43 Vancouver sports moments this decade you might have forgotten about

Dec 30 2019, 4:18 pm

The last 10 years have produced some of the most amazing sports moments in the history of Vancouver.

Our city hosted the Olympic Games, the Stanley Cup Final, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and two Grey Cups — but there’s also likely a few moments you’ve forgotten about in the past decade.

Here’s a rundown of some of them.

1. Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics and didn’t get any snow (2010)

The world had their eyes on Vancouver in February 2010 for the Winter Olympics, but the weather quickly became an issue.

Vancouver had to truck in snow for competitions on local mountains due to unseasonably warm temperatures. While that was less than ideal for skiing and snowboarding events on Cypress Mountain, it was great for everyone in downtown Vancouver who got to enjoy great weather for most of the Games.

2. The Olympic cauldron malfunctioned (2010)

Whoops. One of the four arms didn’t raise for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic cauldron during the Opening Ceremonies. Then we put Wayne Gretzky in the back of a pickup truck in the pouring rain to light the outdoor cauldron in Coal Harbour.

3. Canada finally won gold on home soil (2010)

Canada holds the distinction of being the only country to host the Olympic Games without winning a gold medal — something we’ve achieved twice, in Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988.

At Vancouver 2010, Alex Bilodeau put an end to that streak, winning gold in men’s moguls on the second day of competition.

4. Someone handed Jon Montgomery a pitcher of beer in Whistler after he won gold (2010)

Jon Montgomery won the hearts of Canadians after winning gold in Skeleton. His walk through Whistler Village was legendary, as he was handed a pitcher of beer by a woman while on live television.

“That’s gotta be the sweetest beer I’ve ever tasted, and to boot, it was free” Montgomery said moments later.

5. Vancouver celebrated in the streets after the golden goal (2010)

There was a lot of celebrating in the streets during the 2010 Olympics, but none more epic than after Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal in the final event of the Games.

6. GM Place changed names a couple times

The home of the Vancouver Canucks was briefly renamed “Canada Hockey Place” during the 2010 Olympics, then was changed permanently from GM Place to Rogers Arena before the 2010-11 NHL season.

8. We figured out why goalies shouldn’t be captains (2010)

Roberto Luongo stepped down as Canucks captain on September 13, 2010. It turned out that being the first goalie captain in 60 years was a distraction, so the Canucks gave the C to Henrik Sedin to begin the next season.

9. Empire Stadium returned, and it was awesome (2011)

The BC Lions returned to Empire Stadium (it was officially called “Empire Field”) in 2010 while BC Place underwent renovations to install a new retractable roof. The Whitecaps would also call the PNE location home for one season in 2011.

The temporary outdoor stadium was the perfect size and had a great view of the North Shore mountains. Bathrooms and concessions left a little to be desired though.

10. The Green Men became internationally known

Posted by The Green Men on Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Green Men made their debut at a Canucks game in 2009, but they rose to prominence during the first few years of the decade.

11. The Sedins became the best players in the NHL (2010 and 2011)

Henrik and Daniel Sedin went from being “very good second line players” in the minds of many to the top of the league in the last decade. The twins each won a scoring title and an MVP award, with Henrik winning the Hart Trophy in 2010 and Daniel taking home the Pearson in 2011.

12. The Whitecaps entered MLS (2011)

The Vancouver Whitecaps began their existence in MLS in 2011. They started off with a bang, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 at Empire Field.

13. Burrows slayed the dragon (2011)

Alex Burrows was the overtime hero for the Canucks in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, but he was nearly the goat. Prior to slaying the dragon, he took an overtime penalty that nearly ended the team’s run in Round 1.

14. Stanley Cup run was a whole lot of fun (2011)

Everyone remembers how it ended against the Boston Bruins in Game 7, but prior to that, the Canucks’ Stanley Cup run in 2011 provided so many great moments for the city. Fans celebrated in the streets — peacefully — for many of the team’s wins during the two-month span.

15. People volunteered to clean up the city after the riot (2011)

Ashamed of the actions of their fellow citizens that burned the city the night before, many ordinary people took to the streets of Vancouver the day after the Stanley Cup riot to help clean up.

16. The Canucks didn’t just win the Presidents’ Trophy once (2011 and 2012)

After finishing first in the NHL’s regular season in 2010-11, the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy again the next year.

17. The BC Lions won the Grey Cup on home turf (2011)

Vancouver hosted the 2011 and 2014 Grey Cups at newly renovated BC Place, with the BC Lions winning the 2011 championship on home turf. It was a remarkable turnaround for the team led by Travis Lulay, as the Lions began the season 0-5.

18. Cody Hodgson was traded (2012)

…and everyone freaked out.

19. Goaltending controversy between Luongo and Schneider

Everyone had an opinion on who should start in goal for the Canucks as the goalie controversy between Luongo and Cory Schneider hit a fever pitch in the years following the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

20. Luongo started a Twitter account

@Strombone1 began as an anonymous account on Twitter in July 2011 and was later confirmed to be Luongo’s. He was hilarious and it endeared him to Canucks fans.

