Monday, March 07, 2011

A Road Canuck Fan's Guide on How Not to Be a Jerk*

Video from outside Staples Center after the Kings game. Looks like a lot of fun. Fun is good.

Wow, it was exhilarating to go to the Ducks game. I met Daniel and Harrison, and their wives, and that was pretty amazing. We were also surrounded by Canucks fans. Living in California, I only see the Canucks when they're on the road against the Ducks or the Kings. I cheer loud, but I'm usually shouted down. Not last night.

Still, there were moments where I was a little embarrassed. The Canucks fans I saw were passionate, yes, but also -- dare I say? -- impolite at times. I don't want Canucks fans to be hated league-wide. That would suck. What would suck even more, though, is if the Canucks were hated for good reason. For that reason, let's discuss what is and is not good form.

The Anthem

Good Form: Singing along with the Canadian anthem. Your patriotism is an inspiration. After the Canadian anthem comes the American one, and you'll often hear the Americans around you singing along with it. A friend once took me to a Ducks-Thrashers game. There was no singing along of any kind. It's a nice thought that Canadian fans on the road inspire locals to be more patriotic. And no one can really fault you for it. (Note: The poor Americans. O Canada is a song pretty much anyone can sing. The Star Spangled Banner, on the other hand, is usually better left to the professionals.)

Bad Form: Booing the American anthem, sitting down for it, putting your hat on for it, etc. Come on. You hate when Philly fans boo the Canadian anthem. And for good reason -- it's a jerk thing to do. I bet their Canadian players don't like it, either. Come to think of it, Kesler probably doesn't like hearing HIS national anthem boo'd. But then, he hates Canada either way. Don't do this.

Chants and Cheers

Good Form: Go Canucks Go! It challenges the other fans to chant "Go Ducks Go" or "Go Kings Go," etc. The more plentiful and passionate fans will have their chant heard. Great fun.

Bad Form: Ref you suck! Ref you suck! This is always a bad cheer. Even at home games, and even if the ref sucks.

Good Form: Luuuu. Of course, there are times and places for the Luuuu. Never, for instance, when Schnieder is playing.

Bad Form: Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye. Remember, this is a ROAD guide. The Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye chant has a very specific time when it's okay: During the dying minutes of a playoff elimination game in which your team is comfortably in the lead at home. Why is this okay? Because you're sending the other team home, and in the playoffs, the other team is always a bunch of jerks. I understand that it's a magnificent feeling being able to sing that song, but you can't force it. Then you're just the guy trying to start a slow clap. Never do this when your team isn't comfortably in the lead. Remember, Montreal fans did this against the Leafs with just a two-goal lead and the Leafs came back to win in OT. Never do this for a non-playoff game, because there's always next game for them. Never do this for a road game. At the end of the game, win or lose, you're the ones leaving town.

Good Form: Taunting the goaltender after a bad goal, or when he's playing poorly. Goaltenders are under more pressure at home, and if you think nerves are going to be a factor, taunting the goaltender can put him off his game. If chants are supposed to raise your team up, this one might affect the game.

Bad Form: Taunting a goaltender after a goal that wasn't his fault, or when he's not playing poorly. Goaltenders know the difference. When you taunt a goaltender who isn't playing poorly, you strengthen his resolve. I've seen Canucks fans turn truly awful goaltenders into monsters. Like the Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye chant, this one has its place.

Good Form: Cheering. You cheer a great goal, that's cool. You cheer a great shift, that's also cool. As long as you aren't cheering injuries, no one's going to be upset with you for cheering. You're supposed to enjoy the game.

Bad Form: Olé, Olé chant before the end of a game. In general, I associate this with Montreal, and you never want to be like Montreal fans. Still, it's sort of a Canuck fan to do the Olé thing after the final whistle. Fine... after the final whistle. The song is declaring victory. Doesn't matter if there's only a minute left and the score is 7-1 in your favor -- wait for the buzzer.

