Video: This one time, the Canucks gave Orland Kurtenbach a puppy

Recently, Chris Withers wrote a guest blog for the Sun where he compared the culture at a Vancouver Canucks game to the mood at a Vancouver Whitecaps game, and he found the hockey crowd wanting. The experience of watching the ‘Caps play, he argued, seemed far more spirited, involving, and organic.

So what’s the problem with Rogers Arena? The different clientele? The canned music? The fact that the whole experience can feel overproduced? No, I’ll tell you what it is: they just don’t give away enough dogs anymore.

Not like in the olden days, man. For instance, here’s a video from November 7th, 1970, when they commemorated “Yukon night” at Pacific Coliseum by giving captain Orland Kurtenbach a husky puppy.

I like Kurtenbach’s total lack of reaction. Hey thanks. And then he just skates the puppy across the ice and passes it to someone. And then the second period starts. Seriously, what?

Listen, I was born in 1985, so maybe giving hockey players puppies as gifts during the game doesn’t seem quite so odd to some of you older folk, but I can’t even imagine this today. Fans, please direct your attention to centre ice, where Henrik Sedin will be given a puppy for some reason.

I mean, maybe he’d be totally into it, I don’t know.

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39 comments

  1. peanutflower
    March 29, 2012

    I’m sad to say I remember that, and I bugged my parents for a puppy like that for months afterwards.

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    • Anonymous
      March 29, 2012

      I accidentally downvoted this, I DID NOT MEAN TO DOWNVOTE PUPPIES

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    • obituary mambo
      April 2, 2012

      Oh my goodness! It’s so cute! It could totally eat my dog in one bite, but I feel the need to beg my parents for one, nonetheless — and I’m a grown woman. ~__^

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  2. ajhockey
    March 29, 2012

    Haha, nice find! I love the picture of Hank! :P

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  3. Aderam
    March 29, 2012

    Come on. This is the modern Canucks. It would have to be a Red Setter, or some other kind of ginger beastie.

    (Unless it was Booth. Booth is clearly a Golden Retriever.)

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    • hockeyispretty
      March 29, 2012

      Some kind of mastiff for Kassian, maybe; a really manic Dalmatian or super high-energy black Lab for Lapierre; obviously, a Great Dane for Hanssen.

      All the Canucks have animal nicknames; surely they could be given dog nicknames too. If you have a player, stake your claim to a cool dog breed for him fast, before they’re all gone and players are fighting not to get stuck with “miniature poodle” or “hairless Chinese crested”.

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      • hockeyispretty
        March 29, 2012

        If you have a *favourite* player.

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      • tj
        March 29, 2012

        A badger for Hansen. I wanna see *that* presentation.

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        • the real bob
          April 1, 2012

          it better be a honey badger w/ a years supply of snakes

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  4. tom selleck's moustache
    March 29, 2012

    “Fans, please direct your attention to centre ice, where Henrik Sedin will be given a puppy for some reason.”

    I think that would great during a game. Who could say no to a cute, adorable puppy? And they should make the announcement exactly as above.

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  5. sarah
    March 29, 2012

    Recently the Vancouver fan base asked for a puppy and so management traded for David Booth

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  6. DanD
    March 29, 2012

    I’d like to see them do one of those “little tykes” type of games with puppies just sliding around the ice. That would be a fantastic intermission!

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  7. tj
    March 29, 2012

    The noise issue is interesting: people watching on TV complain about the noise of the crowd being too loud to hear the commentators; people in the stands complain the noise it too loud to enjoy the game. I think hockey fans are dead-serious in Vancouver (”Shhh–game on. Quiet!”). Soccer/Football has always been about community, so that win or lose it is a bit like life: we’ve all still got one another. Meanwhile hockey, with its expensive seats, multimillionaire salaries, big trades and caps, and Bettman, has become pure spectacle by contrast, in the name of ‘regional pride’ (and why accusations of hockey turning Euro, or too American, etc still abound.) It’s a bit of “Entertain me!” mixed with movie trailer voices announcing the next blockbuster, “COMING TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU!!!” I sometimes prefer just watching at home with my friends/family and drinking/eating for cheap.

