Dan Wipperman’s fandom begins, not uncommonly, with an obsession of the Russian Rocket. The Canucks forward won over everyone in Vancouver when he burst into the league, but the twist here is that Dan is from New Jersey and his family is made up of New York Rangers fans.
The finish of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final was hard on all Canucks fans, especially those living in enemy territory, with a father who blew up a photo of Mark Messier hoisting the Cup and put it outside his Canucks-loving son’s bedroom.
There have been highs and lows for the Canucks since that classic series with the Rangers and Dan, 32, has always stayed strong and true to his team. Seven years ago he added a fan to the family to fuel the fire when he started dating Christina.
Christina, 31, didn’t grow up watching sports, so hockey was new to her; wanting to impress Dan, she surprised him with tickets to a pair of Canucks home games at Rogers Arena for Christmas in 2010 and the couple flew across the country to see their beloved Canucks.
“I knew that was on his bucket list,” said Christina, “so we made it happen. I remember walking the streets and so many people were in Canucks jerseys. It was just infectious and I really fell in love with the game and the Canucks during that visit.”
The couple, which watches every Canucks game together despite the late eastern start times, were wed this past summer, with Christina adding a special Canucks element to their big day.
“Weddings are usually about the girl – pretty flowers and decorations, but I wanted to do something special for him, so that it represented both of us as a couple,” explained Christina.
She cut a few flowers and decorations and freed up some budget. For what, you ask?
With 90 minutes left in the party, right after the couple cut the cake, the band called the newlyweds to the dance floor and spoke about their Canucks fandom. Then Christina’s sister escorted a very special guest to greet Dan: Fin!
The Canucks mascot bounced into the ballroom waving a team flag, smoke billowing from his blowhole.
“All of our family started chanting Let’s Go Rangers,” laughed Christina. “We chanted back at them. It was pretty cool; people that didn’t even understand what was going on were taking photos with Fin. Old relatives had no clue why a whale was there, but they still took photos.”
Dan, glowing in an old-school Vancouver jersey alongside Christina ahead of the Canucks/Devils game in New Jersey this past Sunday, said he’s still buzzing from the experience.
“I was so surprised, it was the perfect touch to our wedding,” said Dan, now faced with the challenge of someday surprising Christina to that level.
“We were lying in bed that night,” smiled Christina, “and he was like: you are in insane! How did you pull that off? How did I not know? How much did it cost?”
A supersized photo of the couple with Fin now hangs in the couple’s home, a priceless moment they’ll cherish until death do them part.
Click here for more photos and info from the Wipperman wedding.