1 WIN TO GO: GAME 6, MONDAY 5 P.M.
Forty years of provincial hockey frustration could melt away into a New England Monday night.
The Vancouver Canucks are on the verge of their first Stanley Cup victory in franchise history, leading 3-2 in the best-of-seven NHL final - and it seems that a good portion of the B.C. population will be on the edge of its collective couch or bar seat watching.
Even the man who once sailed into these waters in exploration isn't immune from Canucks fever. On Saturday, some wags had adorned the statue of Capt. James Cook on the Causeway with a Canucks jersey - complete with the namebar "Cook" printed on the back.
Across the street, a Canucks flag was waving in the breeze over the entrance to the Fairmont Empress Hotel, while large Canucks flags flew down the road at the legislature and from the Tourism Victoria pole.
History is flapping in the spring air and people can feel it from Nanoose to Nakusp and Duncan to Dawson Creek.
"In 1994 [the last time the Canucks played in the Stanley Cup final], it was an unexpected run that excited the province," said fan John Ramsay of Victoria, who has experienced the highs and lows of being a Canucks fan.
"But this is the dream team with great talent. Everybody expected these Canucks to be in the final."
And so they are, one step from the big prize that has eluded the team for four decades.
Ramsay, a lotteries employee, wanted to connect the past with the present and showed up to get his vintage No. 1 Kirk McLean jersey signed by the real deal when the 1994 Canucks goalie stopped in Victoria over the weekend.
It's this sense of history, even destiny, that now grips the province. Maybe for the final time we can write that the 1925 Victoria Cougars are the last B.C. team to win the Stanley Cup.
Islanders can watch Game 6 on big screens at Cowichan Theatre and Diana Krall Plaza in Nanaimo but not at Victoria's Royal Athletic Park, which has been previously booked.
This is a story that has been 40 years in the making. Monday could be a landmark day for hockey fans on the West Coast.
And maybe even for an old explorer. email@example.com
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