Good Form: The "Wooo" after a goal. I love the Canucks doing that. I love that they spread it to other arenas. I love the exuberant joy in the sound. Keep it going. Maybe they'll score again.

Bad Form:
The "Wooo" after a goal. I don't know. I guess some people find it annoying. Oh well.

General Behavior

Good Form: When talking hockey with an opposing fan, find something nice to say about the team. They've paid money to come see the team, so there's got to be something they like. If you say something like, "That Fowler's got amazing talent, I can't believe he fell to 13 in the draft," they'll think Vancouver fans at least aren't as bad as those Maple Leaf jerks.

Bad Form: Talking real crap about the opposing team. It still grinds my gears to hear "Sedin Sisters," I'm sure Pens fans don't like to hear that Crosby's a crybaby, and the same's true of these fans. If your team's doing better than the other team, coming in and rubbing it in is just plain rude. Don't act like you're following your amazing team around, and you're upset that it meant you had to go through this dump of a hockey town. No one likes that guy. You don't have to suck up to the team, but again, try not to seem like a Canadiens fan.

Good Form: Having fun with your fellow Canucks fans. High fives all around when they score.

Bad Form: Having fun at the expense of the opposing fans. Don't shout "in your FACE!" unless the person's done something to really convince you they deserve it, like kicking a baby, spilling beer on you, or saying "The Sedin Sisters aren't first line talent." You're there to support the Canucks, not to tear down the Sharks. Take joy in your team's success, not in the other team's failure.

Good Form: Congregating with your fellow Canucks fans after a win and cheering, high-fiving, and being a little bit too loud (cause that never hurt no one).

Bad Form: Desecration of statues with Canucks garb. I know it's all in good fun, but Gretzky was never a Canuck. The Mighty Ducks statue was never a Canuck. To local fans, the Canucks are just a visiting team. The statue or monument is bigger than this game. If the Canucks just won the Cup in the opposing team's building, then maybe I can see being excited enough to do something like that. Most of the time, though, you're just convincing others that all Vancouverites are stupid drunks.

Good Form: Be considerate of those who are frustrated if the Canucks win. I know I've been frustrated after a particularly embarrassing Canucks loss, I'm sure most fans have been there -- at least the ones willing to travel to see games. Don't taunt opposing fans too much after a loss, and don't take it seriously if they don't seem to share your joy. A lot of teams are battling for playoff places. Every win for the Canucks is a loss for another team, and often it's an unhappy part of a narrative. Be respectful of that.

Bad Form: Idiot stuff. Getting too drunk. Starting fights. Keying cars. Breaking stuff. Stealing Ducks flags off of people's cars. Come on, you're visiting. Don't be bad guests. Jeff Miller of the OC Register said
"It wouldn't have been surprising had the Ducks gone out to the parking lot afterward and found that their cars had been keyed." Now, that's ridiculous, and I didn't see anyone keying cars. Still, I did see a few clearly uncomfortable Ducks fans during this celebration. One woman looked like she was actually afraid for her safety. That shouldn't happen.

Canucks road trips are awesome. I've always felt that the fans who travel with the team are showing some sort of solidarity with the players who have to travel the most in the NHL. It's a stupid romantic idea but either way, there's nothing like meeting fellow Canucks fans who traveled down to support the team. Surrounded usually by Ducks fans, Kings fans, and non-hockey fans, I really appreciate the times when I can share the joy of a Nucks goal with those around me. Then one of the Canucks fans does something to be a jerk and I feel bad about the way my hometown, one of the greatest cities on the planet, is being represented. So DO have fun, but please try not to be a jerk.*

*"Jerk," of course, being a euphemism


  1. Jesus Q'...bit too many rules. This aint cricket.

    Of course I agree with most, but the statue? Come on. That happens all the time with statues in front of arenas. Whether 99 played for us or not. Let them have their fun. Its hardly worth being called stupid drunks for. Pretty harmless stuff. Defacing it is one thing, but a jersey so a few people can take pix is fine by me.

