Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Clarence Campbell Bowls: A Life

Some of my earliest memories are of Ivan Boldirev, King Richard Brodeur, Rick Lanz, Harold Snepts and Stan Smyl in their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1982. I was 6 years old, watching those games on the couch with my dad. Smyl and Snepts are pictured hoisting the Clarence Campbell Bowl here.

That playoff saw the birth of "Towel Power", and I remember it vividly. Lifting this trophy was the last moment of sheer joy for Canucks fans, however, as they went on to be swept in four games by Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, and the New York Islanders.

In 1994 Trevor Linden hoisted the trophy after Greg Adams scored in double overtime of the fifth game to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and get the Canucks to the Stanely Cup finals for the second time. I was 18 years old. It was mayhem. I attended two games live, took part in many victory parades, and watched most games with brothers and a group of a dozen friends from high school. It was unreal. There would be some big wins in the final series but - coming up one goal short in game seven to the New York Rangers - the Clarence Campbell Bowl would prove to be the Vancouver Canucks' only prize.

Quite memorably, when Linden lifted the trophy that year the lid came off. Sometime since then there began a tradition of not even accepting the award, since the real goal was the Stanley Cup. A few have not gone along with this superstition, but I kind of enjoyed the fact that, last night, after another double overtime game five winner, 17 years since the Canucks were last in this position, Henrik Sedin did not even touch it.

The Canucks are 40. This year I will turn 36. There have been many uniform changes over the years for both of us, and now I have a family of my own to help me cheer. Somewhat sadly, however, we'll be watching these finals in the middle of the night on spotty internet feeds an ocean away from fans, family, and friends from seasons past.

But such is life. I'm just glad they are not playing anyone from New York.

1 comment:

Tony Tanti said...

Great post Jon. Wish you were here to watch with us.

I remember those 94 parties well, it was a truly magical spring/summer that I've never quite gotten over.