    You know what’s fun? Going out to the ol’ ballgame and watching the Canadians at Nat Bailey on a sunny afternoon. Good times.

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    • May
      March 29, 2012

      I’d say hockey, especially in BC, is very much about community. Hence the whole “This Is Our Home (don’t riot and burn it down, you assholes)” campaign. And hockey players earn much less than soccer/football stars outside of the Canadian leagues. I don’t think it’s so much that the players/game/salary cap, etc. themselves are the spectacle, but that the atmosphere at Rogers Arena just sucks. There’s no cohesive/recognizable theme to the place at all although the history’s plastered all over the walls. I went to Game 2 against Chicago last year and frankly it was not memorable, which really sucks since that was the PLAYOFFS. I don’t find the crowd loud whatsoever on TV, and there always seems to be horrible Top40 music blaring in the background. Personally, I only watch the game at home because it’s so much easier to follow along and see all the play, but if the atmosphere was great and the prices were affordable, I’d be at RA in a heartbeat even if I had a horrible rafter seat.

      As for watching the Canadians…well, to each his own. :P

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      • tj
        March 30, 2012

        I’ve been to maybe a dozen hockey games and about the same number of baseball games, so I can only base my feelings/sense of things on minimal experience. Not once has the guy or gal sitting beside or near me at a hockey game been any friendlier than letting me pass. I’ve tried lots of times to engage, we’re always friendly and open. But the sense is, ‘I don’t know you’ or ‘I’m watching this game; I don’t want to comment on it with you.’ Hell, even the guy who takes me to the game is uber-serious. I get it; we’re watching the game and focusing. Soccer, and baseball, otoh, have far fewer plays between the big goals, so one doesn’t miss anything if one is engaging with a neighbour. That’s all I meant by community.

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        • obituary mambo
          April 2, 2012

          I’ve only been to games at Compaq Center/Hp Pavilion (Sharks’ home), but people there are friendly — even when the Sharks are losing to the Canucks. ~__^ Is this just a Vancouver phenomenon?

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  8. hockeyispretty
    March 29, 2012

    By the way, I was at this game, and when it opened and through the first period we may as well have been at the opera rather than a sporting event. Actually, the level of applause would also do for a genteel match of cricket. Seriously, we are a quiet rink considering how awesome our players are. They deserve noise like in Montreal – terrifying roars of outrage when our players get hit that actually STARTLE the refs into giving unwarranted penalties. (I’ve seen them do it in Montreal! Are they better than us?? Let’s go, people!!)

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    • Showbot
      March 29, 2012

      The Montreal/Canucks game was actually kind of ridiculous. The sea of blue was mingled with a sea of red. It was very different from a lot of Canucks games I’d gone to, and there was a HUGE amount of passion for both teams. Chants of “Go Habs go!” was constantly being contested with “Go Canucks go!”

      The national anthem, by the way, at the Habs game was phe-fucking-nomenol. Blew me away with the reverence that everybody singing showed for it.

      I kind of agree with you, hockeyispretty, in that there’s a certain solemnity to the game when you watch it at home, and that transfers, somewhat, to watching the game at the arena. People are still talking, however – I almost always chat up the surrounding people, exchanging good natured jibes with fans of the opposing team(mind you, I was wearing my Canucks jersey and my Habs toque) – and interacting with each other. It’s by no means a quiet arena, it’s just little groups of people talking, and paying attention to the game.

      Maybe it’s because there’s more to watch for in hockey, if you ask me.

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      • Showbot
        March 29, 2012

        Whoops, I meant I agree with you, TJ. =P

        But I do agree that our boys deserve the noise. But I also officially hate the “Make some noise”, because it always feel lacklustre when people respond to it.

