How I became a hockey fan at YVR airport

This past weekend I headed north from Seattle to the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, B.C. to eat grilled squid at the Summer Night Market and learn slimy details about fish gutting at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site.

I intended to spend my evening watching airfield activity at Vancouver International Airport from my room at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport but instead ending up watching hockey.

I had no choice.

The 2011 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are underway and the Vancouver Canucks are up against the Boston Bruins.

Saturday night was the second game of the series and the entire city was getting ready to watch what they they hoped – no, assumed – would be the Canucks second win.

YVR airport was no exception. In addition to that giant banner on the tower, there were Canucks souvenirs for sale everywhere, travelers wearing Canucks t-shirts and jerseys, Go Canucks! messages on all available display panels and, come game time, a broadcast of the game on a giant screen in an airport food court.

I’ve never paid much attention to hockey, but it was easy to get swept up in the excitement. And it helped, of course, that the Canucks won Game 2 in the first 11 seconds of overtime. And now that I’m a Canucks fan, it was a treat being at the airport Sunday morning, when fans lined up to cheer the players (and get some autographs) as the nattily-dressed team members arrived for their flight to Boston for Game 3.

My stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport was hosted. A very excited young boy in the elevator tipped me off to the arrival of the Canucks team members in the airport lobby.