“Heard it gets pretty crazy”: Canucks are so excited for playoff atmosphere in Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks are heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020 and the first time since 2015 if you discount the COVID-affected bubble playoffs.

For many Canucks, next week will mark their first-ever playoff game. It will be the first in front of a raucous home Vancouver crowd for every single player on this roster.

The prospect of playing in front of a lively Rogers Arena has many of the Canucks excited.

“I watched the [2011] finals growing up. I was a Boston kid,” said winger Conor Garland after today’s practice. “I remember they had that cool song coming out, the white towels; I remember seeing it right before the last game here, just what a crazy atmosphere it was. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a [playoff] home game here, so it’s going to be exciting.”

“I’ve heard it gets pretty crazy, and I’m just excited to experience it myself,” said Brock Boeser today.

For some of the Canucks, the first postseason home game will mark a major milestone that they’ve been trying to achieve with the club for years. Boeser has played nearly 500 regular season games with the Canucks without playing a postseason game besides in the bubble.

“It’s tough to say because I always felt like we had the right pieces to steer it in the right direction, and we just never did until this year,” explained Boeser when asked if he ever lost hope during those dark years. “I feel like I always had that belief deep down inside. I always believed in, you know Millsy showed what he can do in this league since he came here, and with Petey, Huggy, and Demmer, they’re all amazing players.”

“I’ve said it a bunch recently, but from looking back to where we’ve come from, guys buried their head, put the work in, really bought into what we were trying to do,” said Tyler Myers, who is wrapping up his fifth season with the Canucks, last night.

The team has transformed itself over the last 12 months, going from a lottery-bound club to a true contender. There’s a lot of credit to go around, but Quinn Hughes deserves the lion’s share as he’s progressed greatly on the ice while taking on the captaincy.

“The support here in a Canadian market has been amazing, and we’re glad to have playoff hockey back at Rogers,” the 24-year-old told Canucks in-house reporter Kate Pettersen after last night’s win. “For some of us, it’s been a long five years, and there’s been some ups and downs. It was a full team effort. We had a great year. Like I said, the Pacific was a nice achievement for us, but making the playoffs was our number-one goal, and now we can enjoy it.”

The Canucks will start their playoff run next week, with the first game rumoured to be on Sunday. Their first-round opponent is not yet set, although the numbers say it’s likely to be the Nashville Predators.

“It’s all of our first time playing a playoff game here. We got a million reasons to be excited,” J.T. Miller said post-game after the team’s 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. “The atmosphere is gonna be unbelievable. I know the city, and the crowd’s gonna be awesome.”