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        • tj
          March 30, 2012

          Solemnity at home is not a problem in my house, or at my family’s when I watch there. We’re noisy fans, helped along by a bit of drink. Even when I watch alone, I have a great group of chatsters and there’s some social element to it. Going to a game, where I don’t get close-up replays, don’t hear the Johns arguing about Triscuits, and don’t get to quickly run for a pee break, but instead get hollered at by the Make Some Noise guy, and hearing the same loop of music… So sad. Can’t remember which game it was–Dallas maybe?–where they’ve got that awesome oldschool organ player, made me long for a different environment. I really, really despise that announcer with the GetReadyToRumble voice. If he were being ironic, like at roller derby or monster truck events, I’d be amused. But he’s sans-irony.

          I need to go to games at other arenas, though, to get a sense of what others get/miss.

          (It’s amazing how sensitive people are about this, just for being at all critical about the games. Apparently, we can rip apart the members of the team, but don’t diss the arena? Whack.)

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      • Peps
        March 29, 2012

        No arena can be less noisy than the Leafs home barn; sotto voce served with sushi. Sad.

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  9. superreggie
    March 29, 2012

    I’m a Canucks fan living in the Bay Area. I’ve been to a few Canucks games in Vancouver. I disagree with the assessment that Rogers Area has a quiet crowd.

    Yes, there’s a general problem with the Corporate rinks. I freakin’ hate it when something good happens, and they blast music, like, there’s no allowing the noise of the crowd to just happen.

    And, while not deafening (I’ve seen games at the old Forum), I’ve definitely heard some good noise the Rogers arena games I’ve seen. Hell, I saw an exhibition game that had good noise.

    Which brings me to the Sharks. See, for some reason, the Sharks have a reputation of having one of the loudest arenas in hockey. This is absolute Codswallop. It must be that there are two standards: Canadian rinks and American rinks. Because the three games I’ve seen in San Jose have been pathetic compared to the games that I witnessed in Vancouver. I mean l-a-a-a-m-e.

    I mean so lame that I witnessed the Sharks knock off the Flames IN A GAME SEVEN OF A PLAYOFF SERIES, and everyone was all sitting down and amicably chatting, like, well dum-de-dum, Sharks just won, oh-well, let’s go to Red Lobster now…

    Is this a case of, we’re so used to having stuff to complain about as Canucks fans, that we’re inventing problems out of thin air? Like, nothing wrong with the team, so maybe we’re the problem?

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    • peanutflower
      March 29, 2012

      Red Lobster. ha. I saw the first time Gretzky played against the Oilers when he was traded to the Kings. That was pretty interesting. Here’s a funny story. I lived in Long Beach right on Ocean Boulevard. Saw the game, went home, went to bed. At about 2 am i hear this noise like someone popped a paper bag, or hit a car. Sure enough, there was a VW Rabbit wrapped around the back end of my beautiful baby blue VW Beetle, and two guys in Oilers Gretzky jerseys running away from the accident. I believe LA won that night so perhaps they had been commiserating over a few beers.

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    • cathylu
      March 29, 2012

      I will have to politely disagree about the HP Pavalion. I’ve been to quite a few games at Rogers and also quite a few in SJ. I was at games 3 and 4 during the playoffs last year and just about lost my hearing. After the Friday night game I went to the drug store to buy earplugs for Sunday’s game. Maybe it’s the way the arena is constructed but I think it’s really loud. Maybe it’s because I’m old. Though I’d much rather go to a game at Rogers – there’s no place like home!

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      • obituary mambo
        April 2, 2012

        I’ve got to throw in my dissent as well, having also been to loud Sharks games — and regular season ones at that.

        I wish I could go to a game in Rogers Arena. Maybe one day when I move back to North America.

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  10. the real bob
    March 29, 2012

    new incentive, everytime a canuck wins an nhl individual award, they get a puppy

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  11. akidd
    March 29, 2012

    sure, it’s quiet. my take is that folks are concentrating on watching the game. it’s hard to cheer and concentrate at the same time. it can be such a fine wine that it’s hard to savour the bouquet while chanting, ‘go, canucks, go.’(the wine just spurts out of your mouth.)

    the kurtenbloggers said once they watched playoff games on tv in very select company, alone or occasionally with a’vetted’ friend. no talking etc, just watching. i can totally relate.

