Vancouver is mired in an unprecedented state of losing amongst its sports teams
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
In 2011, Vancouver sports could not have been in a better place.
With the Vancouver Whitecaps winning their inaugural season in Major League Soccer (MLS), the Vancouver Canucks making it to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals (subsequent rioting aside), the Vancouver Canadians championing the North West League (NWL) in their first season, and the BC Lions winning the Grey Cup at home in their newly renovated BC Place Stadium, Vancouver sports shined. Who could have predicted that by the end of the decade, the cities teams would be scraping the bottom of the barrel finishing near the bottom in every case?
First there was the Whitecaps, who after losing rising Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies, completely plummeted this season—finishing last in the Western Conference, and as the second worst team in the league behind only the expansion FC Cincinnati. Not only that, but the Whitecaps also suffered from off the pitch issues, with allegations of sexual misconduct brought upon the team by members of the Whitecaps women’s team from 2008. The team was accused of not taking the allegations seriously enough. The incident caused widespread anger amongst the teams’ fans, who showed their frustration by walking out of their game multiple times during the season.
The Canucks, Lions, and Canadians can be thankful that at least their terrible situation is just on the field. The Canucks finished last season with the out of the playoffs and finished fifth in the Pacific Division and 23rd in the league. Sure, they are rebuilding—but it is such a far cry from the team that came one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup for the first time.
The Lions, while rebounding as of late, are last in the Western Division and will have to hope for some luck if they wish to make the playoffs (though that hope may be gone since they lost to the Edmonton Eskimos this week). Same with the Canucks, the Lions are also rebuilding with a new head coach. Devon Claybrooks is now at the helm of the team. Still, not being able to win your first home game until September 13, and going 1-10 before that is a very poor showing.
The Canadians also finished last in the NWL, but when it comes to a development team like the Canadians, you are not in as much control as a professional team. For the crowds, if it’s a sunny day, there’s ice cream and foot-long hot dogs, they are not really focused or interested in the standings and scores.
It hasn’t all been bad news though. In the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Vancouver Giants came within one game of reaching the Memorial Cup this year, falling to the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL Championship. Additionally in eSports, the inaugural season of the Vancouver Titans has seen the team make it all the way to the Grand Finale of the Overwatch League. Sure, the sports purists may not consider eSports “sports,” but in times of great struggle, Vancouver sports fans should take what they can get.
Sure, the sports landscape in Vancouver may be down, but that does not mean it is out. The Canucks started their 50th season with 8-2, drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings. There is hope in the Vancouver sports market, and in sports sometimes hope is the most valuable player.