EDITORIAL: Hockey offers an opportunity

Canucks games a perfect chance to bring people together.

Canucks fever is sweeping the country now that Vancouver’s beloved hockey franchise is in the Stanley Cup final.

The team secured its berth with a double-overtime win over the San Jose Sharks Tuesday – a win that was celebrated by tens of thousands of fans in downtown Vancouver.

The spectacle was reminiscent of the 2010 Winter Olympics, which saw much of Vancouver and surrounding cities turned into outdoor parties to celebrate Canadian victories.

At the time, we asked why the same national fever failed to jump the Georgia Strait to Nanaimo, especially when we have one of the coveted live sites – that big television screen on the back of the Port Theatre – that saw so much revelry in the Lower Mainland.

What better way to harness the spirit generated from the joy of sport than to have a central gathering place for people of all ages to watch and celebrate together.

That place could still be our live site, broadcasting Canucks games as the team challenges the winner of the Eastern Conference final for the most coveted trophy in professional sports.

Vancouver celebrated their Canucks with a street party that went well into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with nary an arrest or troublemaker in sight.

Bars and pubs across Nanaimo host nightly celebrations as fans from all teams gather to watch the national pastime.

Allowing families to do the same at Diana Krall Plaza would bring that feeling of celebration and community to more Nanaimo residents, not to mention bring more people downtown.

All we have to do is turn it on.