The Canucks have ‘The Belt’; visit from the Bruins could be a title match

The Vancouver Canucks accomplished a lot with their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night. They pushed their win streak to five. They gave Eddie Lack his first shutout in his first home start. And they put themselves back on an 100-point pace, which bodes well for their playoffs hopes, as does their move into first place in the Western Conference wild card race.

They also won The Championship Belt.

What is the belt? Imagine, for a moment, that the Stanley Cup is a challenge Cup, like it was originally envisioned, and that it’s up for grabs during regular-season meetings. In that situation, it would change hands fairly often. Last season, as I illustrated in a little what-if scenario over at Puck Daddy back in March, the Kings lost it in their first game of the year to the Chicago Blackhawks, who held it for nearly the entire month of January before losing it to the Minnesota Wild. The Wild subsequently handed it to the Anaheim Ducks in their very next game, who lost it to the Dallas Stars, who surrendered it to the Calgary Flames.

Suffice it to say, if last year’s Calgary Flames can win the Stanley Cup, the trophy’s not worth much. Thus, my conclusion at the end of that little lark was that it’s probably best that it’s a little harder to win.

But this season, a group of hockey fans on Reddit have decided to continue tracking this alternate award, not with the Stanley Cup, but with a secondary title: The Championship Belt. In their own words:

The Belt is given to the Team A that has defeated the cup holder (Blackhawks). It is then passed to the next team (Team B) that defeats Team A. Which is given to Team C once it defeats Team B. So on and so forth till the end of the season.

Like the traveling pants upon which a sisterhood was formed, The Belt has been all over the world this year.

Chicago started with it. Then Tampa won it. Then Pittsburgh won it. (They actually had it on Saturday, October 19th when they beat the Canucks 4-3 in a shootout.) Pittsburgh lost it to Colorado, who lost it to Nashville, who lost it to Winnipeg, who lost it to Minnesota. From there, it went to Montreal, then it was snatched by Washington, and finally, it fell to Carolina on December 3rd. And, after successfully defending it against Nashville and San Jose, the Carolina Hurricanes brought The Belt to Vancouver, and left without it.

The keepers of The Belt announced the feat to the Canucks’ subreddit yesterday with this graphic:

WE DID IT!!!!

Now, I know what you may be thinking: Great. Another regular season award. But this seems like too much fun to pass up. We at PITB have decided to formally embrace The Belt. We encourage other NHL team blogs to do the same.

By doing so, it sure makes this weekend interesting. The Boston Bruins are in town on Saturday night. As if there wasn’t already enough at stake, what with all that bad blood, there’s a good chance that it could be for The Belt. All the Canucks need to do is beat the Edmonton Oilers on Friday to retain it, and Saturday’s grudge match is also a title match.

All that said, I’m pretty sure that I can’t handle watching the Canucks lose another championship to the Bruins on home ice — even a meaningless, made-up one I just discovered — so a win on Saturday night would be most appreciated.

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Harrison Mooney is the co-editor of Pass it to Bulis at The Vancouver Sun. Have a tip? Email him at harrisonmooney@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter!

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10 comments

  1. the real bob
    December 10, 2013

    Playing the legion of evil (and Iggy) is definitely a statement game, maybe Lack might get the start…like a certain backup did a couple years ago…

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  2. Cody
    December 10, 2013

    I actually wouldn’t mind if this was instituted as an actual award of some kind. Not a belt, but something which could be seen by the fans and each team during the game? Perhaps some sort of golden net/goal lol

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  3. cathylu
    December 10, 2013

    I was happily surprised to see we had the Belt. I saw the original post on reddit and thought the Belt challenge was a cool idea but I hadn’t been following it lately.

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  4. Noodle
    December 10, 2013

    Canucks law means that we will lose this belt in heartbreaking fashion.

    /fires up SCF Game 7 on Youtube again
    /sobs

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  5. Bookie
    December 11, 2013

    I like the concept better if it was tweaked. In wrestling the belt wouldn’t be up for grabs in every match, just at special events. Maybe it only changes hands in Friday or Saturday night games?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 11, 2013

      Sun editor Lionel Wild tells me they have something similar in rugby, but you have to go to the champion’s turf and take it. If there was a modification, I’d be down with it only being up for grabs at home games. But this works too.

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      • Aaron
        December 11, 2013

        I like that Harrison, Only can lose the belt. Should also only be able to lose it to a contender. a team with a minimum of 5 points below the current champ!

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  6. J21
    December 11, 2013

    Even all-in-good-fun stuff like this is enjoyable… one of the things I like about non-North American sports is that there is a whole whack of distinctions up for grabs that make many games interesting for one reason or another, even if they’re entirely fan-created (like the Cascadia Cup that the Whitecaps won this year). It would be cool if the season winner of the Battle of Alberta was actually commemorated each year, for example.

    When you consider, as you mention, that even the origins of the mighty Stanley Cup itself were not “playoff champion after a grueling season” but rather more along the lines of “Hey let’s play a couple of games for this and– oh hey, you guys won it? Good on you. Back to our real seasons now.” …why not have a more open-minded idea of success?

    (BTW, it is for this reason that the romanticization of the Millionaires in 1915 is ridiculous. The Canucks go through more in their preseason than the Millionaires did to win that Cup!)

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  7. Peter John
    December 14, 2013

    Looking close at Thornton’s slew foot from the rear, plus take down, plus punches to the head of Orpik while down on the ice reminds me of Bertuzzi’s take down of Steve Moore. Why is Thornton not suspended for a year or more…. Because he’s a Bruin, not a Canuck. If anything, Thornton’s actions are more agregious because he didn’t grab Orpik ahead of time, and give him a chance to turn around and face his attacker. He skated into a scrum, picked out a victim from behind and assaulted him. If Orpik suffers worse injuries, or if Thornton was wearing a Canucks uniform, it would be 50 games, minimum.

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  8. Peter John
    December 14, 2013

    Would love to see Daniel go toe-to-toe with Marchand and show him how tough he is.
    Seriously, Marchand is 5′ 9. Daniel goes 6′ 1″. No match if Marchand hasn’t got a stick in his hands to protect himself.

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