too.

Mark: For those of you who are not aware of my pedigree, I spend a significant amount of time with my rear-end parked on a bar stool. For tonight’s game, I will have it parked at the local Boston Pizza in downtown Halifax. I have heard that the Boston Pizza’s in Vancouver have been advertised as Vancouver Pizza as of late. That’s fine. They did the same thing in Montreal and look where that got them. During the first round, I was surrounded by Habs fans, second round was pretty much 50/50 Boston/Philly, last round I had real, live Bostonian chicks next to me. You’d think that since Vancouver happens to be in Canada, that they would have the majority of the fans all across the country. That might be true in most provinces, but not in Atlantic Canada. We basically like three teams: The Habs, The Leafs, and The Bruins, and I can’t wait to be surrounded by Bruins fans tonight when that final horn blows and we take the first game in your own rink. As a final note, it just so happens that my lovely girlfriend is heading to BC for the summer on Saturday. She’ll tell you that it’s to spend time with her family, etc. but the real story is that ever since my Pittsburgh Steelers beat her Baltimore Ravens, she’s been dreading this Bruins/Canucks match up, and just wouldn’t be able to deal with me after the Bruins win the cup.

[Editor's note: here is a video that is making the rounds on the Internets - the character in the video is very similar to John's friend Mark; Mark's better looking, though].

PS. Care to wager a picture in the opposing teams garb when all is said and done there Horn? Bruins win, you don a bruins t-shirt, and if the Canucks win, I’ll take a pic with a stupid orca on my chest?

John: Done. Shirt-wearing embarrassment it is!

The Three Faces of Vancouver Hockey Fans

All across British Columbia, people are waking-up with hoarse throats, headaches and the lingering smell of  strangers that they hugged and kissed in bars and living rooms around the province. Because, last night, there was some dragon-slaying going on. Or demon-purging. Or monkey-off-back-throwing. Regardless, there was reason to celebrate. I mean, the President’s Trophy Winners won the Stanley Cup a first round series against a terrible team that they were supposed to beat in four or five games.

You know what. The goal was really cool. Let’s watch it again!

But I digress…

My wife and I drifted off to sleep around midnight to the sounds of honking, yelling, whooping, wooting, and much merry-making. Again, over a first round win over a team that is, certainly, our three-year-nemesis, but is also one-and-a-half lines of awesome combined with a few punks, plugs and a guy named Scott who can barely skate.

During the near collapse of the Vancouver Canucks and the entire Lower Mainland and most of the province of British Columbia, I’ve noticed that there are quite clearly three kinds of Vancouver Canucks Hockey Fans.

1. The Die Hards. These people can name the entire team’s plus/minus – each and every year since 1971 – and probably have Mike Gillis on speed-dial.  They represent an interconnected component of the Canuck diaspora and will never ever stop supporting their team. My dad, my friend Mike Worth and my superawesome colleague, Lynne Murchie, are this type of fan.

2. The Arms-Length Informed Temperamental Cynic. This type of fan can probably name 90% of the current roster, can articulate the icing rule and knows what causes a player to be offside. Oh, and we’re hyper-critical of players and the mistakes they make. [Editor's note: personally, I yell at Alex Burrows when he skates into the opposing team's zone offside because when I play in the NHL I never skate into the opposing team's zone offside or miss penalty shots after being rammed into a goal-post. NEVER. And that's why I can judge professional athletes]. I am this  kind of Canuck fan. And my ilk lead the charge in throwing Roberto Luongo, the Sedins, Kessler, or whoever made the last mistake under the bus. The awesome guy at the table next to me last night – beige shirt, black-rimmed glasses, dirty blond hair, hilarious – was this kind of fan, too.

3. West Coast Casual. “I think our team needs faster skaters” or “Who’s our backup goalie? Is he good?” or “Why does everyone keep cheering?! I can’t hear my friend on my cell phone – you know what? I’ll just keep texting them” or “That game was awesome!!! Let’s get wasted and riot downtown!!!” might be phrases overheard from these fans. Or you might not hear them at all, because they have tickets to games – if the Canucks are cool and going to games is cool, then the West Coast Casual Fans know that being cool means, well, getting a jersey, putting your $6,000 jacket over top of it and  heading to the game to do some serious texting about how you’re at the game – and don’t show up very often.

Here’s the point. A study by the Recent Findings Institute found that approximately 92.4% of Canucks fans come from Categories Two and Three (above). We are a temperamental, cynical and casual bunch – not unlike the climate and coffee and corporate cultures here in The ‘Couve. We have some maturing to do as a sports town. Having high expectations of a team is one thing, but abandoning them every time things don’t go our way and then celebrating a triumph over a terrible team with drunken hooting and parading into the wee hours of the morning is as downright embarrassing as it is schizophrenic. We need to grow-up.

