The hole that the NHL lockout has left in our lives is evident anywhere you go on the Internet. Blogs have taken to creating fake seasons, recapping games they didn’t watch, and covering their team’s AHL affiliate in excruciating detail. We miss our hockey, and more specifically, we miss our teams.
But more than that, as this lockout drags on I’m finding myself missing the culture that surrounds my team, and a big part of that culture is the play-by-play during broadcasts. A key step in falling in love with your local sports team is familiarizing yourself with the voices that represent it. They give a texture to the viewing experience, a narrative for the club’s history.
Or, sometimes they just like to regale you with suggestions on how to best enjoy your Kraft Dinner (lots of ketchup).
You know where I’m going with this. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the notable calls and quirks of the two main voices of the Vancouver Canucks: John Shorthouse and John Garrett.
"They’ve slayed the dragon!"
This is easily Shorty’s most legendary call, and will likely remain so unless the Canucks manage to win a Stanley Cup during his tenure. If you Google "John Shorthouse", the second auto-fill option is "call on Burrows goal".
Three years of pent up frustration and hatred towards the Chicago Blackhawks was released with Shorty’s triumphant "SCOOOORES!", and we giggled with relieved euphoria at his sort-of-corny-but-perfect-for-the-moment follow up: "They’ve slayed the dragon!"
Like the Alex Burrows goal that inspired it, this call is already firmly entrenched in Canucks lore.
When Kevin Bieksa scored against the San Jose Sharks in overtime of Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Final after a bizarre bounce off a stanchion, there appeared to be only one other man in the arena who knew where the puck was the whole time. It wasn’t Jim Hughson, it wasn’t Craig Simpson, and it certainly wasn’t CBC’s cameraman. It was John Shorthouse. Without missing a beat, Shorty sent the team into their third Stanley Cup Finals appearance with a glorious call. The inflection in his voice when he says "Bieksa" always hits a nerve with me.
In Shorty’s bio on the Sportsnet website, he lists "introducing John Garrett to Five Guys Burgers and Fries" amongst his career highlights. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since Garrett himself once admitted that he is in fact a burger.
From a health and nutrition standpoint, Garrett is the @DadBoner of hockey broadcasting. He absolutely loves Honey Nut Cheerios (in cereal or bar form), and probably believes that Cheetos would lend a great texture to any dish.
Unlike Drance, I find this habit charming, and consider it an important part of my Canucks broadcast experience. Not letting Garrett talk about food would be like banning Henrik Sedin from making sweet tape-to-tape saucer passes — it’s his bread and butter! Or more approriately, his celery and Cheez Whiz.
Other notable Garrett-isms: his troubling use of the term "reach around" to describe holding penalties, and his uncanny ability to notice when a player or coach is "shaking his head".
It Feels Good to Laugh
While calling Vancouver Canucks games is very serious business, Shorty and Cheech like to keep the mood light. Perhaps this is something they’ve picked up from Alain Vigneault, who finds just about everything funny, including Kevin Bieksa’s face and the thought of Kyle Wellwood being possessed.
Change the Name!
I’d be remiss not to include John Shorthouse’s stroke of genius in renaming Budget Brake & Muffler to Budget Brake & Muffler Auto Centres. Much less convoluted! He totally slayed their advertising dragon.
What are your favourite John & John moments? With any luck, we’ll be hearing their sweet magic on Canucks broadcasts again very soon. Pass the ketchup!