Pat Quinn: Hockey’s St. Patrick

When I headed towards Rogers Arena last night, my husband sent me a text cautioning me of what I might see when I entered the gate:

Keep your eyes peeled when you come in Gate 16. It was quite the rogues gallery when I came

As I was walking down Abbot Street  (now Pat Quinn Way) to my regular gate, Orland Kurtenbach and his wife walked by for the unveiling of the street sign on Abbot St. and Pacific Boulevard. As I came inside, I saw Kirk McLean talking with a few others. Usually, I don’t get phased by seeing McLean, he’s in and around the arena quite a bit during the regular season, but yesterday, it felt different. There was an energy the minute I set foot through the doors. As I waited for the elevator to take me to Level 5, I started recognizing more faces, and then I thought I saw Markus Naslund which made me do a double take and I wasn’t sure, but I was… Anyway, everyone was in great anticipation of the pre-game ceremony.

When I met up with my husband in our section, he told me of some of the people he saw gathered at Gate 16. He said, in a cluster, there was Brian Burke, George McPhee, Jim Robson and Bob Nicholson. Rogues, maybe, but hockey’s upper echelon, definitely. As we were having our pre-game dinner, I believe we both felt at a loss for words. All  we could do was smile just think of how much Pat Quinn meant to hockey and we in Vancouver were so fortunate to have felt his impact so profoundly.

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way" with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way” with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

The unveiled "Pat Quinn Way". Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

The unveiled “Pat Quinn Way”. Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 When the actual ceremony began, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and legendary broadcaster, Jim Robson hosted the evening. It was respectful, memorable without being too long winded. It was perfect. Rick Ley, Bobby Clarke, Cliff Fletcher, Ron Toigo, Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, Bob Nicholson and Orland Kurtebach all joined in for the on-ice ceremony. But it was the amazing entourage of people who weren’t shown publicly that astounded many. Washington Capitals GM, George McPhee, singer Michael Buble, Flames President- Brian Burke were amongst the many who gathered at Rogers Arena on that very special night.

Seeing people in the hockey world pay their respects to a man that meant so much to this game, to this city and especially to this team. Pat Quinn had an impact everywhere he want into hockey, but nowhere to the extent of Vancouver. I was still a young girl (11 or 12) when Pat Quinn took charge of the Vancouver Canucks, but I do remember the less than half full Pacific Coliseum before his arrival and how things changed when he put his stamp on the team. There was a culture, there was a vibe, there was respectability associated with the Canucks that lacked in previous regimes.

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Highlights of the Pat Quinn Ceremony

  • Seeing the array of team jerseys that was associated with Pat Quinn in the world of hockey. Even more so the people who wore them out as they were introduced to Rogers Arena.
  • The appropriateness of the St. Patrick’s Day to remember The Big Irishman.
  • Bagpipes and Mark Donnelly singing his rendition of “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” paid a wonderful musical tribute.
  • The combatants of the night, were the two NHL teams Quinn had the most success with as a head coach.
  • All the dignitaries throughout the night that went on-air with kind words to say about Pat.
  • Seeing his daughters and granddaughter with the ceremonial puck drop was a perfect way to end the ceremony.
  • The one that impacted me the most during the ceremony was seeing Bure, Linden and McLean together in their old “Skate Logo” jersey brought the crowd to a rousing cheer. Memories of a team from yesteryear brought many smiles and tears of joy to some present at the arena. Most significant part of that trio together was, as they were leaving the ice after the ceremony, Linden patted Bure on the back and shared what seemed like kinds words with the Russian Rocket. Two men, who have not always seen eye to eye, as teammates and people, put their differences aside for the night to remember Pat Quinn. That’s speaks volumes of how much Pat Quinn meant to people.

For those that missed the ceremony last night, or those who just want to see it again, here is the ceremony in its entirety.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

#TBT: Canucks’ 5 Prodigal Sons

There are some guys in the NHL that find certain teams, cities or whatever their ‘homes’. With the recent homecoming of sorts for Geroy Simon with the BC Lions front office, I thought of some Canucks players who have done double duty with Vancouver in their careers. One even came back to the team three times.

5. Bobby Schmautz: Played four seasons with the Canucks (1970-1974) scoring 38 goals one season. Between 1974-1980, Schmautz has played for Boston, Colorado (Rockies) and Edmonton until returning to the Canucks for the 80-81 season scoring 27 goals  and 61 points in 73 games before calling it a career.

Schmautz came back to Vancouver in 1980 before retiring.

