My recent column, "Hated former Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi will record you a personalized video for $75" sure struck a nerve with our home team's loyal fans, some of whom demanded I make an apology for it.
I received earfuls in emails, tweets, and of course from the comments on our Facebook page.
Many readers were delighted to hear the news that they can get a bargain on a personalized video from Bert (for their friends or their enemies), but it was also difficult for diehard fans to see past my headline choice, and my description of the man as a "hated" former player.
Some who were upset told me Bertuzzi is a "man who did nothing wrong," despite the fact that he ended former Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore's career by sucker punching him then smashing his face onto the ice, fracturing three vertebrae. After that, he was charged not by the league but by the police and pleaded guilty to "criminal assault causing bodily harm" for the on-ice incident, then eventually settled a civil case with Moore out of court.
The Steve Moore Incident will always be tied to our team, and his time on it.
Still, others said I need to "stop listening to the loud minority [who hate him] on Twitter," though Bertuzzi himself recently admitted he's been "a douche," and that that's historically been the perception of him.
Lastly, some Canucks fans are under the impression that I hold some sort of politically-motivated grudge; that I'm an "a-hole snowflake reporter that is full of hate," with a "garbage left-wing opinion," though Bertuzzi very recently proclaimed his support for Donald Trump, which a majority of the population of North America would be repulsed by.
I don't hate the guy. I'm simply the messenger here.
For Canucks fans seeking an apology, I'm sorry. Mostly for not filing my original story under our Opinion category, as it was an opinion piece and not straight-up news. I believe that to be my worst transgression in this case. I've moved my original piece over to Opinion now.
I'm also sorry that the cold, hard truth is that Todd Bertuzzi is, without question, one of the Canucks' most-hated former players.
Mark Messier is clearly the most universally hated, by Canucks fans at least.
If you're a hardcore fan of the team, think back on which other former players or coaches of ours are disliked by other fans in the seats around you at Rogers Arena. There aren't many, hey? Bertuzzi is for sure in the top 3, even if you consider him to be "beloved" like many - possibly the majority - still do.
Now zoom your lens out a few millimetres, maybe just beyond the borders of British Columbia.
If you do that, do you see a large percentage of hockey fans throughout North America who may look at the history of our team and still view Bertuzzi's assault as a stain on it? Because I've looked through that lens. The view through it is that, almost 17 years later, people still hate the guy for it.
Hockey fans everywhere see people who defend Bertuzzi as apologists who defend him simply because they're loyal to the team. It sucks, and it's not fair to him as a human being, but when you live a public life and you do one bad thing like that, it sticks to you.
One of my main responsibilities as the publisher and editor-in-chief of this publication is to make sure you get the truth. In my role as a columnist here, it's to share my honest opinions.
My opinion is that Todd Bertuzzi is one of the most-hated former Vancouver Canucks players.
It's also the truth.
Sorry about that.