6 Things: New and improved
Each off-season Vancouver Canucks management takes a look at the team and strategizes how it can be improved. This is done behind closed doors, but the moves they make become very public and are dissected to death.
Each off-season the staff at Canucks Sports & Entertainment also takes a look at the franchise as a whole and strategizes how it can be improved. This is also done behind closed doors, but even when the season starts and the moves become public, they’re often overlooked.
This year, dissecting them is vital.
You don’t want to miss out on anything.
Here are 6 Things you should know about monumental upgrades on the ice, in arena and in your pocket.
Innovation, thy name is curved glass. The original concept for the curved glass system, which was mandated by the NHL for all 30 teams prior to his season, was developed by members of the Canucks Sports & Entertainment engineering department. Enhancing player safety is always the name of the game and Al Hutchings, director of engineering, and Shawn Campbell, supervisor of conversions, built a prototype that now uses a curved piece of acrylic glass, in combination with movable posts, to shield the crowd and protect players from blunt force trauma. The curved glass prevents the sudden stop of a player by deflecting him from the corner and the movable posts help to absorb the energy from the hit. It’s a smashing innovation to prevent ugly, smashing incidences.
The Canucks mobile app is already one of the best sports apps available and I’m not just saying that because my boss is standing over my shoulder and the app was his idea. Stop poking me with that stick, I said the app was the best…Anyways, there will be an update available to the Canucks app in a few days and it’s worth upgrading to. The new interface is slicker and usability is improved, the calendar bug has been humanely removed and you can even vote for the Mike's Hard 3 Stars of the Game. The next big thing, coming late 2011, is the Canucks Live App that will offer fans in BC and Yukon live-streamed Sportsnet games. Hurray! The app will be supported on iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and will offer all the features of the NHL's Game Centre live app including highlights, ice-tracker infographic, league-scoreboard and game data. There’s a catch: it’s a paid app. Here’s the plan: buy three less coffees from now until the app is released. You can do it, I believe in you.
Prior to this season, if someone had said "Bottoms Up" to indicate they were making a beer run during the game, eyebrows would have been raised. I’m talking the People’s Eyebrow type reaction. This year not only does Bottoms Up make sense, it means you’ll be beer in hand faster than ever. Budweiser is one of several new Canucks sponsors and with Budweiser comes their revolutionary new beer dispensing system that fills cups from, I’m sure you figured it out already, the bottom up. It's the fastest dispensing system in the world filling at a rate of up to nine times that of traditional beer taps. Bottoms Up!
MIND = BLOWN
I don’t and never will understand fans that make it to their seats just in time for puck drop, if not minutes into the first period. Anticipation is one of those rare things in life that will never let you down and a major part of getting ready for a Canucks game is the team’s pre-game introduction. The lights go out and BAM, spotlights are everywhere as if the hamburglar is on the loose with a pocketful of cheeseburgers, there’s loud music and a heroic video. In the past it was spin tingling, this year it’s been taken a step further to awe-inspiring. Rogers Arena now features on-ice projectors that, when partnered with the 40-foot display scrims, HD big screens and 360 degree LED display, significantly enhances the dramatic story telling capabilities each game night. If it’s a 7 p.m. start, be in your seat by 6:55 and you won’t miss a thing.
THE FUTURE IS FLAT
A tour of the concourse at Rogers Arena is always an eye-opening experience and this season your eyes will be bugging right out of their sockets – AOOGA, AOOGA! More than 500 flat screen high definition TVs have been installed, some for ads, some for highlights, some for out-of-town games, all with the ability to show live game footage from any vantage point on the concourse, all to enhance the fan’s experience. There are flat screens in the washrooms to help with the awfulness of long lines. You literally never need to miss a play again. Wherever you are, there’s a sleek TV close enough for you to see the Canucks score the game-winner. Sorry tube TVs, you’re dead to us.
No more blue, green, red or orange tickets, the NHL’s most successful fundraising 50/50 program, which generated over $1.4 million for children’s charities in BC last season, is now as technologically advanced as your iPhone. Okay, not quite, but instead of being handed colourful tickets upon your purchase of 50/50 tickets, this season you’ll get a swanky print out from an electronic tablet. It’s about the size of a parking ticket, just a zillion times sweeter. The icing on this cake is the running tally of overall prize money that appears on the scoreboard throughout the game. My lucky numbers for Vancouver’s home opener on October 6 were 188167358309, 10 & 11; anyone want to buy some slightly “used” 50/50 tickets?