Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Updated 06/16/2011 – 08:28 am

There is in the world of professional sports, with the possible exception of rugby, no faster-paced, harder-hitting 60 minutes of sustained action, than ice hockey.

And from the moment the puck is dropped in the opening game of a season, everything and everyone... coaches, players and trainers... is directed at hoisting the Stanley Cup.

There is no more prestigious or iconic award accompanying a sports championship! Not the NFL's Lombardi Trophy, or the "green jacket" at the Masters Golf Tournament or the Cup at Wimbledon.

And while the awarding of the Stanley Cup isn't as refined a ceremony as those seen courtside at Wimbledon or in the clubhouse of the Augusta National Golf Club...

(Never mind World Series winners and Super Bowl victors who make no claim to refinement, leaping about in jockstraps whole hosing one another and hapless TV announcers with warm champaign!)

...there are certain traditions and protocols which are always observed.

As fast as the game is played, and as savage the hitting of one body against the other, when the Cup is won, fans stand and cheer wildly if the home team wins, or applaud graciously if things happen to go the other way.

Not tonight in Vancouver when the underdog Bruins shut out the hometown Canucks 4-0 to claim their first Cup in 39 years.

While Boston Captain Zdeno Chara accepted the Cup from League Commissioner Gary Bettman and skated a joyous victory lap before handing it off to Mark Recchi, the entire Rogers Arena resounded in "Booooos!"

I can understand Vancouver fans' disappoint­ment... their team won the President's Trophy for the highest point total in the 82-game regular season, and entering the playoffs, they were favorites to win their first ever Cup.

I've known that bitterness on more than one occasion with my own Detroit Red Wings.

I also know that when Detroit and the Pitts­burgh Penguins each won the Cup on the other's home ice in successive years in 2008-2009, the home fans were respectful of the visitors' singular accomplishment.

No "Booooos!" were heard.

Vancouver was always, in the TV networks' assessment, a "small market."

Canucks' fans tonight demonstrated that it is just "small."

And it got worse...

Car fires in chaotic Vancouver after loss

Nothing like this has happened in hockey since 1994... in Vancouver!


1. Hampton West said...

When Boston last won it was in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers in 1972. I was at the game - there were just a smattering of boos but it quickly dissolved into applause, if not too loud. Nevertheless there was a certain respect shown - from Ranger fans yet - but then, it was 1972!

2. Hambone said...

'Tis a shame.

Hockey has steeped traditions which no other sport comes close.

  1. The goalie leads the players out of the locker room. The goalie is the first on the ice. You congratulate the goalies before the lineup (lacrosse shares this actually). The teams, led by their goalies shake hands in an organized manner. Baseball openly states "no fraternization."
  2. The trophy is presented to the Captain... not an owner.
  3. The trophy is one of the few awards that actually changes from year to year because of the names (the Masters jacket also changes because of size). MLB's trophy can change if more teams are added but that is rare.
Booing is not common in hockey. They celebrate the sport win or lose.

There are more traditions and none are as bad as sining "YMCA" in the 7th inning.
I wouldn't consider that part of the ritual as "fraternization," #1, and, #2, while that edict is still in effect, it hasn't been enforced in decades.

3. Linesider36 said...

Dean I watched game 7 and the presentation afterwards and I thought the crowd was booing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. All commissioners usually hear it from the crowd no matter what sport. In my humble opinion the hand shake after a hard fought 7 game series is one of the greatest moments in sports. It's a shame more pro sports can't make it part of their game, after all it's not whether you win or loose it's how you play the game.

P.S. Good luck today.

Thank you sir!

Yeah, commissioners traditionally get boo'd, but this was louder and more sustained than is usual with that sort of thing, and buttressing my original assessment, look at what happened right outside Rogers Arena.

Email address is not published
Remember Me

Write the characters in the image above