What can a T-shirt communicate about a community?
The vibration, noise and visual sea of blue and green Vancouver Canuck team hockey jerseys is a testament to the rallying power of a cause that can mobilize an entire community to action, pride and support. Their partners in the final series excitement , the Boston Bruins, brought the crowds out on their home turf.
Team spirit and a sense of total investment in the outcome of a hockey game, represented by no more than 6 strategically skating men on the ice per team, can be seen and heard.
Team jerseys, or reasonable but correctly coloured attire has been worn by all – even bank tellers and behind the scenes admin staffers. Young and old. New Canadian or established citizenry. Behold, the power of a colour to command automatic and conditioned response in an entire community, at all levels.
What does the team you belong to look like?
With only moments to go before the puck drops in the 7th and last game of the 2011 Stanley Cup, I’m now safely at my keyboard listening to the anticipatory whoops and hollers and reporting on what is going on outside. Helicopters are circling as they often do when more than 100,000 people come to town.
Swarms of people have been making their way for hours now to the giant outdoor screens, patios, pubs and plazas on a sunny but comfortably cool Thursday in June, in the heart of Vancouver, Canada.
I know the power of a team effort and success in communicating effectively. A team can represent and promote well beyond the original reason for its activity. Well beyond the front line squad’s talent on the ice at any given time.
My hometown’s Winnipeg Jets traveled from the centre of Canada in Manitoba’s capital city, taking the message of our existence to fans and literally putting us on the map of sports and business. I could feel their ‘advance man publicity effect’ even when I made sales calls in American cities when I represented the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Executive decision makers knew I was representing a facility and opportunity where the Golden Jet came from, where Teemu Selanne lived and played and there Thomas Stein’s kids played with my son’s hockey team. The team communicated and carried power well beyond its prowess on the ice.
Now, I’m what they call an ‘ankler’, a non ice hockey athlete most likely to slide along on the sideways surface of a skate, yet I join the armchair athletes and non-fans of all ages in the spirit and the shouting.
We’ve all rallied for a heart stopping 7 games.
I’ve been witness to octogenarians pounding their canes in disgust when goals slide into Canuck nets. Tens of thousands have left comfy couches in the suburbs and fill the streets and stand together for the duration of each night’s action, here or away in Boston in front of outdoor screens to stand together.
Their shouts will carry into the night, win or lose.
I’ll keep you posted when we have recovered, hopefully from the victory in Vancouver, BC Canada – home of the 2011 Stanley Cup in Hockey, at last.