Oh, and one final thought. We’re now playing a team with great, supportive fans from a city that puts absolutely no pressure on their team or their horrible jerseys. As the Vancouver Canucks try to channel their barfy, nervited energy into victory, the Nashville Predators will chuckle at their ridiculous name and relax because, hey, it’s only the second round of the playoffs…

Do some yoga and simmer down, Vancouver. It’s not time to celebrate…yet…

Ashley Davis

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to an ongoing segment here at The Daily Gumboot. It’s called “Get to Know Your Community” and, basically, it goes like this: each and every Sunday we will profile someone from a community somewhere. Each person is asked the same five questions (see below as well as in the “Ideas from Everywhere” page). At the end of the profile, the Gumbooteer (member of this blog’s Editorial Board) who found the person will list their three favourite things about the highlighted community member. Savvy?

Here are some ideas from everywhere. Here is one way that we try to build community. Have fun with it!

Ashley Davis: designer, community-builder, soccer star, Canucks fan in Calgary.

Ashley Davis: designer, community-builder, soccer star, Canucks fan in Calgary.

1. Who are you?

Hi all, I’m Ashley and I’m an art lover. I find anything that’s related to art to be an inspiration; music, photography, painting, sculpture…you name it! My real passion and my chosen career path is digital graphics. I do freelance print and web design work through my business Creative Lane Design, www.creativelane.ca. My education and career has taken me from Victoria BC, to Vancouver, and now to the cold province next door, where I work in Calgary. I love freelancing because it has allowed me to not only work on a range of different projects, but it has also introduced me to design in other cities, provinces and countries. One day I’m designing a website for a company in the UK and the next day I walk down the street to visit a local client. I love the variety!

2. What do you do for fun?

Well, I’m a huge sports nut. I enjoy playing soccer and fastball, and I love watching hockey. Even with the move to Alberta, I’m forever a Canucks fan! I also grew up loving photography and it remains a hobby of mine. I’m a big traveller too, from trips to Europe, Mexico and throughout Canada and the States. I have my eye on Africa next.

3. What is your favourite community and why?

I can’t say that I have a favourite. With all my travels, I have many favourites, from the highlands of Scotland to the nightlife of Amsterdam and the mediterranean black beaches of Santorini. The list of traveling favourites goes on, but there’s not enough e-space to hold the stories I have to tell. And even with my never-ending list of foreign favourites, I always enjoy the trip home. It’s hard not to take the salty ocean air and fresh mountain slopes of the BC coast for granted when you’ve grown up there, but every trip home reminds me of why I love Victoria and Vancouver so much.

4. What is your superpower?

I’m pretty sure my superpower would be my eye for detail. In the graphics industry, this is as important as the first sketch in your notebook to the final design loved by a client. What if the line is too straight or a tad bit too curvy? Or your alignment is off and the white space seems too overpowering? What if the colours don’t compliment each other… Well, you get the picture :)

5. How do you use it to build community?

A good eye for detail can go a long way, not just in the design world. You know, maybe that lasagna dish just needs a little more mozza to have everyone at the potluck praising the day. Or perhaps if you turned your right foot slightly outward when throwing the dodgeball, your team would come away with the win at the community tournament. Or maybe you know when all the details are JUST right, and it sure feels good, doesn’t it?

My three favourite things about Ashley Davis are…

1. She’s a Canucks fan in Calgary. Some people might get upset by this, but not Ashley. She embraces being a rivaled minority in Cow Town and vigilantly supports her team even when, well, they lose 5-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes like they did yesterday. Catching a Canucks game after some intramural soccer was how I got to know Ashley, and she can talk the hockey talk with the best of ‘em!

2. Creativity becomes her. Sure, I’m a fan because of her superpower (as attention to detail does not become me). But there’s much more to the Ashley Davis skill-set. If you’re looking for a designer with a heart and soul in the community, Ashley Davis is a great choice. Her ideas are as solid as they are innovative and her creative toolkit would be an asset to any small business or social enterprize in the Calgary area or beyond. Check out Creative Lane today!

3. Soccer skills, and she might be a Beatle… Like I said, I met Ashley on the UVic intramural soccer pitch – even though neither of us ever went there. She has wicked soccer skills, which was important, because in this particular co-ed league our ladies usually had to play the entire game. Her love of The Beatles, and knowledge of, well, everything about them has me suspicious that, in fact, she might actually be a Beatle. I haven’t gathered enough evidence to prove this, but recommend you have a chat with her to discuss the idea.

…as told by John Horn.