With the Seattle Kraken becoming real in about a month, the Vancouver Canucks can finally brace themselves for battle with a real life geographic rival. They should prepare themselves, if they haven’t been already, because Seattle fans are spoiling for a fight.
There aren’t many opportunities for geographic rivalries in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Supersonics moving to Oklahoma City removed what had, at the time, been the only one in the men’s professional sports landscape. The addition of the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers to MLS has lead to one of the spicier rivalries in North American soccer. The Vancouver Whitecaps have a rivalry with Seattle, but it’s taken a backseat to Portland.
The Seattle fanbase has been ravenous at the slightest indication of success. The Sounders are one of the most popular teams in MLS, and certainly one of the most well attended. The NFL’s Seahawks are blessed with a raucous and disruptive crowd at all of their home games. Time and time again, Seattleites have proven their dedication to local franchises.
I’m not sure Vancouverites are ready for the antipathy coming for them from south of the border. Make no mistake, nobody outside of Vancouver likes the Canucks. They are patently unlikeable. But everyone loves Vancouver. It’s a beautiful setting, with a wonderful climate and a lot of good culture. Just like Seattle. The cities are close enough that residents can certainly tell the difference where many of us can’t, and they will bitterly dispute any comparison.
Seattle has a rabid fan base that will only be 2 1/2 hours away. Any simmering local bad blood is going to spill out in such a familiar, American way that I’m not sure Vancouver is ready for.
Well, of course, the last time the Canucks were in the Stanley Cup, they ended up rioting in Vancouver. Maybe it’s Seattle that should worry.