23 April, 2014

Maritime Mischief Visits Vacationing Caps' Fans

Cup'pa JoeCanadian vandals recently made victims of my friends Mike and Marleen. Canucks, the stereotype goes, are exceedingly congenial, deferential, almost annoyingly polite. They make backyard rinks, not war. But in this instance, they invaded my friends’ home along coastal Nova Scotia and ransacked it, smearing it with profane imagery.

This is both a crime report and a cautionary tale against vesting too much faith in our cousins to the North, bands of whom are every bit as capable of plotting and perpetrating scandal and heinous act more typically associated with organized crime syndication in the lower 48. 

Once upon a time, twice each year, Mike and Marleen endured 24 hours of driving over two days from their Capitol Hill home to reach their second home in Cape Breton Island. Always they would drive, as they had so much cargo to convey to execute second-home repairs. As the natives up there know most especially with an event like Hurricane Bill, wood-stripping winds regularly visit the island. Doozies of coastal storms often approach unannounced. So Mike and Marleen could never truly “just get away from it all” up at their vacation home, and rather regularly undertook “home repair R&R” there. Little did they realize they’d need to repair rigorously the home’s interior on their visit there this month.     

Given that they’re away from Cape Breton for extended stretches, they have a handful of neighbors with key access to the house. Canadians make very good neighbors, Mike and Marleen would have told you, prior to this August. As new residents of Maine, Mike and Marleen’s commute to their vacation home was cut in half. They pulled into their winding gravel driveway near 10:00 p.m. on August’s first Friday. The best part of their arrival always is discovering a full case of Alexander Keith’s waiting for them well chilled in the fridge, the welcoming libation of their neighbors. But in light of what my friends discovered when they entered their home three Fridays back, they needed a much stronger restorative set of spirits.

As longtime season ticket holders to the Caps, Mike and Marleen endured their fair share of snickers and potshots from the Nova Scotians in their Cape Breton neighborhood over the years, and this was amplified once native son Sidney Crosby was drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005. The Canadian Maritimes are home to enormous support for the Montreal Canadiens, but alas in recent years more and more Pittsburgh sweaters have been found on skating Nova Scotian youths. The stakes of course were seriously upped when Pittsburgh and Washington met in the playoffs this spring for the first time since their respective rebuilds. We know how that turned out, and the volume of incoming phone calls from the Island to Mike and Marleen’s Capitol Hill home was at an all-time high.

However those phone calls were mere nuisance compared to what Mike and Marleen confronted inside their Cape Breton home this month. Once inside, they discovered an insidious infestation, a graffiti-ing of their tastefully rustic abode, with all manner of Sidney-in-Stanley-celebration mementos. Stanley Cup champion hats were hung on coat hooks; championship edition newspapers, large and small in circulation, littered coffee and dining room tables; color and black-and-white glossies of the follicle-challenged face beaming at his triumph were spread about every room of the house; Sidney Crosby figurines and action figures bearing makeshift miniature Stanley Cups were even left in the home’s restrooms; even beer bottles bearing labels with no. 87′s victory grin greeted my Capitals loving chums;   and the criminal coup de grace: euphoric banners in black and gold lettering were strung across support beams.   

The nightmare welcoming. Talk about home depreciation.

All my friends wanted at that moment was a round or two of ice cold
Keiths before collapsing their travel-weary bones in bed. Instead, they
had to summon unlikely energy to restore their home to dignity. There was no way my friends were going to leave the repairs to Saturday morning. Michael
took red — not yellow — tape and fastened it around the perimeter of
his home to indicate a crime scene involving Capitals’ fans. They lowered their heads and resolutely made like bruised and battered fourth-liners, laboring deep into the night to salvage their home. By early Saturday afternoon my friends were ready ignite a bonfire down at the beach with the mountainous detritus.

Belle Cote is the name of the actual outpost in which my friends’ home is perched, atop a glorious bluff overlooking Maguerite Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a hamlet of some 350 year-round residents, most of whom were likely in on this scheme.

“Did you call the Mounties?” I asked my friend Michael this past weekend, as I learned of the assault.
“The RCMP wouldn’t do a thing,” Mike told me, “I suspect they were part of the ransacking.”


  1. Tim wrote:

    ANy way we can see a picture of the joyful bonfire?

    24 August, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  2. joetink wrote:

    This is what happens when formerly good-hearted people begin to align themselves with foul-spirited flightless fowl fans. Good maritime people become indoctrinated and lose all trace of their former blue nose sophistication. Is there any hope for justice or liberation for these folks? We’ll have to seek counsel from Nova Scotia’s own Nelson Burton, former Capital and beloved local youth hockey coach, who dropped the gloves a time or two on Halifax rinks way back before he was drafted by the Caps.

    24 August, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  3. NS2NOVA wrote:

    Oh the shame of it all!!
    It almost made me want to turn in my Bluenose passport, and renounce my Haligonian Heritage.
    And I can feel for the victims. My wife and I received an abomination in the mail shortly after the end of the playoffs. Someone had defaced a perfectly usable towel by staining it with some black and yellow substances, and stuck it in a box and mailed it across the miles to our shock and dismay.
    But the fact that it was wrapped around a jigsaw puzzle of Ovie makes us wonder just how stable the minds of these criminals actually are.

    24 August, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  4. errantelf wrote:

    While my Penguins hatred runs deep as a result of all the pains suffered at their hands since I became a fan of hockey, my BIGGEST reason for not wanting the Penguins to win the Cup was precisely this- just knowing how insufferable their horrible, inconsiderate, unsportsmanlike, undeservedly self-righteous fans would be afterward.
    I think I would have just dropped a lit oil lamp in the middle of the floor, got back into my car and headed for a hotel on PEI or something for my vacation instead, but the WAY everything went down last April-June has left ME very thin-skinned about the whole thing. I certainly don’t recommend anyone else take that course of action- the bonfire on the beach was probably the best way to go.

    25 August, 2009 at 4:18 am | Permalink
  5. pucksandbooks wrote:

    My good friends in Maine have read these deeply empathetic comments and found comfort in them. This is partly what a great fanbase is about.

    25 August, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  6. PIVDAWG wrote:

    I agree with ERRANTELF about the fans, but those are not the hockey fans of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins!!!! Those fans you speak of are Pittsburgh Steeler fans!!!! Oh, and they are the Superbowl Champions; but I’m not a fan of them. I think that was CLASSIC what they did to the home; no damage was done and guess what, the PENS are still Champions!!!! It would only have been better if Mike & Marlene were from Philadelphia and did just dropped a lit oil lamp in the middle of the floor, got back into my car and headed for a hotel on PEI or something for my vacation instead! Or accidently, as they were at the bonfire; it caught their home on fire, for being stupid; that stuff is expensive and could have been sold on eBay!!!! I hope that either TIM, JOETINK, & NS2NOVA are/were Hurricane, Flyer or Red Wing fans!!!! Are/were, because the might be room on the bandwagon for you all; but maybe not!!!! PUCKSANDBOOKS gets it!!!! Now deal with the fever of my Pittsburgh Penguins being the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions!!!!

    25 August, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  7. Mike M wrote:

    Cute story . . . Belle Cote is a beautiful area . . . Go Pens! :)

    25 August, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  8. Portlander wrote:

    I can’t help but think what might have happened if the Caps had WON! (At least your vacation home is not in Quebec)
    Welcome to Portland, M&M. Too bad the Pirates are not still affiliated with the Caps.

    26 August, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink