Jennifer Dyck came within 0.2 of a second of staying in Victoria. Then the Kelowna Rockets scored.
Then they scored again in overtime, winning Game 7.
Which means Dyck, having lost the bet with her long-distance boyfriend, has to pack up and move to the Okanagan city.
Yes, it’s true. The couple used a hockey wager to settle the question of where they would live, with the loser moving to the winner’s hometown.
This goes back to January when Dyck, a 35-year-old naturopathic physician, met Kelowna chiropractor Christian Brix at the Victoria Health Show in Pearkes arena.
The chemistry was instant. “Facebook messages turned into texts, texts turned into phone calls,” she says. “We met up in Vancouver two weeks later for our first date, which actually turned out to be pretty amazing. That first date became what I think will be my last first date ever. Since then we have fallen solidly in love, and he absolutely is the love of my life.”
They even managed to bridge the most Canadian of chasms: Brix is a Rockets fan, while Dyck roots for the Royals. “I go as often as I can,” the Claremont grad says of Victoria’s Western Hockey League team. Her parents have had season tickets since Day 1.
Victoria and Kelowna aren’t the most bitter of foes. Their rivalry is built more on mutual respect than hatred (it’s not like, say, Vancouver and Boston, where the typical Canucks fan would rather cheer for al-Qaida than the Bruins). Still, a rivalry is a rivalry, so it was during one of the couple’s four-hour phone conversations that Dyck — her competitive juices perhaps mixed with a couple of glasses of Okanagan wine — proposed an answer to the question of where they should live: in the town of the team that went further in the playoffs. Note that this was a couple of months ago, before anyone knew the teams would meet in a seven-game series that has been labelled an instant classic.
By now, even the most militantly indifferent of Victorians — the kind who take pride in not knowing the score — are aware of how the series ended. Tragically, unbelievably, Kelowna won the deciding game after tying the score with just 0.2 of a second remaining on the clock — an image that will be forever seared into the psyches of the 7,000 who were there. (“Damn that Stephen Harper,” I exclaimed when the puck went in. Sorry. Reflex.)
Dyck, sitting in the crowd with her father, and with even more riding on the outcome than the rest of the fans, was stunned.
“I probably swore,” she says.
Her dad — she’s an only child — knew of the bet. “He kind of looked at me like, ‘uh, is this really happening?’ ”
Victoria had its opportunities in overtime, but by then it felt as though the hockey gods had already made up their minds. Sure enough, the Rockets prevailed. For once, Dyck didn’t want to get a text from Kelowna.
“I didn’t even want to touch my phone. I didn’t want to see what I knew I was going to see from Christian.”
So, why go through with the bet? Because the bottom line is that they love one another, and one of them is going to have to move if they want to be together.
“I so wish the Royals had won, for more than one reason, but hey, this is love and sometimes things are just meant to be,” Dyck says. “But I will always stay a Royals fan and will be the loudest cheerleader when they come to Prospera Place.”
Besides, it will take months to extricate herself from Victoria (she’s not leaving her patients in the lurch) and even then the couple’s plan is to relocate here in two or three years.
As for the young, heartbroken Royals — who, let’s remember, enjoyed a far better season than many predicted — they can (eventually) take solace in Alfred Lord Tennyson: ’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.