Lucic story a black mark on hockey fans

Someone defaced the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Burnaby, spray painting “F--k...

Someone defaced the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Burnaby, spray painting “F--k Lucic. Go Canuks (sic) Go,” on the wall, along with a crude drawing of male body parts. (TWITTER.COM)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:02 PM ET

In the last decade or so Canada's gone gaga for hockey, and that's all fine and good.

Fuelled by patriotic prompts on sports television -- it's our country and our game, remember -- puck lovers are throwing their support behind their favourite teams like never before.

Buildings are full and passion is at a fever pitch, no more so than here in Winnipeg, where the return of the Jets and the rejuvenation of the game have collided in a fireball of flag-waving.

Flying your team's colours from a car window or license plate is one thing, though.

Spray painting them on the walls of a church, along with expletives and crude drawings of phallic symbols, another entirely.

That's what happened to the family church of Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic this week.

No, not in the former Yugoslavia, where his parents are from, and where another game might spur that kind of animosity, or worse.

This occurred in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, at the church/cultural centre where Lucic brought the Stanley Cup, last summer, the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church.

The father of one of Lucic's high school buddies works at the church and discovered the vandalism, which included the words: "F--k Lucic. Go Canuks Go." And the spray painted male body parts.

It wasn't long before Lucic got the news that had him shaking his head at his home town, yet again.

"It's disappointing," the Vancouver native said, Friday, before his Bruins took on the Jets. "And it sucks that people would go to such an extreme to do something like that. Obviously it's some punk kids or teenagers or something like that, thinking that they're cool.

"It reflects badly, again, against the people of Vancouver, which I've defended, especially after what happened after the Finals last year. Obviously some people are still bitter about the loss."

Ah, yes, who can forget the fiery riot after Lucic's Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 7? Gave Vancouver a black eye that still hasn't gone away.

If the ongoing trials of suspected rioters and looters wasn't enough of a reminder, this latest incident will be only too happy to steal a few headlines.

And sink a few hearts.

"You never like to see your name, 'F-Lucic,' anywhere, never mind the cultural centre or the church," Lucic said. "So I feel like anyone else would feel."

Imagine as parents, going to Sunday service to see your family name defiled. All over a game played by your son's team eight months ago.

"The whole community is not happy with something like that happening," Lucic said. "Obviously they're proud a Serbian boy is out fulfilling his dreams and doing well at such a high level in the NHL. For us as people, we have a lot of pride."

For the hockey fans who did it, though -- you could debate their status as "fans," since they spelled their team's name wrong -- it should be nothing but shame.

"On Twitter and stuff like that, I know a lot of people feel bad for what happened," Lucic said. "Deep down I'm sure a lot of people feel bad about it."

Lucic is hoping the vandals feel particularly bad. Eventually.

"Karma's a funny thing," he said. "And what goes around comes around."

Especially at a church. Time for the hockey gods to step in.

"If we're talking about karma, that's one thing you don't want to mess with."

Is it too early to say there's an ugly trend, here, one inching our national pastime slowly, but surely, towards the regular violence that plagues the Beautiful Game?

Rioting in the streets. Defacing churches. Cheering when an opposing player takes a puck in the face.

Isolated incidents, probably.

Of course, it's the lunatic fringe that gives soccer its bad name, too.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @friesensunmedia


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