16 March 2012
Over twitter today, I came across a ProHockeyTalk post on Bieksa calling out quiet Canucks fans.
The original quotes from Bieksa come from Ed Willies' article in The Province. Do read his article in full but here are the quotes:
“I love the Jets and their fan-base,” Kevin Bieksa said before last night’s meeting with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“To see them come in here and out-cheer our fans is great from their perspective. I’m really happy for them.”
“But from our perspective, it’s a little sad. At times, we get that on the road when we’re in Phoenix or L.A. It seems we have a louder crowd than the home team and I know it gets them down. When you’re at home and the road team has a louder crowd, it’s a little embarrassing. I don’t think we want that to happen to us.”
“A lot time when you’re down in the game or you’re going through a lull in the second period, the crowd can give the team a boost,” he said. “We’ve got to be working together here. We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”
I see what he was trying to get at, but let me respond to this is a more coherent way than I did on twitter earlier today:
I think that he is misjudging his fans and the not comprehending the way that the Canucks themselves sell their product to the city.
I can acknowledge that the travelling Canucks fan is very loud in road arenas but that is kind of the point when you are an opposition fan in a visiting arena. You come to the game, you wear your jersey, you cheer as loudly as you can to drown out the other fans. I've been there, I've done the opposing fan thing and I think that is part of the experience of being a road fan. If you haven't done it yourself, I highly recommend taking a sunny roadtrip to California or Arizona next season. That's what Habs/Leafs/Jets/Calgary fans do when their team players in Rogers arena and that's what makes those games some of the most entertaining ones of the season. How many times during the Leafs game would a chant start our 'Go Leafs Go' and morph into a Go Leanucks Go" as both fans try to drown out the other fanbase. All of those are all done without any prompting from the in-arena prompts.
I will acknowledge that this past Jets game, the Jets fans were loud. But I also know of plenty of people Jets fans who drove down from places like Kelowna (they were originally from outside Winnipeg) just for the game because they haven't seen a Jets (I'm overlooking the Thrashers thing right now) game in 16 years. So that game was a big f-cking deal to them.
I also know that Canucks fans were louder than the Jets fans there that night, there is no question about it. I'm not sure what he's talking about because the Jets fans had nothing to cheer about that night, since the Canucks outworked the Jets that night. At least that's the consensus from the people I spoke with who were at the game.
Before you start throwing your fanbase under the bus and saying that from your perspective "it's a little sad" that your home fans don't cheer so much, think about who is actually going to read what you say about the 'fans' when you critique them.
"We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”
I have bought my tickets from the Vancouver Canucks for many seasons and there is nowhere printed on my ticket that says that when I am there that I need to work for you. I will always cheer for goals or big hits but why do I need to work for you during a lull in the second period?
I am a fan of the Canucks but I also enjoy to watch hockey. The average regular season game I attend is usually after a full day at work, usually on a weeknight where I am going to be entertained by watching a sport I love to watch played. I may have a beer during the game but often I will not because I have to get up early the next morning for another day of work. So some nights I will cheer if a spontaneous chant breaks out in my section but some nights, I'm just not that into it. I think that's my right as a paying ticket holder. But again, I'll always cheer for goals and big hits, so if you entertain me, I'll cheer you for it.
I know I will have readers that say that real fans would cheer and the fans going to the game aren't real fans. Well to that I would say that the Vancouver Canucks will sell a ticket to a real fan or just a person wanting to go watch hockey equally. Hell maybe they don't want to watch hockey but the lower bowl during a game is a great place to discuss a business deal with a client so since they are paying customer, that's cool. At least you play in a market where there are paying customers to watch the team play.
If you can pay to watch the game, the Canucks will sell you a ticket if there is one available. The Canucks don't say to me at ticket renewal time "hey ticketholder, we need you to cheer spontaneously or the team won't perform", no they just sell me the tickets. So spare me the complaint that you are a little sad that you think that we didn't cheer as loudly as the Jets fans during a regular season game in March. This is the market you play for, this is the market that supports the team financially and if you think that fans need to cheer for you in order for you to work then maybe you need to have a talk with your superiors in getting a cheering clause put into the tickets sold.
You know what fans at Rogers Arena will cheer loudly during? THE PLAYOFFS
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