Sports

Lots to cheer about, eventually, at North Delta’s Canucks view party

The city was the first in the Lower Mainland to host viewing parties, beginning with Game 1 in the first round

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When the Edmonton Oilers opened the scoring just a couple of minutes into their Round 2 series opener at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night, a lonely voice could be heard shouting “Yes! Yes!”

To reward his enthusiasm, Marco Robin’s friends knocked the Oilers hat off his head.

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“I’ve been an Oilers fan since I was two,” the 13-year-old said.

His glory lasted until the third period, when the Canucks scored three goals

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for a 5-4 come-from-behind win

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DELTA, British Columbia, May 8, 2024 – Menphis Heaton (left), Nate Spencer, Marco Robin and Markus Jawanda at the North Delta viewing party for the Canucks opening game of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, at Heart Social Plaza.
Memphis Heaton (left), Nate Spencer, Marco Robin and Markus Jawanda at the North Delta viewing party for the Canucks opening game of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, at Heart Social Plaza. Photo by GORD MCINTYRE /PNG

Hundreds gathered at North Delta’s Social Heart Plaza to watch the game on a 55-square-foot screen in lawn chairs and on blankets. A few left after the first period ended with Edmonton up 2-0 and the sun beginning to dip, lowering the temperature from a balmy 20C to a chillier 14C by game’s end.

North Delta has been hosting viewing parties every playoff game since the Canucks’ first game against Nashville, and the crowd was composed almost entirely of families and people with their dogs.

“Yes, it’s their first hockey game, at least outside of my living room,” Simran Dhillon said of Cooper, a husky malamute cross, and Luna, a silver shepherd. “I Googled to see if I could bring them and it’s OK if they’re on a leash, it’s great.”

Simran Dhillon loves that she can bring her dogs Luna (pink harness) and Cooper to the Canucks viewing party in North Delta's Social Heart Plaza.
Simran Dhillon loves that she can bring her dogs Luna (pink harness) and Cooper to the Canucks viewing party in North Delta’s Social Heart Plaza. Photo by GORD MCINTYRE /PNG

Even with the sun behind the big screen before it set, you could see the game clearly.

Across the street at Ecole Elementaire Richardson a dozen young men played cricket, while overhead planes descended for their landings at Vancouver International Airport.

Kids ran around unsupervised like it was 1970, converging on the adjacent playground and inside the next-door recreation centre.

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About 400 people were in attendance, according to Delta police, one of the few municipal forces in the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver and, established in 1888, one of the oldest forces in the province.

A handful of officers in uniform and one or two more in plain clothes kept an eye on the event, which has grown in attendance since the first viewing party for Game 1 in the opening round.

“Most games, if the Canucks lose everyone goes home upset,” one officer said. “If the Canucks win, a lot of them go to 72nd and Scott Road.”

That location has become a raucous post-game celebration area, with up to 1,000 people showing up before Wednesday’s game, the officer said.

Eateries from just up the road offered goodies, and were doing brisk business.

“Every game we’ve been busier,” said Sandra Till of Altmaertker Deli.

Her sausages are made in-house, her sandwiches and schnitzel looked mouth-watering, and there was a selection of German candies.

Despite wearing a Roberto Luongo No. 1 jersey, she admitted she has a soft spot for Edmonton star forward and fellow German Leon Draisaitl.

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“But I’m a Canucks fan, my favourite player is Christian Ehrhoff,” she said of a former defenceman who went to the Stanley Cup Final with the Canucks in 2011.

Grace Sabatini (left) and her sister Sofia of Cravings Coffee just down the street from North Delta's Canucks view party at Social Heart Plaza, ran out of fresh-baked goodies and refreshments the first night the view party was held.
Grace Sabatini (left) and her sister Sofia of Cravings Coffee just down the street from North Delta’s Canucks view party at Social Heart Plaza, ran out of fresh-baked goodies and refreshments the first night the view party was held. Photo by GORD MCINTYRE /PNG

In a booth next to her, Grace Sabatini and her sister Sofia were watching their fresh-baked goodies and refreshments from Cravings Coffee fly off the table.

“The first night it was really, really cold and we were super, super busy, we ran out of everything,” she said, “so we’ve learned to bake more goodies.”

The cinnamon buns are the biggest hit, she said.

Only three Oilers jerseys were spotted, but there was no booing as there was a few days earlier at the Canucks viewing party inside Rogers Arena when a couple of brave Nashville fans showed up in Predators gear.

One other jersey stuck out, a No. 1 Dan Cloutier sweater worn by 10-year-old Pyper Heaton, a goalie with the Richmond Selects.

“He was my dad’s favourite player,” she said. “And he’s my favourite player.”

Mike Everett loves the fact he can wander down the street with a lawn chair and bottle of water and catch the Canucks win Game 1 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoffs series against the Edmonton Oilers.
Mike Everett loves the fact he can wander down the street with a lawn chair and bottle of water and catch the Canucks win Game 1 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoffs series against the Edmonton Oilers. Photo by GORD MCINTYRE /PNG

Meanwhile, Mike Everett hopes his pre-game prognosis was wrong.

“I’m hoping for a split at home,” he said just before the opening faceoff. “I don’t think we can beat the Oilers two games straight.”

[email protected]/gordmcintyre

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