1: The birth of a movement
After TSN 1040’s Jason Brough made the bold prediction that Virtanen would score 20 goals this season, Canucks fans were also excited at the prospect that this season could finally be the one where Jake breaks out and proves his offensive prowess. With the added proviso that for every goal he scored, Brough and his co-host Mike Halford would shotgun a can of beer, this set the scene nicely for the new season.
Jake must have been fully aware of this “bet”, because in the very first game of the season he scored a goal, helping the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the eventual Western Conference Champions, the Calgary Flames. Cue Brough, Halford, and seemingly half of Vancouver downing beer gleefully in response.
This was the exact kind of support that Virtanen needed to begin the season. It would be so easy for Vancouver Canucks fans to criticise Jake’s then-lack of scoring, and to scapegoat him in much the same way that the likes of Loui Eriksson and Erik Gudbranson have been. Canucks fans know they have a good thing with Jake, and a quick Twitter search will find you thousands – thousands – of videos of people screaming “Shotgun Jake” and providing the local ale & stout economy with a nice boost.
It was a hugely positive way to begin the season, and one we all enjoyed immensely.