She had the passion. She was tight with the Canucks back then - went to some parties, later she would tell me tales like Glen Hanlon diving through a pyramid of emptied beer cups on a bar, and that Harold Snepsts, a very shy guy, had asked her after several beers to marry him. They were regular guys, not getting paid much in sporting terms, but having tons of fun.
My first game was in 1977. I have the program somewhere. I think Chris Oddleifson was on the cover - I think it was an October game and the ticket cost less than $10. Every year I made sure I got out to a few games, but between radio, tv, and in person, I don't think I missed more than a dozen games from 1980 to 1990.
The Canucks were my passion too. I collected all the cards. I had the pennants. I lived and died with them. I mostly died with them. But there was a magical few weeks in '82... we owned the 'Hawks back then ;) . It's funny how long you can go as a fan on so little success.
But as the decade turned I was getting into late teens and life began to make other priorities and the Canucks had to take a backseat more often. But the passion was still burning hot when in '94 a somewhat surprising playoff run turned into one of NHL history's best Stanley Cup final ever, and we wept with Captain Kirk and Trev when it was all over.
Then years - has it been 16? Again so long with so little. More life has taken me away - I used to know every name, every number, every stat worth following - now, I know much, but a shadow of what I used to. I have children, and a very time-consuming job. I don't even know who "we're" playing some nights or what the score was the last night. Blasphemy, I know.
But the passion still burns like an ember, not like one in the middle of a raging campfire, like in the '80s, nor one as the fire is being stoked, like in the '90s, but you know that one ember that's there the next morning that you use to light the fire again for breakfast - that's the one now.
So I still feel the pain, the loss, when the playoffs end without the Canucks hoisting the Cup. I still feel the sense of longing. The burrowing worm in the back of my skull asking if I'll ever see it happen.
Which may be why my kids both have jerseys, why my boy today - who can hardly yet speak a word - pointed to my Canucks crest and said "Cnkks" and then clapped to himself, and why they know to cheer only for the team with the orca, because, for forever and a day, "those are our Canucks."