Schmautz came back to Vancouver in 1980 before retiring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Nolan Baumgartner: First played for Vancouver in the 2002-2003 season. The Canucks lost him in the Waiver Draft and the re-acquired him a month later. Baumgartner played back and forth for the various Canucks AHL affliates and of course for the Canucks as the 7th defenceman. Baumer loved being in the organization so much he came back for thirds. In the 2009-2010 season, he came to play 12 games towards the end. Nolan is now an assistant coach with the Canucks AHL team, The Utica Comets.

aumer still is a Canuck via being an assistant coach with the AHL Utica Comets. Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks

Baumer still is a Canuck via being an assistant coach with the AHL Utica Comets. Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Brad May: May Day first came to the Canucks in the 97/98 season before heading off for the Pheonix Coyotes for a few seasons and making another run with the Canucks from 2003-2007.  Brad May was known to be a tough competitor and didn’t mind dropping the gloves with the biggest and the baddest to be considered one of the best middleweight fighters during his time in the NHL. May Day is now a broadcaster/analyst for Rogers Sportsnet.

May Day came back twice. Once wearing No. 9 and the other wearing the now retired No.10. Photo credit: Windsorstar.com

May Day came back twice. Once wearing No. 9 and the other wearing the now retired No.10. Photo credit: Windsorstar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Harold Snepsts:  Snepts is probably one of Vancouver’s all time favourites. Played for the Canucks from 1974-1984. He then spent some time  with the North Stars and then the Detroit Red Wings organizations. He came back to the Canucks in 1988 and was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1990 before calling it a career. Many of us won’t ever forget the “HAAAARRRROOOOLLLLDDDD!!!” chants throughout the old Pacific Coliseum. He is also an inductee of the Canucks Ring of Honour at Rogers Arena and debated, along with Dave Babych, to have the best ‘stache ever to be worn by a Canucks player

Snepsts in his hey-day rocking the no helmet and one of the best staches in Canucks history.

Snepsts in his hey-day rocking the no helmet and one of the best staches in Canucks history. Photo credit: Legendsofhockey.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Trevor Linden: Last and definitely not least is No. 16. The guy many did not want traded away in the first place. He is probably this city’s favourite son, transplanted or not, he became one of  “us” during his tenure as a player here with the Vancouver Canucks. Drafted in 1988, he became Vancouver’s new Canucks darling from the get-go. Runner up for the Calder trophy to Brian Leetch and of course, 1994 and his performance in Game 7 vs the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Mike Keenan traded him in the most unpopular trade of all time on February 6, 1998 with the New York Islanders .However, Linden garnered Betuzzi, McCabe and a 3rd round pick that became Jarkko Ruutu. Brian Burke brought back Canucks’ favourite son in November 2001 for a 1st round and 3rd round pick. Trevor was home and still is home. He is now the President of the Vancouver Canucks and his jersey number is forever retired up in the rafters of Rogers Arena.

At his retirement ceremony, Trevor Linden is forever a Canuck. Photo credit: nhlsnipers.com

At his retirement ceremony, Trevor Linden is forever a Canuck. Photo credit: nhlsnipers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are my favourite Canucks to do a second tour with the team, but there were quite a few who came out this way more than once. Any one I missed that you would have liked included? I think it’s a pretty good list on this #ThrowbackThursday.

@Aviewfromabroad

#TICH: The Infamous Third Jersey in Salmon

January 27, 1996, The Vancouver Canucks introduced the infamous “Salmon Jerseys” as their third jersey. It debuted at then called, General Motors Place, to mixed reviews. Some really liked them and some considered them one of the most hideous jersey the team has put out since their “Flying V” one.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It definitely wasn’t one of my favourites but I do find it amusing that Canucks fans to this day still talk about it. It’s even more amazing the every now and then you will see one or two of these on a rack at sports retailers all around Metro Vancouver. Admittedly, I almost bought myself one of these back in the day…

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn't play every year like it was a contract year.

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn’t play every year like it was a contract year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Today in Canucks’ History, the “Salmon Jerseys” were shown for the first time. Luckily, in my personal opinion, we never have to see them ever again.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

 

PS, here is a rare picture of Markus Naslund wearing No.22, and most fortunate for this #TICH, it’s in this third jersey of the Canucks.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.