21. The Vancouver Canadians became a huge success story

After being a fledging franchise in the previous decade, Vancouver fell in love with minor-league baseball again in the last 10 years. Attendance has skyrocketed at Nat Bailey Stadium, helped by solid ownership of Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney.

The team became the Short Season Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and has won four Northwest League championships since.

22. The Canucks honoured Pavel Bure (2013)

Following his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Canucks retired Pavel Bure’s No. 10 jersey in 2013.

23. Torts tried to fight another coach (2014)

In a game that featured a line brawl immediately following the first faceoff, John Tortorella tried to fight Flames coach Bob Hartley in the first intermission.

24. They played a hockey game inside BC Place (2014)

…but Roberto Luongo didn’t get to play. The Heritage Classic was the last time Luongo would suit up for the Canucks, as he requested a trade after he was benched in the marquee game.

25. Mike Gillis was fired (2014)

Tortorella lasted just one season as head coach of the Canucks, but his impact was massive. He stripped Ryan Kesler of his A as assistant captain, benched Luongo in the Heritage Classic, and the team failed miserably — missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. It resulted in Kesler and Luongo being traded, and GM Mike Gillis getting fired.

26. Linden was brought back, then left role as team president

Despite no experience in management, the Canucks hired Trevor Linden as team president less than 24 hours after Gillis was fired in 2014. It didn’t go well, with the team and Linden “mutually parting ways” in 2018.

27. We lost our Vancouver-centric sports highlights show (2014)

don taylor sports page

CKVU

Sportsnet stopped Vancouver broadcasts of its nightly highlight show Sportsnet Connected, hosted by Don Taylor, in 2014. Taylor, who was previously a fixture with Sports Page, hasn’t been on television since.

As a result, most highlight shows begin with the Leafs now.

28. Everyone fell in love with Eddie Lack (2015)

Happy-go-lucky taco-loving goaltender Eddie Lack helped lead the Canucks back to the playoffs in 2015. He was traded two months later.

29. Everyone fell out of love with Kesler

After news of Kesler’s trade demands became public, the once fan favourite was booed by fans every time he returned to Rogers Arena with the Anaheim Ducks.

30. Abbotsford lost its AHL team (2014)

The Abbotsford Heat left town in 2014, as fans never fully embraced the Calgary Flames’ AHL team.

31. Canucks never got any luck in the draft lottery

trevor-linden-nhl-draft-lottery

Sportsnet

The Canucks won zero draft lotteries in the last decade, moving down two spots in 2016, three spots in 2017, and one spot in 2018 and 2019.

32. …but they did in the draft

Despite the lack of draft lottery luck, the Canucks had the good fortune of selecting Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes this decade.

33. Steve Nash retired (2015)

Canada’s greatest basketball player retired in 2015. Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

34. We lost our pro tennis tournament, then we got it back

The Odlum Brown VanOpen wasn’t held in 2016, after being staged annually at the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver since 2005. It returned in 2017 and has been successful ever since.

35. Christine Sinclair became a superstar

Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair led Canada to two Olympic medals in the past decade, establishing her as our country’s greatest female soccer player. Next decade she plans to set the new all-time international goals record.

36. Americans invaded Vancouver for the Women’s World Cup (2015)

Our neighbours from south of the border invaded Vancouver in large numbers to see USA play in the 2015 FIFA World Cup Final, which they won, against Japan.

37. Vancouver became the soccer capital of Canada, then we said no to the 2026 World Cup

Vancouver began getting a number of marquee Canadian national team games this decade, including a World Cup qualifier against Mexico in 2016 that drew 54,798 fans to BC Place.

Then in 2018 the BC government said thanks, but no thanks to hosting the 2026 men’s World Cup — sighting concerns over signing a “blank cheque” to FIFA.

38. Costume-wearing fans flocked to BC Place for Rugby Sevens

Vancouver became a stop on the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2016 and it’s been a hit with many costume-wearing fans ever since.

39. The Giants moved to Langley (2016)

The Vancouver Giants left the Pacific Coliseum for the Langley Events Centre in 2016.

40. Pro lacrosse moved to Langley, then to downtown Vancouver

The Vancouver Stealth NLL franchise began in Langley in 2014, before being bought by the Canucks and moved to Rogers Arena in 2018. The team is now known as the Vancouver Warriors.

41. The Sedins’ last home game was incredible (2018)

Daniel scored the overtime winner, assisted by Henrik, in the last-ever home game for the Sedins in 2018.

42. We hosted the World Juniors (2019)

Vancouver and Victoria co-hosted the 2019 World Juniors, with Finland beating USA for gold. Canada was upset in the quarter-finals.

43. The Vancouver Grizzlies became cool again

The NBA hasn’t returned to town (yet), but the Vancouver Grizzlies are cool again. Fans love the ’90s look of the team, so much so that the Memphis Grizzlies chose to wear Vancouver-era jerseys for select games this season.

Oh, and we found Big Country too.