Changing of the guard

Not many things are guaranteed in life, but aboard Air Canucks three things are – or were.

The first is quality peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The PB to J ratio is perfect and they’re freshly made, aka no jelly seepage into the bread. They’re diagonally cut and individually wrapped without any jelly leakage onto the outside of the plastic. I grew up on PB & Js, they fueled me through grade school, high school, college and university and now they keep me happy at 10,000 feet.

No change to report in the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Phew.

Major changes to report elsewhere.

A constant that’s now gone is Alex Burrows and his Leprechaun. Burr had been a staple in seat 11D on Air Canucks since my very first flight; he was the ruler of the card table and won so frequently other players accused him of owning a lucky Leprechaun. Hearing Burr celebrating card game wins was as regular as bumps in bad weather and with those French marbles in his mouth, he always made sure everyone knew he was the winner.

I was curious to see if someone would immediately jump into seat 11D, or if maybe it would remain empty for our flight to San Jose out of respect for the 12-year Canucks veteran. That was definitely not the case! Fellow Frenchman Michael Chaput grinned as he sat down in the lucky seat and his reason for taking it over is simple: “I want the Leprechaun Burr had!”

With Chaput now in the cards driver’s seat, at least Air Canucks won’t be missing out on any French swearing when games go awry.

The third guarantee now gone is Jannik Hansen and his one-of-a-kind attitude, trash talk and voice. Hansen was also an avid card player on the plane and by the sounds of the squeals that would echo throughout Air Canucks, his Leprechaun was non-existent.

During a flight maybe five or six years ago we were traveling to Detroit and for whatever reason, the card game was especially heated, as was Hansen. He was yelling like a banshee stepping on a nail and it wasn’t just one hoot or holler, it was many. And it was loud. Startled, I turned to look towards the back of the plane at the same time as then head coach Alain Vigneault, who was sitting across the aisle. “Can you go see if he’s okay,” he said. I laughed. He didn’t. I awkwardly walked to the back of the plane, smiled, and returned to my seat. “He’s fine,” I reported back. “Tell him to shut up then!” laughed Vigneault.

Both Burrows and Hansen, character leaders for the Canucks, are gone now and that’s a good thing. We might not have discovered Ben Hutton, that beauty, without trading away Kevin Bieksa. Other players will emerge as character Canucks and it won’t be long before someone owns Burr’s Leprechaun and there’s a new banshee howling throughout flights.

For now, we enjoy some peace and quiet. And a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Derek Jory – @NoJoryous

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