Mid-way through his first season as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, the team’s BC fans and supporters are standing by John Tortorella, a new poll from Angus Reid Global indicates.
Of 802 British Columbian adults surveyed, the majority (62%) identify themselves as big fans or supporters of the team.
Among fans and supporters, 57 per cent agree that firing former head coach Alain Vigneault and bringing in Tortorella was a good idea on part of Canucks ownership.
But that support doesn’t necessarily translate into blind defence of Tortorella’s well-known fiery coaching style. After a brawl-filled game in which he tried to storm the Calgary Flames’ dressing room, half of identified fans and supporters say Tortorella’s punishment, a 15-day (six-game) suspension from the NHL, was “just right” in severity.
More troubling: of Canucks fans and supporters, few have high hopes for the team in this year’s playoff run. Only six per cent say it’s very likely they’ll advance past the second round. And more than half (55%) agree that Canucks need to make a major trade involving a core player by this year’s deadline to finish the year successfully.
“While it appears those Canucks fans who bleed blue and green are more than willing to give their head coach their support, they also have no illusions about the challenges facing this team after a mediocre first half of the season,” says Shachi Kurl, Vice President, Angus Reid Global. “Whether that support holds through spring may depend on what happens on or before the March 5th trading deadline.”
Image: Sad Canucks Fans via Shutterstock