My Epic Roadtrip. NHL Playoffs – Vancouver 1994

At this time in 1994 I was on an epic road trip.  One worthy of any Animal House camera crew and probably John Belushi himself.

I was living with a few friends at the time, one of whom was a rabid Vancouver Canucks fan.  We would get off of work from the video store which we both worked in, drink beer and drive his girlfriend absolutely nuts.  I am actually ashamed to say it now but she fled to their bedroom while us guys hooted and shouted urging the Canucks on.

Vancouver Canucks logo back in 1994

We hatched a plot, if the Canucks made it to round three of the playoffs we would be there.  We didn’t have a car or any money, but then again sober and intelligent is no way to plan an epic road trip.  We had a couple of cases of beer, a team to follow and a dream.

Making the Sign

It so happened that my roommate Chris, whose family’s video store I worked at in Fort Frances, parents had a car that would probably get us over the Rocky Mountains and back.  If we could snag the car and finagle an advance on our pay AND get tickets we would be well on our way.

Yours truly with my friend Sandi.

Luckily we also had allies we could count on in this reckless adventure.  My dear friend Sandi who just happened to live in Vancouver could be counted on to snag tickets as soon as they went on sale and give us a floor to sleep on.  My Aunt Marilyn lived in Chilliwack, B.C. and could be counted on to let us sleep at her place and feed us for a night or two.

The playoffs were a struggle for the Canucks, many games went into overtime. The first round vs the Calgary Flames found the Canucks’ goaltender Kirk McLean standing on his head blocking shot after shot with every body part available including his skate tips.  Game 7 went into triple overtime and Pavel Bure finally scored the series winner to advance to the second round  against the Dallas Stars.

Trevor Linden warming up

Against all odds we plead our case to Chris’s parents we had tickets, we had secured advance wages from the store to fund our trip all we needed was their car.  Much like #16 and the Canucks advancing, somehow the deal was done.

Pavel Bure in warm up. 1994 NHL playoffs vs Toronto Maple Leafs.

Another buddy, Tequila Neil, piled in at the last moment getting us all a bed in Calgary.  The N.B.C. Vancouver or Bust Tour was born.

Tequila Neil after a night out in Vancouver

Three against the world we set off towards the prairies like Hobbits from our own shire.  We had the road trip of our young lives.  Electric Avenue and Lake Louise fell beneath our heels.  The Rockies yielded to our advance.

Outside the Pacific Coliseum, Sandi and Chris.

The third round of the playoffs and Vancouver greeted us like a warm embrace after a long winter shivering in the cold.  We came from the home of the opponent Maple Leafs, but we cheered for the Canucks.  No one could believe our moxie.  We carried signs calling for the neutering of Felix Potvin.  Interviewed by the Vancouver Sun cheering on our team and mocking Don Cherry.

Canucks win sweeter than Cherry Whine. Our interview with the Vancouver Sun

The Canucks were victorious in the series vs the Maple Leafs, the two games we saw showcased the stick and the fist.  Pavel Bure was on fire as was the backbone of the team Captain Trevor Linden.  To be honest Kirk McLean didn’t see too much action in the 2-0 and 4-0 shut out victories but played his heart out just the same.

When I watch the NHL Playoffs this year and see the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel in action with Roberto Luongo I get shivers.  The same shivers I got in 1994 watching Pavel Bure rocketing up the ice and scoring at will.

Bure on breakaway against the Leafs.

The 94′ Canucks went to game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals vs the New York Rangers to lose to Mark Messier and his prophetic promise of delivering the cup to Manhattan.  I’ve listened to the wind for another such promise and I haven’t heard one yet, but that strange wind rushing over the Rocky’s again this year and it’s singing Oh Canada.

Go Canucks Go!!


12 responses to “My Epic Roadtrip. NHL Playoffs – Vancouver 1994

  1. A good hockey game is great. One day I will be over and watch a NHL match.

    • Well being Swedish I guess you appreciate a good hockey game. Don’t let all of that “football” rot your northern brain. Stay frosty!

      Oh and thanks for not making fun of my rockin’ porno ‘stache. Thing is even then I knew it looked like hell, go figure!

  2. Awesome post!

    I was 10 yrs old when the canucks where in the SC in ’82. It was the only reason my parents agreed to get a tv. lol suckers!!!
    To this day I still wave my original Canucks have Beaver Power ….EH! Towel. 🙂 Ya I know… you’re jealous.

    • Thanks for Stopping in J. S.! So glad that I could bring back happy memories of a previous cup run. Sounds like a cool towel, would love to see a pic of it.

  3. What happened to Tequila Neil?

    • Well let’s just say he wasn’t a morning person, and another drunken idiot shoving a camera in your face first thing in the morning probably deserves more than just a hand in the face.

      I actually haven’t spoken to Chris or Neil in a few years. Chris still lives in Fort Frances. Neil, I really don’t know where he went off to?

  4. So funny, living in Tampa & being from Chicago a few weeks ago, I went to watch The Lightning play The Blackhawks. It was like being torn between 2 lovers lol, sounds like you had an awesome trip, I just drove across town & watched on the big screens that are mounted above the ice but it was fun nonetheless. When…note the hint of optimism…When the Lightning wins the Stanley Cup, the city will erupt in celebration and then maybe I can share some pics of me with some signs too. 🙂 My trip across town won’t be nearly as much of an adventure as your 1994 trip. Glad you had that experience

  5. Funny that I stumble upon this an hour before Game 7…I love it, has to be fate right? Canucks are going to CRUSH the hawks tonight.

    • Just sat down to watch the game myself. GO CANUCKS GO!!

      • WHAT AN AMAZING GAME. Burrows is the hero of Vancouver right now, you should have seeeeeeeen the crowd on Granville St last night. I’m pretty sure to most of us defeating the Blackhawks is almost as sweet as Stanley Cup victory.

  6. I can just imagine the scene Noelle. It was pretty crazy when I was there in 94, but the Canucks under Linden won those games pretty easily.

    The emotion that I was feeling on my couch cheering on the Canucks from Winnipeg was electric it must have felt like someone let a bomb off in the Rogers Arena when they scored in overtime.

    Welcome to the blog, please feel free to look around and comment on anything you like.

    Go Canucks Go!!