What’s wrong with the Canucks Experience?
A home rink is meant to put a little fear in the minds of opposing players. Hometown fans are meant to feel like they’re almost in the game, it’s such an interactive experience. Rogers Arena itself is a great venue and conducive to an amazing game experience, it’s the team and management that drop the ball.
It’s said that there’s a proverbial switch that teams can flip when entering the playoffs, so, we’ll do the approach this the same. For the last number of years, the Canucks have promoted fan experience and game presentation as a very G or PG rated experience, but, thats through choice. It’s like a great boxer having a broken hand. You know he’s capable of so much more, just not in his current situation.
I don’t think endless U2 and Nickleback songs are great for the regular season, but, if you have to continue that family brand to protect the bankroll- fine. Just change it up for the playoffs. The opening video, the cartoon demonstrations, the general lack of bite all lead to a very tame atmosphere. It doesn’t help that half the crowd are suits in meetings or ‘Fans’ that will boo the goalie or the twins no matter what. The entire experience needs to get edgier, and sharper.
Let’s look at a few other examples, starting with the LA Kings and their online presence. Their twitter account rubbed plenty the wrong way, but, ultimately its because they pushed a few buttons. It was trash talking at its best-of course, winning is everything. If the Kings got bounced in that first round, it would look pretty silly, but, you couldn’t accuse the account as being boring or predictable. If you don’t like the LA example, check out the Philadelphia Flyers. A team that embraces the ‘toughest, meanest’ tag. Not only do they ring a fight bell when a fight breaks out, but they amp it up a lot in presentation. A game or two after Scott Hartnell did a Hulk Hugon impression, the team handed fans orange ‘Hartsymania’ t shirts. Yeah, the Canucks have towels, but, you need more to establish a presence. Canucks games have a great atmosphere during the anthems, but, then lose energy.
Forget the flashing of ‘Go Canucks Go’ or the ‘kid talk’ segments during games on screens and the silly morning hosts popping up in the Team Store don’t help either. A teams home arena needs to speak to history, grit, and a never say die attitude. I always wondered last year when the Boston Bruins turned to their alumni to unfurl a flag or pump up the crowd more, why the Canucks simply relied on Mark Donnelly to sing three quarters of the anthem. It’s awesome, but, you need more. Why not fly in three guys with their names in the rafters to take part?
The Canucks look and feel in the stands, and on the screens is way too soft, yet we expect the complete opposite on the ice. I’m not saying go monster truck rally nuts, it just needs to have a pair.