I'm sure that by now, most of you have heard about the Southsiders encounter with Rogers Arena security last night, during the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
It's been a running story/joke in Van city that Rogers Arena is more crypt than rink, that the fans generally seem uninterested in the game around them, and that you can usually hear a pin drop in the place.
That reputation can only be furthered after the Southsiders were kicked out of the sporting venue for - Gasp!- cheering! I spoke to a Southsider today that's actually a good friend of mine. While his opinion is obviously going to be a bit biased, I trust his word and his relation of the events.
Essentially, the Southsiders were cheering like they were at a Whitecaps match; standing up, singing songs with 'Vancouver Canucks' inserted in them, and waving their scarves. My friend told me there were no profanities being thrown about in their cheers, either. Anyways, they were then told by security that they couldn't stand because it was a 'liability' issue. One southsider related that security told them they could only stand up when a goal was scored. (WHAT!?!) After Southsiders raised an eyebrow and essentially collectively said, 'are you kidding me?', they were promptly ejected.
This bothers me for a few reasons. Firstly, It's a god damn sporting event, it's not church. You're supposed to be loud, you're supposed to have fun and cheer, you're supposed to create an atmosphere that provides the home team with a slight advantage.
Secondly, to the best of my knowledge, the Southsiders weren't doing anything ridiculous, they were simply cheering like passionate fans. Could you imagine getting tossed out of BC Place for standing? For singing songs? Of course not, because that's a mind numbingly stupid notion. Whitecaps matches and BC Lions games are almost always loud, exciting affairs, with fans really getting involved in the action. Why can't that translate over to Rogers Arena, to the storied past time that is supposed to be 'Canada's game?' This isn't golf for christs sake.
Lastly, once again, to the best of my knowledge, the Southsiders were up in the nosebleed seats and when they stood, the only vision that was being obstructed was that of Southsiders that were sitting down, and they weren't complaining to security. So, who were the 'siders hurting? They paid for their seats, and as long as they aren't acting like idiots, they should be able to enjoy themselves. I mean, this is an organization that prides itself on being some of the best fans in the world; are we really going to hit them on the nose and say no to that level of commitment? I mean, Canucks management should be working on replicating a hockey version of the Southsiders, not treating passionate fans like intruders.
It also begs a slew of questions to be asked. What is wrong with standing? Is this some sort of ridiculous joke? Are the security guards simply power tripping, thinking that they're jobs are far more important than they actually are? Are they merely enforcing some set of rules passed down from Canucks management? Is this just a gigantic overreaction to the riot?
In any case, I think we can all just finally nod in agreement that Vancouver truly deserves the moniker of 'No Fun City?'
I'll tell you, for the amount of money that Canucks management charges for every home game, fans should really be cut some slack. Considering that the team has unbelievable fan support (what's the sellout streak at? 400 games?), anybody should be able to stand up, cheer loudly, and get involved in the game.
Finally, I understand that there are two sides to every issue. I understand that some members of the Southsiders were probably being rowdy, but give me a freaking break. They were essentially quarantined into their own zone, trying to liven up a dead crowd. They should be given accolades, not kicked out to the curb so that Rogers Arena can maintain their ridiculous crowd 'rules.'
I guess the final point I'd like to make is that, from a guy that considers himself a huge soccer and hockey fan, that I've been to games for both Vancouver franchises. I've seen the Canucks play, and I've seen the Whitecaps play, and brother, there comparison between crowds at both events isn't even fair. Whitecaps fans blow Canucks fans out of the water when it comes to cheering for the home boys. So perhaps being thrown out was a blessing in disguise; Whitecaps fans can save all their energy for March, when the season gets going. Canucks fans can continue looking at their smart phones and half-assedly (did I just make a new word?) cheering when they feel like it.
I know which crowd I'd rather be a part of.
*This got pretty ranty towards the end. Forgive the long read.