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Turtle Dance Canuck

Wednesday, 21.03.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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Turtle Dance Canuck

By John Bucher
MAR.02.07

Okay, you're a Canucks fan. You probably tune in to the games on TV. You may even have a Trevor Linden mouse pad beside your computer. But can you say that, in a fever of cheering, you've gotten down on the floor, on your back, and done a boogie-dance?

Our 69-year-old super fan, Jacquie Corrie of New Westminster, can.

"No lie-I've seen it," says daughter Karen. "She gets so excited, she just puts her arms and legs up in the air and shakes them. She's like a flipped-over turtle."

Antics like those might scare some people, but think about it this way. It's wiser for a Canucks fan to impersonate a turtle than some other aquatic animals.

Sharks or Ducks, say.

Jacquie Corrie was born near Fernie, in B.C.'s Interior, in 1937. Although, as a teenager, she lived for several years in Calgary, she's never felt warm about the city's home team, the Flames.

"It's Mikka Kiprusoff's pompous way of taking his mask off after a big save," says her youngest son John, himself a Canucks fan marooned in Calgary. "She despises that."

Another thing Jacquie hates is interruption. "Her girlfriends know not to call her during games," says Karen.

"It's an unwritten rule," says John. "You call between periods."

Jacquie, a legal secretary and grandmother of eight, plans all her social events around the Canucks calendar. She watches, oh, 80 or so Canucks games a year.

So, why is Jacquie Corrie an ultimate fan? For three reasons.

SHE'S NOT WILD, BUT SHE GETS THE JOB DONE

Jacquie is calm and considerate. She doesn't want to disturb the neighbours with her hollering, so she does the turtle dance. For her, cheering the team is not just about face-painting, horn-honking, and flag-waving. She understands wild fans (if not Wild fans), but she prefers a quieter approach.

If she were a Canuck, Jacquie would be a stay-at-home defenceman: supportive, unflashy, totally necessary.

Game night routine: Jacquie heads home from work, makes herself a spot of dinner, and then repairs to the den to watch "her guys." Win or lose, a phone call with her eldest son, Randy, to highlight the night's plays rounds out the evening.

Sitting there with her, you could mistake her for one of the grandmothers at your local rink. There's no blanket over her legs or Thermos beside her, but Jacquie is just as committed. She's knowledgeable. She follows the play. She tsk-tsks at the refs on a bad call. Most importantly, she keeps up a steady stream of support for her team.

Yeah, you're right: it's easy to be a Canucks fan this year. They're first in the Northwest and have just set a team record for wins. But Jacquie's no fair-weather fan. She's cheered Vancouver through the fat times and the lean.

"She's been there since the beginning," says Karen. "And those weren't always the best teams."

Watching the games, Jacquie keeps an eye on her favorite player-assistant captain and iconic Canuck, Trevor Linden. She sees #16 as an "adopted son."

Why does she like Linden? It's simple: his solid play, on-ice leadership, and charitable work for children.

SHE BELIEVES IN SACRIFICE

The story of this super fan has a personal side, as well. In the early 1970s, as the brand-new Canucks were making their way in the NHL, life got a bit more challenging for Jacquie Corrie.

A difficult divorce left her a single mom, and, for the first time, she assumed sole responsibility for her young children-Randy (16), Karen (13), and John (6).

But great trials, as the saying goes, are the test of great people. Jacquie didn't lie around feeling sorry for herself. She got a job at a law firm and went to night school to earn her diploma as a legal secretary. In short, she did her best to make her family home a stable and happy one.

We can read Jacquie's story as a parable for success in the NHL-only with grit, perseverance, and a team-first attitude do you rise to the top.

At her high-school reunion, looking back, Jacquie described the period this way: "I never remarried, but I've got 20 young men"-the Canucks-"who give me a lot of enjoyment."

IT'S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY

Like it is to her favorite Canuck, charitable service is important to Jacquie. She wants to improve the prospects of people around her-even those she doesn't know.

As her kids grew up, Jacquie was active in her Abbotsford community-a volunteer at Centennial Park Elementary, a softball coach, and a fundraiser for Children's Sunshine Home, a service for kids with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

Now living in New West, Jacquie still goes out of her way to make it to Canucks Literacy events. And she sees that, each year, a few dollars make their way to supporting Canuck Place Children's Hospice.

For being one of our very best fans, year in and year out, Jacquie Corrie, the Vancouver Canucks salute you.