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The Vancouver Canucks held their annual State of the Franchise Meeting last week. Lisa Ovens attends and offers up her take on the event in another load of "Canuck Laundry". For Canuck Laundry Part One, please click here



Canuck Laundry Part Two: State of the Franchise


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Lisa Ovens
Sunday, July 27th, 2008

A larger than life Mike Gillis on the massive scoreboard, lowered to just above floor level at the S.O.F meeting

I attended the Canucks annual State of the Franchise Meeting for season ticket holders on Wednesday night. I have attended these events since 2003, and this one was different than all of the others. Yes, the food was decent, and the event staff was awesome as usual. From my perspective the difference was the energy in the room. This was the first time I didn’t detect any real excitement in the crowd. The only way I can describe it was subdued.

We were going through the motions: arrive, fill up a plate with food. Eat. Look around, and then listen. On the other side of the podium things weren’t much different. The Vancouver Canucks brass was going through the motions as well: praising their hockey operations staff, offering little displays of awe and gratitude for Canuck fan loyalty, and repeating the same comments used from recent press conferences, interviews and Mats Sundin chats.  

Sadly, season ticket holders were not treated to any important announcements or news. The main one would be Trevor Linden’s retirement. I for one would have been very pleased to hear an actual game date announcement for Linden’s farewell ceremony. Season ticket holders need to make plans and would benefit from knowing which game will honor Trevor so they don’t miss it.

It wasn’t all sub par. I did enjoy the segment with the training staff, where we had the opportunity to learn some inside information regarding player’s off season conditioning and how it is all tracked through emails and a special website.

New Canucks Assistant Coach Ryan Walter motivates the crowd with one simple hand gesture!

Plus it was fabulous to see Ryan Walter address the crowd for the first time as a Canucks Assistant Coach. He will specialize in offensive strategies – something the team AND the fans should be happy about. Walter was the play choreographer for the movie Miracle. I’ve seen that movie several times, and he did a fantastic job breaking down each play from the historic 1980 Team USA games, then teaching the moves to the actors so the end product would look extremely accurate. Ryan Walter also has experience with motivational speaking, and after seeing him up close on the big screen, he’s looking rather buff.

General Manager, Mike Gillis seemed relaxed and confident. He said he “thinks we’ve done enough to make the playoffs”, referring to the changes in player personnel. Yet at another point in his commentary he mentioned he’d “partially addressed the scoring issue.” Some Canuck fans might be confused by these two statements. Scoring was a big issue that contributed to the team not making the playoffs last season.

So we do not know if Mats Sundin is coming to Vancouver, we do not know when Trevor Linden’s retirement ceremony will be, we don’t know where the other part of the scoring is supposed to come from, but they did tell us there will be a third jersey. (Geez, how many more new looks do the Canucks need? For some people that just might be enough for them to move over to the Red Wings camp, and not look back.)

This event was streamed live on the Internet, and according to Canucks CEO Chris Zimmerman, 11, 000 people watched it online. Because of the streaming, the State of the Franchise felt like we were watching the taping of a TV show, rather than the town hall meeting feel of events past. Gone were the roving ticket account managers, handing microphones to season ticket holders to ask questions of the General Manager and staff.

Instead, a handful of questions were pre- selected at least a week ago from ticket holder’s online registration forms, and most likely the answers were pre written and rehearsed.

All in all it was a carefully orchestrated meeting from start to finish, with a thick layer of generalization, topped with a healthy sprinkle of vague.

I don’t think GM Mike Gillis even mentioned Kyle Wellwood’s name.


The third load of Canuck Laundry is coming up this week. Lisa will examine “The Canuck Fan Condition”.

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The Playoff Planet Spins

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