"We have an obligation to these people," Tallon says. " Vancouver waited—what was it?—half a century for the NHL to come out here, so we have to play well for these people. We owe it to them. They make us want to play well, too. Sure they greet Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr with standing ovations, but when the game begins they are for the Canucks all the way."
Hockey fans long before the NHL even began, the citizens of Canada's third-largest city have turned out to root the Canucks home at an average of 14,950 for their first 12 games. "The people here waited too long for NHL hockey," says Poile, "and now they want to prove to the world that a Vancouver team should have been in the league years ago."
"Hey," yelled one fan as he left the rink following the Canucks' win over the Flyers, "we belong at last."