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The Globe and Mail

NHL should embrace Vancouver's 'Green Men'

Jeff Vinnick/2009 NHLI

We're only in Round 2 of the playoffs and already there are some pretty strange happenings out on the West Coast.

First a Vancouver car dealership was ordered by NHL lawyers to remove a 'Go Canucks Go' sign from its window. Now the Canucks "Green Men" super fans have been targeted by the league.

And here we thought the NHL had real problems - like the triumphant return of the neutral zone trap - to worry about.

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The Green Men have gained huge popularity in Vancouver the past couple years for donning green spandex suits and taunting opposition players from their seats next to the penalty box, but according to Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove panel on the weekend, they received a stern warning from the league.

"The league has looked into getting rid of these guys," HNIC commentator Glenn Healy said. "We've had enough. It's about the game, it's about the players, it's not about guys doing handstands. The league's looked into it and they're going to make some amends."

Which is nonsense, but par for the course given the league's crack down on octopus tossing earlier in these playoffs.

(Despite the extra attention from officials, the Green Men aren't shutting it down and will be on the road in Nashville for Games 3 and 4 starting tomorrow night. It's safe to say they'll be getting plenty of screen time in light of this fiasco.)

What's unfortunate is that there aren't more fan traditions like the Green Men in Vancouver and the octopus toss in Detroit, as they only add to the atmosphere in NHL buildings during the playoffs.

Why wouldn't the league want to embrace that and the fun storylines that come with it? And isn't a little taunting all part of a trip to the penalty box in a visiting arena?

Fans have predictably taken up the cause of backing the green guys, which shows at least to some extent where the paying customers weigh in here.

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The league, apparently, would rather have everyone in suits and sitting on their hands, as is too often the case at the Air Canada Centre.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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