On Wednesday, two legendary Canucks broadcasters got the chance to welcome two legendary Canucks to the BC Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Tom Larscheid and Jim Robson had the honour of announcing the induction of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, which will take place in May. It’s a well-deserved honour, as the Sedins are the best players in the history of the Canucks and will likely be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the future.
“It’s a great honour,” said Daniel. “When we got the phone call, a little bit shocked, for sure.”
That it came as a shock might seem surprising — why wouldn’t they be inducted given their amazing careers, played entirely in Vancouver? — but the truth is that not every great Canuck is in the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Not even every player that has their number retired by the Canucks is in the Hall. Neither Pavel Bure nor Markus Naslund is enshrined in the BC Sports Hall of Fame. What those two Canucks greats lack, it seems, is a larger connection to British Columbia.
Generally speaking, most of the Canucks in the BC Sports Hall of Fame were either born in BC or played hockey in BC prior to playing in the NHL. The Hall also includes several NHL stars from BC that never played for the Canucks, such as Joe Sakic, Scott Niedermayer, and Paul Kariya.
Two Vancouver Canucks teams have been inducted into the Hall in the Team category. The 1945-46 season was the inaugural season of the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Coast Hockey League, and they took home the league championship. They were inducted in 2012. Then there’s the 1968-69 Canucks, who swept the eight games of the playoffs to win the Lester Patrick Cup, something that had never been done before. They were inducted in 2006.
There are also the 1914-15 Vancouver Millionaires and 1924-25 Victoria Cougars, the lone Stanley Cup champions in BC hockey history.
Eight Vancouver Canucks players are already in the BC Sports Hall of Fame, including Cam Neely, who played just three seasons with the Canucks before his infamous trade. He’s from Maple Ridge, however, so he has a firm BC connection.
The other seven are Orland Kurtenbach, Stan Smyl, Darcy Rota, Harold Snepsts, Trevor Linden, and Cliff Ronning, along with Pat Quinn, the recipient of the WAC Bennett Award in 2013.
Kurtenbach may have been from Saskatchewan, but he came west to play for the Vancouver Canucks in the WHL in 1957-58, 13 years before he was the team’s first captain in their first season in the NHL. Rota were born and raised in Vancouver, though he spent most of his NHL career elsewhere. of their playing careers elsewhere. Quinn, of course, returned to Vancouver as the Canucks’ President, General Manager, and Head Coach in the 90’s.
Smyl is from Edmonton, but played a season of junior hockey in the BCJHL with the Bellingham Blazers, who played their playoff games in Langley, BC, before he played three seasons in the WCHL with the New Westminster Bruins. Ronning is from Burnaby and also played for the New Westminster Bruins during his Junior career.
The two exceptions to the “prior BC connection” guideline are two players whose names are synonymous with the Canucks: Snepsts and Linden.
Snepsts was a legendary fan favourite in his time, inspiring chants of “Har-old! Har-old!” with his gritty, hard-nosed style. He hit anything that moved on the ice, was tireless in his effort, and had a tremendous moustache. Fans loved him, to an extent that will likely never be matched in Vancouver.
He was also one of the final players in the NHL to play without a helmet, going helmetless right up to his retirement in 1991.
Then, of course, there’s Linden, whose legacy in Vancouver, at least as a player, is untarnished. He’s still one of the most popular players in Canucks history, with the 1994 playoff run his defining moment. Despite cracked ribs and torn rib cartilage in the Stanley Cup Final, Linden did everything he could to will the Canucks to victory, including scoring the Canucks’ only two goals in Game 7.
So yes, even though Snepsts and Linden didn’t have a BC connection before joining the Canucks, they still make perfect sense as inductees into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
The same is true, of course, for the Sedins.
They played their entire careers with the Canucks, in an era where few players do so. They were the first Art Ross winners in franchise history, winning in back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011. Henrik has the only Hart Trophy in franchise history, while Daniel won the second Ted Lindsay Award after Naslund.
Both reached the 1000-point milestone in their careers and are the two highest-scoring players in franchise history.
Beyond their on-ice accomplishments, the Sedins have been pillars of the community in BC, from their work with Canucks-associated charities, to their establishment of the Sedin Family Foundation, not to mention their $1.5 million donation to the BC Children’s Hospital.
The Sedins may be from Sweden, but Vancouver is their home, and they are a major part of BC sports history. As such, they’re fitting inductees to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.