Opinion: Vancouver Canucks poised to end season on high note on and off the ice

The club has worked to turn around its reputation.

Credit: Vancouver Canucks on Twitter

The club has worked to turn around its reputation 

On the ice, it’s a very similar story this season for the Vancouver Canucks.  

Last fall, the team entered the season with some hope, thanks mostly to a strong stretch at the end of the previous campaign that was buoyed by a coaching change. Instead, the Canucks struggled immensely out of the gate and the new bench boss, Bruce Boudreau, was mercifully fired in January after months of speculation.  

Now, of course, the Canucks are on a hot streak thanks to a new coach. And the season, which has largely been a wreck on and off the ice is poised to end on at least something of a high note with Rick Tocchet on the bench. But while Vancouver fans would be foolish to buy into the success and believe it to be sustainable, there have been some encouraging moves off the ice of late.  

One of the main issues swallowing the NHL right now has been players refusing to wear Pride jerseys during warmups for their team’s Pride night games. Notably, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov, San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer and Florida Panthers veterans Eric and Marc Staal have refused to wear the jerseys due to their religious beliefs. Teams like the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks have decided to not wear Pride jerseys altogether, presumably in fear of subjecting certain players to well-deserved criticism.  

The issue has gotten so out of hand that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman appears to be reconsidering how the league is going to celebrate Pride nights going forward. That would be a massive shame, as these events are about making everyone feeling included at hockey arenas across the league.  

As Pride night neared for the Canucks (it’s tonight, Friday, March 31), there were some fears the team could follow suit and just avoid any controversy. That, fortunately, didn’t happen, as the team announced earlier this week the jerseys it will be wearing for the upcoming event.


It probably shouldn’t be seen as a surprise given that the Canucks have (historically and this season) really stepped up to the plate when it comes to themed jerseys. (Just check out the threads they wore for the First Nations Celebration Game).  

But it’s not just the jerseys, as the Canucks are setting the bar when it comes to Pride participation around the league. Before the game, the team will host a “Pride Party on the Plaza” featuring a drag show and music from members of the Queer community.  

There are also reports that the team is looking to upgrade its current (really bad) seats. That would be another nice off-ice move to buoy the team’s reputation and start to make up for a season in which there were a couple more questionable decisions, like making the coach a dead man walking for months, firing an employee with thin reasoning and planning to scratch Brock Boeser for the first time on Hockey Fights Cancer night.  

But these moves bode well for the future. And though we’re going to wait and see until next season before we buy into the current on-ice hot streak, the off-ice stuff is more than encouraging.