Hockey night in Canuck land a hit with overseas audiences
By Mark Hasiuk-Staff writer
As local fans catch Canucks fever, Dave Olson is connecting with faraway fans around the world who don't want to miss out on this year's playoff run.
During the team's last run to the final in 1994, the 36-year-old North Vancouver resident recognized a need for an information source for far-flung Canucks fans.
"I was living in Tottori, Japan as a mushroom farmer, so I missed all the Canucks coverage," said Olson, who bills himself as the Canucks Outsider. "Although I could see the box score in the paper, I didn't have that feeling and camaraderie with the rest of Canucks Nation."
Two years ago, Olson decided to offer a podcast, or recorded audio monologue, on his website. Recorded at his home using his personal computer, the podcast recaps Canucks games and provides general information on the team's progress.
Averaging 20 minutes in length, the podcast has grown in popularity, and Olson regularly attracts up to 1,000 listeners in countries like Japan, China, Australia, the United Kingdom and Denmark, who download free versions from his website or from iTunes.
Olson, a marketing coordinator for a Vancouver software company, is a longtime producer of fan-based media.
"I've been doing grassroots Canucks media since I was a kid, writing little Xerox newsletters and distributing them around my neighbourhood," he said. His oldest-and most prophetic-newsletter was written in 1979 and details former Canucks GM Jake Milford's first scouting trip to Sweden.
He said the positive reaction he received from the podcast prompted him to stage live videocasts from his office's employee lounge during this year's playoffs.
While he doesn't show the Canucks television broadcast, Olson and a rotating panel of guests-mainly friends and local hockey enthusiasts-provide typical "living room" commentary about the game and discuss topics like Trevor Linden's peaks and valleys, the 1982 and 1994 playoff runs and the whereabouts of former Canuck tough guy Gino Odjick. Olson also showcases his collection of Canucks memorabilia, including a Pit Martin hockey card and the Canucks Family Cookbook from 1981 that contains a perogie recipe from Stan Smyl's mother.
"It's not exactly Don Cherry, but we goof around and add a little Wayne's World flavour to it," said Olson, adding that his audience includes many multitasking local fans who use his videocast as a complement to television broadcasts. Viewers also join the discussion by chatting online.
Olson said his wife, a Florida native, was caught off guard by his puck passion-but she has learned to share her man with the Canucks.
"When we first got together, I told her she would never be number two-she'll be tied for number one," said Olson. "And over time she has turned into a pretty big Canucks fan."
Olson staged a videocast last Tuesday during Game 4 of the Canucks/Ducks second round series, and he hopes to chronicle a Canucks playoff run that ends with a Stanley Cup championship this June.
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published on 05/02/2007