On a plane ride from Toronto to Vancouver, I was getting excited because I got to go home to Vancouver and catch some Canucks games on the west coast and of course the pending trip to LA and Anaheim to see the Canucks play in Southern California. (That’s another column in itself). I was very fortunate to sit next to a Canucks fan. He was wearing his Linden jersey, so I assumed that he was a Nucks fan and I decided to strike up a conversation. He obliged.
We talked about what happened last year and how far the Canucks can potentially go in this upcoming season. We both had high hopes and then there was a small silence. He then brought up that Linden was his favourite Canuck of all time and asked me which Canucks was my favourite. I responded with Trevor Linden. I wasn’t surprised, he was in and around my age (34) and we both grew up in that era of Canucks hockey.
He also brought up the topic of Trevor Linden making the Hall Of Fame. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I had a confused look on my face. He kept rambling on how Trevor was the heart and soul of the Canucks and how he has done so much for the organization under different ownership(s) etc, etc, etc. I finally responded with, “Trevor Linden is not a Hall of Fame Player”. I think he was about ready to slap me, but instead, I got the “you’re not a real Canucks fan” response. I wasn’t going to argue so I just said”You’re right, I am not a real Canucks fan, I am hockey fan who happens to favour the Canucks as her team of choice.”
My fellow fan was just flabbergasted that I would not induct Vancouver’s Golden Boy, Trevor Linden, into the Hockey Hall of Fame like most Canucks fans would. I gave him my explanation, like I am going to give it to you, the readers.
When I say this Canucks fans, please don’t bombard my email with hate mail about how I am not a Canucks fan because I don’t love Trevor Linden. Fact is, I love Trevor Linden, and he is truly my favourite Canuck of all time. He was truly a great asset to the organization when he was a part of it, and not to mention the community of the Lower Mainland. Linden embraced Vancouver and Vancouver embraced Trevor Linden. It was a love affair that was instantaneous and life-long.
I am a huge Trevor Linden fan, but even with Canucks –coloured glasses on, Trevor Linden is not HOF material as a player. Heck he’s not even our leading goal scorer of all time in the club record books. It’s sad to say but towards the end of his career, Trevor’s abilities and foot speed, decreased so much that even an ardent Linden fan as me could no longer deny it.
I did however love seeing flashes of classic Linden during the playoffs. He was definitely clutch. Still, he’s not my choice as a player to go to the HOF. The HOF is the best of the best, and as much as Vancouver fans love Trevor, he’s not or even close to that echelon of player. To say any different, would be a delusion of grandeur.
So I stand by it, Trevor Linden was not a good enough player to be considered for the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a good hockey player with an extraordinary heart, mindset, and a conscience for the game, the fans, and the city that gave him so much. I`m sure he`ll even agree with me. He`s not the best of the best, but he certainly played amongst them, and played well I might add.
However, I believe that Trevor Linden will be in the HHOF, and no, not as a visitor, but he will be inducted in due time. He has a chance to be inducted in the “Builders” category. For the years he`s spent as the NHLPA president and playing a huge role in bringing hockey back after a year-long lockout, I believe he will get his day and his respect.
So my flight companion was partially right, Trevor Linden is worthy of the HOF, just not as a player.