Football supporters at a hockey game: Oil and water?
We got a little indication in Vancouver last night as a group of Whitecaps supporters decided to take in a Canucks game and tried to add a little soccer style atmosphere to a usually quiet Rogers Arena.
It had mixed results. But it's certainly got people talking.
The Canucks earned a narrow 2-1 victory over Minnesota Wild. They now sit five points back of Chicago with 36 matches still to play. Should they catch the Blackhawks, it would be their third straight President’s Trophy as league champions. Still reading??!
Kristjan Aug at BC Place on 1 September 2013.
In many ways, it was a typical night for the boys in blue. It was their 414th sellout on the trot. They’ve now won their last six matches. And as ever, there was a goaltending controversy with Roberto Luongo getting the nod over Corey Schneider. Yawn.
The night also featured a special appearance by their ‘noisy neighbours’, who made the short march to the westside of the upper bowl. We spoke to one of their number, Kristjan Aug, after the match.
"It’s a great community to be a part of. We are always supporting the Whitecaps first, trying to have fun, do as many social activities as we can, but it’s always Whitecaps first. It’s great to be part of the family."
On Tuesday, the family as he calls it, was 75-strong, with many more following at home and on twitter. As a group, they marched into the stadium, their chants and their songs filling the concourse until they reached their seats in the upper bowl, taking the last several rows of their section.
"Well, going to Rogers Arena, I was hoping that we could provide some atmosphere, supply some energy, and some chants that maybe the other Canucks fans haven’t seen yet. We had a great time, certainly did most of the chants we were hoping for. It was pretty much a positive response."
To that end, they sang new songs such as "We all dream of a team of Sedins" put to the tune of 'Yellow Submarine’ by the Beatles; and classics like "Boundary Road, take me home, to place where I belong, Vancouver, pretty mama, take me home, Boundary Road," which is set to the tune of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver. There was also a wonderful tribute sung to the sadly departed Rick Rypien.
And they were a hit - at least at first.
Kristjan Aug at BC Place on 3 October 2012.
"The people in our general area, around our section, they took a pretty positive response, clapped along with us, maybe they didn’t follow along with the lyrics or the chants, but we weren’t expecting that. Certainly they clapped along, joined in, as much as they cared to participate with, but yeah, it was a fun time in the general area."
If Rogers Arena is the successor to the Pacific Coliseum, then perhaps it is fitting that a Roman proverb comes to mind, 'Damnant quod non intellegunt,' which can be translated as 'people always fear what they don't understand'.
Kristjan Aug in the First Leg of the 2012 Yellowhead Cup at Clarke Stadium on 2 May 2012.
"Well, there were certainly some issues with security. They thought we were standing more than we should have. We definitely had a little bit of a talk with security, but nothing more than I would have expected."
"It seemed to be a little bit of a learning curve for them. By them, I say the Canucks fans in general. They were a little bit more reserved than we normally are. We’re normally outgoing, singing and chanting, and all that kind of stuff. They’re more used to sitting back and watching the game. There was a bit of a culture clash there, but they certainly enjoyed it, joined in with us, and it was a good time overall."
For Kristjan Aug, it was an eye-opening experience that will not be soon forgot. He had come to Rogers Arena to broaden the horizons of his neighbours, exposing them to supporter culture. In his view, the Arena did not need to be quiet, sombre, and reserved, as it so often is. This was a sporting event, an opportunity to show true passion, and he would encourage others to do likewise.
"I wasn’t overly impressed personally with security and the way they treated us. Just in general the way they treated us. They sort of viewed us as outsiders rather than participants. That’s the way they seemed to look at it, that 'we were there to cause a ruckus', and we really weren’t. We were there to support the team and they didn’t really understand the supporters’ culture versus the fan culture."