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The Booster Shot

Monday, 04.06.2007 / 3:06 PM / Fan Zone
By John Bucher
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The Booster Shot


Walk through your local hospital and you’ll notice the profusion of flower bouquets, turquoise corridors, and kind looks from strangers. To people who are ailing and on the mend, morale is important.

Bev Harvey understands the idea, but, as a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital, she has a different—and, okay, somewhat strange—way of improving people’s spirits.

She plasters Vancouver Canucks newspaper clippings all over the operating room.

“I start in September,” says Harvey. “All year long I clip articles from the Sun and Province, and then, come playoff time, I put them up in the O.R.”

Picture it: You’re on the operating table. The surgeon has clamped the knock-out gas onto your face. Your mind starts to swim, and, as blackness begins to crowd the edges of your vision, you see something.

No, it isn’t angels. It’s Canuck forward Brendan Morrison, squatting, celebrating a goal, with these words flying above his head: MO-MENTUM’S BACK. Uh, what?

When next you open your eyes, you’re eating vanilla pudding in a recovery room. Was it all a dream?

“I’ve done it four or five years—everyone really looks forward to it,” Harvey says of her prolific clip-posting. “When we get to the post-season, everyone starts asking, When are you putting them up?

Harvey, a mother of three and “born and bred Vancouverite,” got involved in hockey though her two sons, Jon and Will, who played the minor leagues of the Lower Mainland. The middle son, Will—“very much a Matt Cooke type of player—always standing in front of the net getting a pounding,” Harvey says—played on the ‘best-ever under-16’ BCHL team, and then went on to skate for Princeton University. Harvey’s eldest child, Barbara, also had experience on the ice, as a figure skater.

It’s hard for Harvey to name her favorite Canuck—“I love all of them,” she says—but she does speak in particularly glowing terms about the team’s netminder.

“Luongo’s just an incredible leader—an example,” Harvey says. “The best thing is that he never makes excuses. It’s about the team, not him.”

Obviously, being an elite fan is about more that just showing up to a few hockey games—it’s about involving yourself with the team. That deeper connection, as we’ve seen, come in various guises—doing strange dances, bleeding, and listening patiently to the radio, to name just three.

As an operating-room nurse, Bev Harvey gets involved with the Canucks in an even more intimate way. She repairs their ruptures, dislocations, cuts, bruises, tears, and fractures.

“Oh, we’ve had a few of the Canucks through,” Harvey says. “Ohlund with his eye injury, Naslund when he broke his leg. Two years ago Mattie Cooke when he broke his toe. And Daniel Sedin when he had his back surgery.”

“VGH is where the boys go,” Harvey says proudly. “We have the best docs around.”

Health care is a point of pride for Canadians, and it may be one of the few we have left. Our national holy grail, the Stanley Cup, hasn’t resided north of the 49th parallel since the Montreal Canadiens won it, in 1993. There’s a Canadian team in the Finals this year—the Ottawa Senators, who are down 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks—but Bev Harvey doubts that they can pull it off.

“The Cup may not come back to Canada until the Canucks win it,” she says.

A brazen prediction. And when will that be?

“In two years,” Harvey says confidently. And she’s got a theory.

  “The Canucks are solid on ‘D’—they don’t need much improving there. But they need more size and scoring punch on their forward lines. Next year, the big contracts”—Naslund’s ($6 million) and Morrison’s ($3.2 million)—“won’t be up, so there won’t be any big moves.

“The following year, we’ll be able to attract some solid, up-front players—we’ll have the money to do it, and we’ll have guys wanting to come to a city where they have a legitimate chance to win a Cup. That’s what having Luongo in net does for us.”

Astute analysis like that is largely absent from Vancouver, in Harvey’s opinion. When all the local hockey scribes made their forecasts at the beginning of last season, only one—the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre—predicted that the Canucks would make the playoffs.

You don’t need to go back through your pile of old newspapers to see whether or not that statement is correct. Bev Harvey knows: she’s got all the clippings.