I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is a certain indescribable hockey aesthetic created when Vancouver Canucks fans occupy Rogers Arena. Along with a unique energy, I’m not sure if it’s the lighting, the acoustics, the colour scheme, or a combination of all of the above, but it’s a festive feeling.
Word came down Tuesday morning that the Canucks will once again be playing in front of 100% capacity crowds starting this week.
“I think it’ll be awesome, if the atmosphere is anything near what the Leafs game was, this is quite a building to play in when you’re having a little bit of success,” said Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. “I welcome it, I hope the crowd is as loud as it can be, and I know the players love it, and we want to make this a really difficult place for other teams to come in and have success.”
Boudreau speaks from experience, but from a limited sample size, both in terms of crowd capacity and number of games. The Canucks have gone 7-2-2 at Rogers Arena since he arrived. Their one shoot-out loss came to the Florida Panthers five nights before their overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, with a regulation defeat to the St. Louis Blues wedged in-between. The club’s only other home loss with ‘Gabby’ at the helm came last week to the New York Islanders.
The capacity news came down while Canucks forward Tanner Pearson answered questions from the media on Tuesday.
“I think that’s fantastic, that’s the first time I’ve heard,” said Pearson. “I think that’s great, like we’ve said, this building can get rocking. Especially coming down the stretch here making our push, we have a lot of home games, it’s gonna be nice to have them at full force and cheering us on for sure.”
The timing works out well in terms of the importance of the next Canucks home game. Saturday night Vancouver hosts the Anaheim Ducks, one of the teams standing directly between them and a playoff spot. The Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are tied for third place in the Pacific Division and for the 2nd and final Western Conference wild card playoff spot with 55 points. The Kings host the Oilers Tuesday night, the Ducks are in Calgary on Wednesday.
Being intra-Pacific Division, Saturday’s match between the Canucks and Ducks becomes a “4-point-game” in front of a packed house.
In the last full, non-Covid-interrupted season, the Vancouver Canucks failed to make the playoffs in 2018-’19 and had a home record of 20-16-and-5. This season all told under both coaches the record stands at 10-9-and-3.
The American Hockey League Abbotsford Canucks will benefit from the announcement as well, however the Abby Canucks don’t play at home again until February 25th.