Canucks staff, security reaction have Whitecaps' Southsiders singing the blues
Standing, chanting during Tuesday's NHL game doesn't go over well with other fans, as two people ejected
Vancouver Southsiders, the main supporters group of Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps, on their feet during Tuesday night's Vancouver Canucks-Minnesota Wild National Hockey League game at Rogers Arena. Things didn't turn out so well in the end.
Photograph by: Duncan Nicol, @VanCityVilla, Twitter photo
VANCOUVER — The Southsiders are going to stick to soccer.
Unhappy with the reception they received Tuesday night from Canucks staff and security personnel at Rogers Arena, the group of boisterous Vancouver Whitecaps supporters don't plan a return visit any time soon.
About 75 of the Southsiders attended the game between the Canucks and Minnesota Wild and sat in the back rows of Section 301 in the upper bowl of Rogers Arena. They stood, chanted and sang for much of the first period, but during the first intermission were visited by several security officers and Canucks staff.
"We did a version of what we do at Whitecaps games," Southsiders president Brett Graham said Wednesday. "We were standing and singing and chanting and clapping. It seemed to go great for the first period and then during intermission a whole bunch of security and Canucks staff came up and told us we weren't allowed to stand.
"And at that point I think two, possibly three, of our members got ejected. And from then on only the back row was allowed to stand."
Canucks chief operating officer Victor de Bonis acknowledged that the Southsiders' appearance caught the team by surprise. But he was satisfied with the way the organization handled the matter.
"Overall, I think it was a very good experience to have gone through," de Bonis said. "We had our most senior (security) people go up there just to make sure everything would be okay. For the most part I thought it was really good.
"There were couple of people in seats who blocked the view of others and that is where it got a little complicated. We are really sensitive to making sure everyone can see the game … there were two Southsiders that ended up having to be evicted."
Graham said the Southsiders were taken aback by the response they received from the Canucks. But he also acknowledged that it might have helped matters had the group notified the Canucks in advance that it was coming.
"I just felt like when you go do something and pay money and you spend half the time with security telling you what you can and can not do," Graham said. "Like, really was it hurting anyone? I really don't think so. Most people seemed genuinely happy with what we were doing. I'm sure some people didn't like what we were doing, but none of those people expressed themselves to us. I think we are very polite about things so when you go to do something and are given a bad time for it you are very unlikely to do it again."
The Southsiders, who boast more than 700 members, came to Tuesday night's game armed with a special selection of Canucks songs.
"We have a long song sheet of things we do at Whitecaps games," Graham said. "We carried over the ones that were Vancouver-oriented and then there are other ones that very easily translated to the Sedins and we did a tribute to Rick Rypien, that kind of thing. It was kind of a watered-down version of what we do at Whitecaps games."
De Bonis said the Canucks would be open to creating a special section for fans who wish to stand during games. But the logistics of creating such a space, given the large number of season-ticket holders, make it difficult.
"We have been trying to figure out a way to accommodate something like that because I think it would be really good,” he said. "But people would have to relocate … there are for sure fans at the game who want to be in a more fan-centric section. It's just that people have had their seats for a long time and they like sitting there. It's one of those things where you have to make it a win-win for everybody and we haven't been able to do that yet."
Graham said the Southsiders will now focus their passion on their true love: the Whitecaps.
"I don't think it's something we'll do again," he said. "Our main thing is the Whitecaps and supporting them and that season starts in two weeks. I don't know if there would be much interest in us to organize anything else with the Canucks this year."
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