Canucks Ring of Honour: Who is worthy of “The Ring”

As we all know, the Vancouver Canucks are celebrating their 40th anniversary season in 2010-2011. As part of the celebrations, the club has introduced the Ring of Honour . Four times this season, the Canucks will induct a player from their 40 years of NHL hockey that have made lasting impressions on the team’s fans and the organization.

The first inductee, Orland Kurtenbach, will be inducted this Tuesday, October 26th. Kurtenbach was of course the team’s first captain and played four seasons with the Canucks, before coaching them for two. He is a resident of the lower mainland and an active member of the Vancouver Canucks Alumni.

That leaves three other inductees yet to be named by the team. Who should be the other three?

For me personally, there has to be certain criteria met.

  • You put in several years of service to the team.
  • You represented the team and the city with class.
  • You have contributed to the organization or the city outside of the game.

If it was up to me, I would have no problem including the following three players to round out the four inductions for this season. You may agree or you may have your own list based on your own criteria. Feel free to comment and post your choices below!

Kirk McLean – Goaltender

Kirk McLeanCaptain Kirk McLean played 11 seasons for the Canucks and was one of the main reasons the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994. “The save” in overtime of game seven against Calgary is still the single biggest save in Canucks history. His 52 save performance in Game 1 of the finals that same year, is still one of the greatest games a goaltender has ever played, period. McLean was one of the last “stand up” goaltenders and his tall frame frustrated many a shooter. His ability to keep cool no matter how much pressure he faced was another asset he possessed.

McLean’s name is prominent amongst the club’s all-time goaltending records:

  • 1st in games played: 516
  • 1st in wins: 211
  • 2nd all-time in shutouts (20)
  • 1st in playoff games played: 68
  • 1st in playoff shutouts: 6
  • 1st in playoff wins: 34
  • 3rd in playoff goals against average: 2.84
  • 2nd in playoff save percentage: .907

McLean has made Vancouver his home and is a business owner in the community and also makes appearances on behalf of the club’s alumni. He’s one of Vancouver’s most recognizable sports figures of all-time.

Freelance hockey writer Joe Pelletier who runs did this nice feature on McLean.

Harold Snepsts  – Defence

Harold SnepstsAffectionately known as “Haaaaaaarooold” by the Canucks faithful, Harold Snepsts patrolled the blueline for the Canucks for 12 seasons. He wasn’t flashy, and didn’t rack up a lot of points but he was steady and played with a mean streak. He was a two time all-star and was a member of the 1982 team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals.

With his trademark moustache, aggressive play and pleasant demeanour off the ice, Snepsts quickly became a fan favourite deserves to be recognized on the Ring of Honour.

Snepsts has come full circle in his career with the Canucks and is now employed as an amateur scout by the team and  is still to this day one of the most popular Canucks of all-time.

Thomas Gradin

Thomas GradinThomas Gradin  was the Canucks first legitimate star, scoring twenty or more goals seven different times for Vancouver. During the Canucks 1982 playoff run Gradin posted nineteen points. Gradin had his greatest success when teamed with linemates Stan Smyl and Curt Fraser, and the smooth skating swede excited fans with his masterful stick handling and smooth passes. There were many that felt that Gradin never reached his full potential with the club, likely due to the sub-par teams he played with throughout his career when he was basically the offence of the club.

Gradin spent eight seasons as a Canuck and ended his career with the Boston Bruins. Today, Gradin is a key member of the club’s scouting staff with the official title of Associate Head Scout.

So, those are the three players that I would choose and there are many others deserving of the recognition.

Leave us your choices or comments!


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  1. Chris says

    I would throw Bure’s name into the ring. He may have left on bad terms, but there is no doubt he is the most talented player to ever wear a Canucks uniform. Just like McLean’s save, Bure’s goal in OT in that game is one of the single greatest Canucks moments.

  2. says

    Good choices, Brian.

    I agree that Bure should be in the mix – he won the Calder Trophy, becoming the first player in team history to win one of the NHL’s major awards, and led the league in goals twice as a Canuck before the Rocket Richard trophy was introduced. He was absolutely electrifying. He changed how people watched hockey in Vancouver – we actually believed we had a legitimate shot to win every game, something we’d never had in this city before.

    The only problem is, does Bure’s problems with the media & with management preclude his inclusion in this little club? Guys like Snepsts and Captain Kirk had good relationships with fans as well as decent resumes as performers. Pavel, though, just shone on the ice like the superstar he was.

  3. Graham says

    Brian, very good choices but there is one name that pops out, what about Trevor Linden.

    I know his jersey has been retired and some may say that is enough, but 16 years with the Canucks might give him the edge. Has there been a Canuck that has played with the team longer?

    • says

      I think that those numbers that have been retired have been awarded the ultimate honour. I think the ring is and should be reserved for those that are not quite at jersey retiring levels.

      Not to say that what they did was any less significant, but you can’t retire everyone’s number.

      I say leave the ring for those that do not get their numbers retired.

  4. Michael says

    The Ring of Honour to me says they want to show off the players that were instumental in Canucks history. Kurtenbach was of course our first Captain and is still remembered by Canucks faithful. Ring of Honour should not just be players that weren’t good enough to have the jersey retired but were key attributes to the team and Captain Kirk and Captain Canuck would both be on that list. By the end of the Ring I would like to see the likes of Bure, McLean, Linden and Smyl cause they are all synonomis with the Vancouver Canucks, when you say Canucks people bring up these names and this is why they should all be on the ring.

  5. says

    Graham and Michael make an interesting point, and to be honest, that massive picture of Orland Kurtenbach looks a damned sight nicer than just a number, or a jersey, pulled up into the rafters. Are there any teams in the league who hoist pictures of players along with their retired numbers?

  6. Cornuck says

    How do you have a Canucks Ring of Honour and NOT have Bure in it?

    He singlehandedly gave all Canucks fans something to believe in and get excited about.

    • Brian Wawryshyn says

      I think bure is worthy, but in the first four inductions. There are players who player here longer, contributed more and were a bigger part of the community.

      Bure is the most talented Canuck ever, bar none, and one day he should claim a spot on the ring.

    • Justine Galo says

      Trevor has his number retired. In hockey that is a bigger honour than the Ring of Honour. So we won’t be seeing Linden on there. My next vote would have to be Pat Quinn. He was a player, a coach and a GM.

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