#TICH: Iron Mike Makes a Deal

January 3rd, 1998: Iron Mike Keenan started his dismantling of the Vancouver Canucks. After 10 years in a Canucks uniform, the longest serving goalie in franchise history, Kirk McLean, gets dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with Martin Gelinas for Geoff Sanderson, Enrico Ciccone and goaltender, Sean Burke. Those three players played a total of 38 games for the Vancouver Canucks before they, themselves, were sent away from by Keenan.

 

Kirk McLean spent 10 & half years backstopping for the Canucks. He was traded to Carolina January 3, 1998.

Kirk McLean spent 10 & half years backstopping for the Canucks. He was traded to Carolina January 3, 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McLean’s play suffered partly because of a reoccurring knee injury but in all honesty, many people believed Mike Keenan didn’t want the core there anymore and McLean was the first piece, with Gelinas, to be dealt out. McLean and Gelinas were the first but they were not the last. Change came, some of it ended up being blessing in disguise eventually, but this was a deal that Carolina got themselves a starting goaltender and Vezina finalist in Kirk McLean and “Notre Coeur” (Our Heart) Martin Gelinas. The Canucks got back, temporary workers.

It was the beginning of the end of an era that Pat Quinn had built previously. Keenan knocked it down with a wrecking ball and in doing so, set the organization back by a decade. He didn’t care, he wanted to make sure the stamp had “Iron Mike” all over it on the Canucks organization. It did, but it was years before we as fans, saw any of the fruition of it.

This is what happened on January 3, 1998, Today in Canucks History.

 

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

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Notable players traded by Mike Keenan out of the Canucks organization:

TO BUFFALO: Geoff Sanderson

TO VANCOUVER: Brad May

TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Trevor Linden

TO VANCOUVER: Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, 3rd Round Pick(Jarkko Ruutu)

TO PHILADELPHIA:Dave Babych, 5th Round Pick(Garrett Prosofsky)

TO VANCOUVER:3rd Round Pick(Justin Morrison)

TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Gino Odjick

TO VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Jason Strudwick

TO PHILADELPHIA:Sean Burke

TO VANCOUVER:Garth Snow

TO NEW YORK RANGERS:Russ Courtnall, Esa Tikkanen

TO VANCOUVER:Sergei Nemchinov, Brian Noonan

TO VANCOUVER: Trent Klatt

TO PHILADELPHIA: 6TH Round Pick

Welcome to 2014-2015: A Season to Sit Back and Enjoy!

The Vancouver Canucks kick off the 2014-2015 NHL season tonight in Calgary and for the first time in a long time, there is a different vibe among the fans in Canucks Nation.

Gone are the questions of whether this will be the year, replaced by the hope and excitement of a new regime. A sense of calm has blanketed the organization after a circus-like couple of seasons that saw the Canucks fall out of contention in the NHL West.

The often brash and arrogant management of Mike Gillis is gone, replaced by the classy Trevor Linden and a GM in Jim Benning that treats people with respect, while sporting a reputation of a guy having a keen eye for talent. You also get the feeling that the respect both of these men have earned will be an asset in improving the club, as their relationship with their peers will be better than their predecessors.

Willie DesjardinsWillie Desjardins is getting good early reviews as coach, and it will be exciting to see how he motivates and works with this club this season, his first as a head coach. He’s known to have the ability to motivate young and veteran players alike. If your players like and respect you and want to work for you, it can have amazing results.

For the first time in many years, there are new faces on the ice. Players that have youth and that can grow with the club. There are prospects on the farm that aren’t far away from making a contribution.

As fans we get watch the birth of a new regime, and watch how it unfolds. Often times with fresh guidance from the top a team can flourish, because they are all on the same page, working as one. Will the Sedins rebound and find their magic with new linemate Radim Vrbata? Will Alex Burrows rebound and provide the Canucks with that second line that has been missing the last few seasons? Can Zack Kassian take the next step in his development and become the power forward his skillset suggest he can be?

Ryan Miller will split the goaltending duties with the popular Eddie Lack, and somehow you get the feeling there could be a year without the soap opera that has been the Canucks goaltending situation, unless you’re not convinced the media in this town just can’t resist trying to create a new one.

Seasons like the one we are about to embark on are refreshing. There are no real expectations; no one is considering the Canucks a contender for the cup. If the Canucks make the playoffs this season it will be considered a huge accomplishment in a very tough Western Conference.

A lot of things have changed for the Canucks, but in the end there is a new confidence and direction in the organization, and after years of stressful seasons and expectations not met, feel free to sit back and watch this team evolve under the Linden, Benning and Desjardins, all of it without the stress and expectations of seasons past.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 season, everyone. Go Canucks Go!