Can You Do What Canucks’ Fan Richard Did?

Interesting story in the Vancouver Province on Tuesday about a die-hard Canucks fan who has simply abandoned ship. Could you do what he did?

Published also in theprovince.com/blogs, it’s entitled, “Richard’s Reasons For Losing Heart.”

Richard caused quite a ruckus in Vancouver the last few days. You remember Richard, the guy who posted a comment at Canucks Nation. He was just hours removed from the Canucks’ last game before the all-star break; they gave up the lead over the league-leading San Jose Sharks with just 40 seconds to go, then lost in overtime. And an exasperated Richard then snapped at his wife — which helped lead him to, well, renounce the Canucks and hockey after a 30-year affair with the team.

Well, Richard heard about the ruckus. Read the letters in The Province — many of which were supportive — and heard people talking about him on The Team 1040.

It’s not like Richard was ever in hiding. He never expected to see his name in lights. So today, Richard Beech explains himself further. Here are excerpts from a couple of letters he wrote Sports Editor Jonathan McDonald over the weekend:

ON THE HUBBUB:

“I really feel the way I described it. In fact, today I cancelled my cable. I only watched TV for news and hockey, and news I can get online. Since I’ve given up on the Canucks there is no need for the cable. My wife rarely watches television and we both feel our three-year-old is better off without it, too. We decided to read, walk, and play more to fill our time. I used to watch every Canuck game religiously, and if I couldn’t see it, I’d listen to Tom and Shorty on radio. Now that time will be devoted to my wife and child.”

ON THE JOY AND PAIN:

“I was really hopeful this year. I felt the owners were really serious about bringing a winner to Vancouver. Lately, however, I’ve lost that hope. I remember when Messier came to Vancouver and how ecstatic I was. Well, we know how that ended. I felt the same optimism with the recent acquisition of Sundin. But things have gone bad lately. I’m worried Sundin is going to be another Messier fiasco. I was terribly disappointed in the late-’90s but I wasn’t married then. Now I am.”

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE SHARKS GAME:

“My wife was online listening, with headphones, to a video on YouTube so I could enjoy the Canucks game undisturbed. After the game had ended, I was beside myself with anger at the outcome. Perhaps I was a little fatigued from work, I don’t know, but I just wasn’t myself. It hurt inside. Moments after the game, I asked my wife what she was watching on the computer, but she didn’t hear me because of the headphones. Frustrated, I got up from the couch and yanked the jack out of the input. The startled look on her face, I will never forget. I hated myself for it. An outcome of a hockey game was the catalyst for my state of mind. After apologizing, I decided that’s it. No more. I have become too attached to a sports team. It’s wrong to be so obsessed. That is when I made my decision to end my support.”

WHY CANUCKS FANS DESERVE MORE:

“We live in Vancouver and although it’s a beautiful city, it has its negative aspects. It has long, dark, rainy winters. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live. People have to work hard to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle here. Because of supply and demand dictating ticket prices, most of us can’t afford to attend games anymore. The Garage is full of a lot of corporate non-fans these days, which explains the lack of palpable passion in the stands. We haven’t won a Stanley Cup here for over 90 years. Vancouver is the third-largest Canadian city and we’ve won the Cup just once! We have been teased twice but never have received the prize since before the radio was invented.

“We’ve suffered through the Dale Tallon-Gilbert Perreault disappointment. We brought Mark Messier and Mike Keenan here. Unbelievably, the same two men mostly responsible for our defeat in the ’94 Stanley Cup finals! What the hell was that! It turned out to be the biggest slap in the Canucks fans’ face ever. Tell me another fan of a sports team that was forced to endure that type of insult?

“We watched the worst on-ice attack of another team’s player in the history of the NHL by our guy, Bertuzzi. We were ashamed. How much more convincing do you need? We the Canucks fans have time and time again been insulted, disappointed, ashamed, laughed at, mocked, betrayed, and angered. So I’m no longer satisfied with it all. I demand more.”

WHY IT WAS BETTER IN 1982:

“In 1982 we had an identity. Granted, those players didn’t make the big bucks they do now, which leads me to believe pride had more value then. But those Canucks had grit, they had heart. They had a captain who barely stood five-foot-nine and weighed 180 pounds. Stan Smyl. His number hangs from the rafters for a reason. Not because he scored a lot or had tons of points. No, his jersey hangs there because he had heart. He played with grit and we loved him! He never, I said never, backed down. He never gave up. He never quit. He led by example. He inspired his teammates. They were tough to play against and in 1982 they went to the Cup final because of it. They had no business being there, but I dare you to tell them that. That’s the type of Canucks team I want. I expect. I demand.”

SOME SIMPLE ADVICE:

“I want to let the players in the NHL know that unless you are ‘willing to tear yourself to pieces for that inch,’ as said by Pacino in Any Given Sunday, then don’t bother coming here. Unless you play with no fear, and unwavering grit, then take yourself elsewhere. To the present Canucks, I say stop comparing bank accounts and bragging about your riches. Sacrifice yourself to us fans. Work like you have never worked before. Back down from nobody. Don’t make excuses. If you do this I promise you the fans will exalt you. You will become our heroes who we will never forget.”

Province sports writers are blogging about the Canucks at theprovince.com/blogs

3 thoughts on “Can You Do What Canucks’ Fan Richard Did?”

  1. Wow… that’s…. wow….. As a die hard Habs fan, I can kind relate to maybe being too emotionally involved sometimes but I’d never give up the Habs….

  2. Though there’s nothing wrong with being a loving fan, and I understand if one gets disheartened after being a fan for so long with nothing to really show for but disappointment; if it goes to the point where the general ups and downs border upon the manic depressive/anger impulses, then I don’t think it’s healthy to be so attached. It’s something that bothers me on our forums, in our papers, on the tv, and radio… why people go so crazy. I feel it’s best not to take it so personal for one’s own sake and for the sake of those around them. I think he probably did the right thing, that it’s best this man takes a vacation from the game as a fan, and who knows, maybe he’ll like it better that way. And when his team does something great, it’ll surprise him enough to make him happy just the same.

    Would I ever do the same? No. I don’t attach myself so much emotionally to them like that. I love the team and the game all the same, through the good and the bad, and if it’s bad, I shrug it off and see tomorrow is another day where I hope they’ll try again. Only the actions of other fans bother me and make it hard for me to enjoy the team, but by then I’ve closed my notebook and gone off to do something else. Those dark times of the mid/late-90s were hard to live through though. Thankfully I didn’t have internet then.

    With 30 teams are all eyeing that one prize, 29 teams will have fans disappointed and one will hold the parade. C’est la vie d’hockey.

  3. Richard sounds like a pre-Roy Habber. I don’t believe that he has completely given up on the Canuckleheads, he is simply in the process of maturing as a hockey fan – a canucklehead, he is no longer. Now, if only the rest of the `tribe’ would take his words to heart, it wouldn’t be 90 yrs until their next Cup. Of course, my less than secret dread is that we have been slowly spiraling down to the same level of expectations that defines the Canuckleheads. Yeah, a lot of complacent Hab fans would be well advised to heed his words as well.

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