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  12. ssskull
    March 29, 2012

    https://twitter.com/#!/SRN_lol/status/79182567697424385

    “They should give a dog as the prize in hockey. The Stanley Pup and the team that wins has to raise it”

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  13. Brent
    March 30, 2012

    So who got the dog? Some random kid? Or Kurtenbach’s son?

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  14. biznow
    March 30, 2012

    Towel Power hasn’t worked yet, I say a free puppy on every seat during the playoffs. Don’t forget to wave your puppy loud and proud. Picture this: The sounds of U2 start playing as our hometown heroes take the ice, CBC cuts to a panning shot of the crowd as 18000 puppies wave wildly in the air……..magic…..I get chills thinking about it.

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  15. Warpstone
    March 30, 2012

    Re: crowd noise/spirit. The same thing has happened in England with Premiership soccer clubs. The more expensive tickets got the more the demographic of the crowd changed until “prawn sandwiches” were famously pointed out as common stadium food.

    I’m not saying people/corps who can pay more don’t deserve their tickets. But I think the cost of a ticket is a large part of the reason why Canucks fans don’t have a bigger impact:

    a) the average fan is priced out of attending more than a few games a season

    b) the cost of attendance creates a sense of entitlement that raises criticism to hyperbole (i.e. the morons who cite Luongo at fault for every goal).

    c) it’s not affordable even for season ticket holders to attend enough games (i.e. most sell off a good chunk of tickets to recoup costs) with each other and build bonds. Without these ad hoc bonds, you’ll never get organizations like the Southsiders at Whitcaps games; a group of fans who organize chants, meetups and support their club with a passion we don’t often see in high-priced sports leagues.

    I really wish Canucks fans had the togetherness and understanding to throw out chants like “Silver Medal!” to Ryan Miller. However there is a reason why this only happens in markets like Winnipeg or sports like Soccer, but not in Rogers Arena. :(

    BTW, if you don’t think fans have an impact, I urge you to read “Scorecasting” where economists have been able to point out that the biggest aspect of homefield advantage is the ability of the crowd to influence subjective calls made by refs. In all sports, the louder and closer the crowd is to the game surface, the more pronounced the effect. Home fans should not be let off the hook. They certainly have a small input into the way a game unfolds.

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    • Chris B
      March 30, 2012

      Remember when the Canucks were really bad? In the 80′s, I was a member of the Junior Canucks Fan Club (Jim Sandlak as president) and we all used to get free tickets to games. And then in high school, on my McDonalds pay, I would go to 8 – 10 games a year, in the cheap seats ($15 bucks or so for a ticket) Try doing that now…. I mean, obviously it is supply and demand, and I want the Canucks to make money to pay for all those puppies they give out to keep their stars happy. I am just waxing nostalgic

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  16. Daniel W.
    March 30, 2012

    Even though I have been to only 2 Canucks games in my life, I do think the atmosphere could be better. Being from Germany, I can tell you that having chants, etc. similar to football (or soccer, if you will) is also possible inside a modern arena! I think it would be worth conidering bringing some of the european culture into that, because fans in Canada are more than passionate about hockey and it would make for a great atmosphere!
    Even though it isn’t traditional or the norm in North America, I believe it would make the experience inside Rogers Arena even better outside of the postseason as well!

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    • Daniel W.
      March 30, 2012

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1C35c29bIA
      This is a regular season game from a couple of years ago

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      • Brent
        March 30, 2012

        Man I am in, looks exciting. We need a song that people can sing and clap to without the jumbotron. Only thing is, it may be a bit of a distraction from watching the game since things happen so much faster than soccer.

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  17. Chicky
    March 30, 2012

    Oh man, my kid wants a puppy bad. I’m gonna have to pray for a commercial break if they’re doing puppy surprises during a game. He’s willing to take any puppy, heck, he’s been known to try and smuggle in the neighbours’ dog. For some reason though, he’s not a fan of the Boston Terrier.

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  18. Cleo777
    March 30, 2012

    Hey, what about puppies as retirement gifts? They could’ve given one to Linden and Naslund when they ‘retired’. I think that would be a sweet gesture. And I love the idea of the dog tailored to the player, a Mastiff for Kassian! LOL! Pit Bull works also!

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