    "Ref U suck" seems to be a fave of the Kings fans, no? ( they even have a website and Twitter account!)Or was that just Doughty? ;-)

    The songs were fine to me watching from home. Canucks fans get too much guff from fanbases like the Habs and Leafs, Flames and Oilers telling us how to "act" anyhow. There is nothing wrong with being a little more "out there" and less what they are going to whine about what they perceive as some indiscretion anyhow!

  2. Habs fans look like idiots singing the "Ole Ole Ole" chant, it comes from soccer and these two games are not alike. People from PQ are confused.

  3. I totally agree with everyone over at PITB. Lets all keep the good nature and spirit alive that made Vancouver so well respected and enjoyed by visitors during the olympics.

    Lets not to get too proud of ourselves and our good nature though, lest we forget post-game 6 1994 in downtown Vancouver. There certainly was an eery similarity to the reaction of Montreal fans in 1993. No wonder a cup hasn't made to a Canadian city since then...

  4. Wow, buzzkill. Nice list but a little too nitpicky with regards to the "Na, na, na, na" or the "Ole" I dunno, I was in Anaheim and I didn't see a repeat of the admittedly disrespectful Gretzky statue incident. And the mood was festive there.....for canucks fans. And I didn't hear anyone boo the national anthem, where there people complaining about that

  5. @ 1:56 Anonymous

    This was a general guide, not all these things happened in Anaheim last night.

    And the "Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye" thing is one of the ones I feel strongly on. It's embarrassing.

  6. I thought the "na na na" thing was hilarious. It's stupuid funny exactly because we're the visiting team...everybody chanting it knows it too.

    The olé thing for Vancouver fans has a source....the BC Lions (CFL Football). Whenever they score a touchdown they play that song and the stadium belts it out. And before you dismiss that as "well that's a different sport..." know that that's where "Luuuuuu" comes from too.

    The Lions had a local boy named Lui Passaglia play punter for years for the Lions. He's a bit of a local hero....and the crowd would do "Luuuuuuu" whenever he came was a perfect fit for when Luongo came to town cause Lui had retired by then....

    And I date a Habs fan...careful there! Chuckle.

  7. Great work Qris! As a Canucks fan in Calgary, I'm confronted with most of these on a regular basis. As for the 'Na na na na' thing, I'm with you 100% There's a time for it, and it's not in the regular season.

  8. I loved this post. Canadian to the boot to be rude without actually being rude. Having lived in England where, because of the smaller distances, traveling with your favourite team (Nottingham Forest, of course!) is much more common, I have witnessed the downside of fans at away games. The only rule required is "Remember it is just a game. Have fun. Sing. Celebrate. But be nice. The home fans are celebrating the same great sport that you are and should be respected. Pitied but not bullied. I love seeing the Canucks fans in the away arenas. Make us proud to be Canucks. Not ashamed of what jerks we can be. That, too, is a euphemism.

  9. Nice one, Qris. Winning or being top of the league does not give fans license to act like buffoons. They're representin', thus need to show we're a class act, like our team. If our top boys can stop acting like jerks between whistles...

    I like what Anonymous 12:54 said, "Lets all keep the good nature and spirit alive that made Vancouver so well respected and enjoyed by visitors during the olympics."

    If we win, or god forbid if we lose, I don't want another shameful, embarrassing episode.

    Mind you, I live downtown, and am shocked by how some people behave when they come down here for a night out. You'd think they had never had a drink before. Novelty, or happy rare occasions (like finally having a great team doing great deeds of winning) can sometimes affect people in very disappointing ways.

    It's only buzz-kill because it's true.

  10. Well said, smart and spot-on. Some of these should also apply at home games. I felt like the fans ruined one of the last two home games I attended -- granted, it was years ago already, but I suspect not much has changed. I know for sure I'd never take my kids to a game there.

