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Rockin' to the oldies

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

There was once a song, a magical song that the Vancouver Canucks listened to all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 1982.

It was by that band…you know, those crazy guys, and it kind of sounded like that song by that other band…what, it doesn’t ring a bell?

Stan Smyl can’t quite put his thumb on what track it was that he and the Canucks were rocking back in the day; maybe it’ll come to him this pre-season.

The Canucks will kick-off the pre-season by celebrating the 70s and 80s at Rogers Arena on September 21st and 22nd, by looking back at some of the first decades of the franchise, leading into the team’s 40th Season this year.

Both nights fans arriving early can enjoy live music from those decades inside the arena and face painting on the concourse. Bands will play from 6 – 6:25 p.m. and during both intermissions.

On Tuesday, September 21st, the feature 70s band will be The Led Zeppelin Show, while 80s cover band Joe’s Garage will rock the house Wednesday, September 22nd.

Fans are encouraged to dig deep into the back of their closets to find some groovy duds for the game - I’m talking bellbottoms, hot pants, platform shoes and maybe even some vintage three-piece suits a la Saturday Night Fever. The best-dressed fans both nights will win a pair of tickets to the Canucks home opener on October 9th.

Smyl, senior advisor to Canucks general manager Mike Gillis, isn’t eligible to win the tickets and it’s a good thing. Smyl said his look was the look back in the day.

“Don’t be laughing at me now,” chuckled Smyl, “my bellbottoms and open shirt was it back then, that’s what you’re picturing, isn’t it?”

Busted.

Smyl was a member of the Canucks from 1979 to 1991 and in that time fashion and music were shagadelic.

Many music connoisseurs consider the 70s to be the golden age of music with bands like Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who and The Rolling Stones, among many others, producing some of their best work.

The 80s saw the rise of The Clash, Prince, U2, Michael Jackson, The Police, AC/DC and Guns ‘n Roses, and more importantly to Smyl, Bryan Adams.

“We listened to a lot of stuff in the dressing room back then and of course disco was in at that time, not that I was a big disco fan,” laughed Smyl. “Bryan Adams has always been my favourite; Canadian boy and he’s good.”

First things first. When Smyl is talking about listening to music pre-game, are we talking 8-tracks? Records? Tapes? That all seems like dinosaur talk in a day and age when sunglasses have MP3 players in them.

“We listened to tapes and we listened to everything. The B-52’s, Rock Lobster would come on sometimes in the dressing room; someone would put it on out of nowhere. It was a vast variety and there was a different group of guys who controlled it all the time, I just made sure it was off when it had to be.

“When I first started I think Harold Snepsts kind of controlled it so we always had some country in there too and no one really argued with him.”

When it was finally captain Smyl’s time to throw on some tunes, it was Adams all the way. You Want It You Got It, Cuts Like a Knife, Reckless, Into the Fire; any and all of it, in the dressing room or live.

“I saw some really good concerts back at the Coliseum, I saw Bryan, Loverboy - that was back in’82, I remember they brought Richard Brodeur on stage, it was pretty cool.

“I’m really lucky to have seen The Who in there as well, that one Glen Hanlon and I witnessed and it was probably one of the better concerts that I saw in that building.”

Still a concert buff and an Adams fan, Smyl took his three kids to see the Canadian rocker at Molson Canadian Hockey House during the 2010 Olympics.

“I said ‘you guys are coming to listen to some good music tonight’. They had listened to Bryan before, but when you’re five feet away from him and he’s on stage, it’s unreal.

“You want to hear some good rock and roll music? Listen to what we did back then, that’s for sure.”

For two nights at Rogers Arena this pre-season, we will. And maybe then you’ll hear that special tune from back in the ’82 playoffs.

“I wish I could remember the name of it, we would play it actually just before the game would start and in between the periods we would always crank this one tune up. It’ll come to me.”

Tickets for both games and all of Vancouver's pre-season games are available at ticketmaster.ca/canucks.

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