An Eastbournian Abroad with Ashley McMillan: Oh Those Crazy Canucks!

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Ok, so you knew it would happen! As soon as I tentatively proclaimed that spring was well and truly set in and summer could be just around the corner, the weather has been, well…miserable! Will we ever get to summer here? Everyone is willing the warmer temperatures and sunnier days, but everything around British Columbia just seems to be a good few weeks behind where we would normally expect it to be at this time of year. This effects everything, from our general mood, travelling ‘day-trippers’ coming up to visit Whistler, bear food such as their berries which have yet to really bloom and provide much needed nourishment and of course, on a wider scale, has effected crop growth on the whole around the farmlands.

Speaking of which, there are tons of sightings of the furry little devils. Admittedly, you may have to move out of the main pedestrian village to see them, but they’re everywhere. This may be in part because of the lower than usual snow line at this time of year, forcing them to come lower in search of food. It my also be as simple as they know there is more abundant food in and around the valley area – It is their playground after all and I guess they should know by now where the best food hotspots are. I know I do, but I guess we may dine in different circles!

Of the events, other than summer, which we know will definitely hit town over the next week or so are the long board championships, where those with nerves of steel (or no common sense at all!!!), clad in distinguished leather, hurl themselves on a long ‘skateboard’ down the winding road that navigates our Olympic bobsled track at speeds of up to around 100 kph. Sounds appealing, no?!

Also happening just over a week from now is the re-introduction of the infamous local running trail race ‘Comfortably Numb’. This is actually a trail running race set on what is ordinarily considered a mountain bike trail (imagine sitting on a 25km bike ride that literally rides you like a bucking bronco and you get the picture of why it’s called ‘numb’!), over very undulating terrain, covered with tree roots, rocks and this year…snow! That damn white stuff simply won’t let us get on with our ‘summer’ events! According to the event organizer, there is still apparently around 2 kms or terrain with as much as 2 foot of snow in places. It should be fun..??!

One notable event worthy of a mention as it has appeared in previous articles is the NHL Stanley cup. The Vancouver Canucks had managed to outplay, out manoeuvre and outscore all of their opponents to reach the best of 7 games play-off final against the Boston Bruins. Suffice to say that EVERYONE across BC and the lower mainland area was glued to their TV sets and had arduously followed every move, slap shot, fight and power play. However, despite winning their initial home games, Boston really handed it to the Canucks with a true display of desire and one which saw them beat our boys quite handsomely back on their US soil. So, back to Vancouver for game 7, the deciding game of the finals. This was to be it. It was all or nothing, everything to play for, probably the biggest game of all these players lives. The streets of downtown Vancouver were closed in parts as the literal thousands of fans flocked in their huge masses to watch the downtown live screens and soak up the vibrant party atmosphere. This was their moment, but unfortunately the boys from Boston hadn’t read their script quite the same way and once again took the game to the Canucks.

It wasn’t pretty and it was tough to watch at times, but the Bruins really showed their class and clear hunger for the win which they duly took at 4-0. Needless to say this was well won and they obviously deserved their rewards. Unfortunately though, over the last few hours since the game has ended I’ve seen one too many shots of ‘idiots’ rioting, overturning cars, setting vehicles on fire and running with the police. I honestly, perhaps somewhat naively, never thought I’d see Canadians behave this way. Sure, other countries saw this kind of thing, but the relaxed, easy going Canadians, surely not?! It will surely make all of the next several morning’s headlines, for all the wrong reasons and the scenes were probably more of an embarrassment to the vast majority of anyone who was unfortunate enough to witness them. More than likely a few liquored up individuals who cause trouble for everyone else, but whoever they were and whatever their reasons, I’m sure that they’ll get their “just desserts’ and their day in court!

So that’s it. The hockey season is finally over. It’s a long, long season and for those soccer (sorry my English compardres – football) widows, trust me when I say that there’s a lot, lot more hockey games each season than you have to endure. That said, roll on the Charity Shield. Can’t be long to the kick off now can it?