  11. blackhawks put a jersey on mj.... he never played hockey

    boohoo its a piece of metal

  12. Jeering the opposing goalie when he's not playing badly drives me nuts. The worst example I've ever seen of this is Canuck fans chanting "You suck, Turco!" in the '07 playoffs. He didn't suck, he shut the Canucks out three times in that series, including two straight games, and if Canuck fans thought chanting that was getting him off his game, they're dead wrong... the guy allowed four goals total in games 2-6 of that series. Jeer at him when he lets in some bad goals, by all means, but jeering at a goalie on top of his game like that is only gonna motivate him.

  13. Agree with most of the points here, but I'm missing the usual humour.

    Reality is, no one likes the opposing team's fans. Especially when you're duh... winning!

  14. The only thing I had a problem with was the Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye chant.....its just kinda mean to mock the other team, especially when its their rink. And when its not the playoffs.

    The rest of the stuff is all in good fun. If it was reversed, and it was in Vancouver, the stuff would annoy me, but I wouldn't be offended.

  15. Great guide Qris! Agreed, the ebullient fans were great, but the Canuck jerseys around the statues were plain disrespectful ( a Canuck jersey on the Gretzky statue embarrassed me for some reason). And the na na na na goodbye song seemed unnecessary and ill-fitting the you mentioned it was forced. Canuck fans in general should follow this guide on how not to be obnoxious in order to continue perpetuating the idea that Canadians are polite people.

    With that said, I was proud to see so many Canuck fans displaying their passion for their team through the loud cheers I heard of "Go Canucks go".

  16. whoa, wait a sec...Qris is not a Vancouver resident? no matter. Great post. That's sth substantial to pass to my gf & son [not the same person] Words to live by, indeed.

  17. addendum: a few jersey fouls in that vid...maybe let PuckDaddy be the judge...about 0:10, dress shirt colllar on the outside; someone's bum hanging out, then...a...well, never mind me....'Nucks won, W42, wish I was somewhere else than YVR.

  18. Na Na Na Na was guys really need a sense of humour. I have been to a few games in Calgary and I try to be respectful but it's the Flames and yes we rub it in after a win...a lot. Keep being loud Canucks if only Rogers Arena could be that loud.

  19. While this is a fantastic article, in my opinion this is not a proper Pass it to Bulis article and belongs somewhere else. This article is a debate-sparking, humorless (and by humorless I mean that it doesn't have the humor of a typical (read: every) PITB article) piece that doesn't seem fit in at all. I'd rather see what you do best, because I and many others come here for a laugh and to get away from the normal blog/forum atmosphere, not to get in another typical hockey fan debate. If I wanted to talk about this I'd go to one of the soul-sucking hockey forums while I eat an entire bag of Oreos in a dark corner and cry silently to myself.

    This article is basically trying to tell people how to act in the given situation. The expertise of Pass it to Bulis is not in telling people how to act in a given situation, whatever that situation may be; it is in telling people how the situation played out in a humorous way, then make some suggestions on how to improve on it in the future. That's why it's not just another blog. I am talking about a slippery slope, so it's not like this article is the worst thing ever made or anything like that. I am just saying that if you're going to tell people how to act, and you expect an ensuing debate, at least make it funny. Failing that, you might as well write this for a different site.

    But, don't listen to me. It's morning, and I'm tired. Maybe I'm wrong. I just wanted to say something. With all said, it is a great article, although I might disagree with some minor points upon further thought!

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. you sound like the guy that keeps telling me to sit down during a Mason Raymond breakaway when I'm sitting in row 12 of section 321 at Rogers Arena. Games are meant to be enjoyed, if guys like Cooke are getting paid to play dirty, a fan who paid for a ticket, regardless of who they're cheering for, should be able to get creative. Vancouver probably has the least fun fans in the league. It's good to see the Vancouver fans take the poles out of their holes and let loose once in awhile.

  22. Indeed. Enjoy the ride, Vancouver fans! Henrik himself said how much the team enjoyed the loud support they received in Southern California. I'm sure it helped them win - so keep it up!


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