Angry Vancouver Canucks fans spoke Monday night and general manager Mike Gillis, one of the targets of their wrath, was fired Tuesday.
Now, Gillis wasn’t fired just because the fans asked for it. It’s never that simple, of course.
The Canucks were officially eliminated from the playoffs Monday in their shutout loss to the Anaheim Ducks, which also was symbolically significant after their precipitious downward spiral.
But the firing does bring up the nature of the relationship between a city, its fans and one of its professional sports franchises.
There have been lots of rumours in Vancouver about who actually calls the shots when it comes to the team, and how involved the Aquilini family is in the hockey decisions. It’s a sensitive topic apparently, given reports the Canucks owners have sent lawyers’ letters to two reporters requesting a retraction or apology after the reporters suggested they played a significant role in the hiring of coach John Tortorella.
You would think, of course, any NHL owner would have to sign off on the hiring of a coach so you can argue as long as you like about how much that constitutes an owner “hiring” a coach.