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Canucks fever outstripping pre-Olympic excitement

Vancouver Canuck fans celebrate on Granville Street after the Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver, British Columbia May 24, 2011.

Ben Nelms/ Reuters/Ben Nelms/ Reuters

The excitement in B.C. leading up to the Vancouver Canucks' Stanley Cup showdown with the Boston Bruins has dwarfed even that of the 2010 Olympics.

With the teams set to hit the ice for Game 1 Wednesday night, a poll released by Ipsos Reid says 8 in 10 British Columbians are excited about the Canucks' playoff performance. Fifty-three per cent of those polled said they were very excited, while 29 per cent were somewhat excited.

A poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on the eve of the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Winter Games found that 53 per cent of fans were excited for the Olympics to begin.

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"With Stanley Cup excitement outweighing that for the 2010 Olympics, it is clear that Canucks-mania has reached a fevered pitch across British Columbia," Ipsos Reid's Canada West president Steve Mossop wrote in a statement.

"With the team heading to a Stanley Cup showdown against the Boston Bruins, the Vancouver Canucks have the overwhelming support of fans all across the province. There is every indication that once the first puck drops, the celebratory atmosphere and level of excitement across the province will only increase."

The poll found that 73 per cent of British Columbians believe the Canucks - making their first finals appearance since 1994 - will beat the Bruins.

The online poll surveyed 1,661 adults between May 26 and May 30. Ipsos Reid said a survey of this size and response rate would have a margin of error of plus/minus 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Ipsos Reid conducted a similar poll, before this season's playoffs began, to measure Canucks fever. At that time, 54 per cent of respondents said they followed the team closely (26 per cent said very closely, 28 per cent somewhat closely). The bandwagon has since grown heavier and that number has now risen to 76 per cent (49 per cent follow very closely, 27 somewhat closely).

The city of Vancouver confirmed Tuesday that there will be two outdoor fan sites in the city's downtown core. The first will be on Granville Street, between Georgia and Robson, where a large screen will be placed on the back of a flat deck truck.

The second site will be outside the CBC building on Hamilton Street, also between Georgia and Robson. One screen has already been showing Canucks' playoff games at that location; the city said a second screen will be installed.

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Based in Vancouver, Sunny has been with The Globe and Mail since November, 2010. More

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