Towel Power [wiki] is as much a fixture of Canuck playoff dreams as the “Believe” sign and TSN/CBC personalities’ anti-Vancouver commentary.
As the Canucks coach during a 1982 playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he [Roger Neilson] felt his team was unfairly penalized on several occasions during the third period. He took a white trainer’s towel and held it on a hockey stick, as if to wave a white flag. Three other Canucks players did the same thing, and all were ejected from the game. By doing this, Neilson inadvertently started an NHL tradition. Canucks fans waved white towels by the thousands at the next game, a play off tradition that continues to this day and that is widely copied by other hockey teams and by other sports as well [wiki]
The 2003-2004 season was the last time the Canucks made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately the run didn’t last long, thanks to the stinkin’ Calgary Flames. Towels were handed out at games and those who still had them, waved their 1994 Cup-run souvenirs with pride.
A few weeks ago former Canuck, Peter Schaefer pulled a little Towel Power of his own, unfortunately, it cost him a nice chunk of change.
Schaefer took a page from legendary coach Roger Neilson, who during a 1982 playoff game against the Blackhawks felt his team was unfairly penalized. He took a white trainer’s towel and held it on a hockey stick, as if to wave a white flag. Three other Canucks players did the same thing, and all were ejected from the game [TSN]
The Canucks are sitting at 27-19-2 with the league’s best goalie as displayed in last night’s All Star Super Skills competition [canada.com], and they are riding high along with all those on the bandwagon. Sure we get silly and plan parade routes in jest, hoping and wanting that Cup to make its home in Vancouver. I find myself often wondering about the white towels that will be handed out at our first playoff games. Will they have the Orca logo, or the fan-favourite stink in rink ? Â Hmm.
Towel power has its place in Canuck hockey pride, it signifies making it to the playoffs and standing together as one crowd cheering on our team. In a city of champions (CFL, USL, WHL) it’s about time we added NHL to the list.
(Towel Power photo is a snapshot from the Roger Neilson tribute)