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Canucks Towel Power

January 24th, 2007 @ 9:01am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

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 [604]?  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)

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7 comments

  1. zanstorm says:

    Wow, you found a picture of Nielson holding up the towel. There aren’t a lot of those floating around are there?

    For the first time, the Nucks have a world-class goalie. Imagine the possibilities of playoff success with Luongo in net….
    Honestly, I think Naslund needs to step up. If not, he needs to go NOW! I swore an oath that Naslund would never raise a Cup, especially not as captain! I wish he’d prove me wrong…

  2. Miss604 says:

    Yeah I just took a snapshot from a R.N. tribute I found on YouTube – it really *IS* a hard pic to find.

  3. [...] Jim Robson: Much more than simply a broadcast gondola in GM Place, from 1970 until 1999 he was the voice of the Canucks on radio and television. Jim Robson started on CKNW and also did West coast coverage on Hockey Night in Canada. In 1994 he stepped down from radio work and did television – covering our infamous cup run with the Rangers. For Canuck fans over the last three decades, Jim Robson’s voice is as much a part of the team’s legacy as Roger Nielson’s towel waving. [...]

  4. [...] I’ll throw a few names out there… Miracle Mile, Rick Hansen, Roger Nielson’s towel power, 1915 Stanley Cup victory… or maybe even that new indoor sport called “when [...]

  5. [...] They’re more than likely towel power. 3. Jersey insults hmm… are they saying they might unveil the rumoured third jersey that [...]

  6. [...] thing I love more than local history is local hockey history, from towel power to the earlier years with Cyclone [...]

  7. [...] crowd was charged in GM Place and towel power was out in full force. The Go Canucks Go chants seemed never-ending and despite several poor calls, [...]

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