The Vancouver Canucks recently announced that they will be unveiling a new addition to their Ring of Honour at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Ring of Honour can be seen at Rogers Arena, above all of the seats, near the catwalk at the ceiling of the arena and commemorates former Canucks who made an impact on the franchise. The Sedin twins will have their jerseys retired this year, but I don’t believe there are any plans for them to be added to the Ring of Honour.
Orland Kurtenbach was the first Canuck added to the Ring of Honour in 2010. It’s only fitting, as Kurtenbach was the first captain in franchise history, and wore the “C” for the first four seasons of the Canucks’ NHL existence before he retired after the 1973-74 season. Goaltender Kirk McLean was the second player added, just a month after Kurtenbach. McLean backstopped the Canucks for 11 seasons and is best known for making “The Save” in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Thomas Gradin, who is now a scout with the team, was added in 2011. Defenceman Harold Snepsts, once the Canucks’ franchise leader in both penalty minutes and games played, was added in March of 2011. Pat Quinn, the former Canucks bench boss who won the Jack Adams Award in 1992, and served as both the general manager and head coach of the 1994 Canucks, was added in April of 2014. The Big Irishman passed away in November of that year.
Defenceman Mattias Ohlund was added in 2016. But who will be the next Canuck added to the Ring of Honour? It will be announced at the draft on Friday, but here’s who I think deserves a spot looking down on the ice at Rogers Arena.
Alex Burrows is the undrafted playoff hero who fans fell in love with right from day one. He played two seasons in the QMJHL, wasn’t drafted, so he decided to go grind it out in the ECHL. It wasn’t until his third ECHL season, playing for the Canucks’ affiliate, the Columbia Inferno, that he grabbed the attention of Manitoba Moose general manager Craig Heisinger, and signed an AHL contract with the team. After just two seasons with the Moose, Burrows was in the Canucks’ lineup. He never played another AHL game from that point forward, and the rest is history.
The man who so famously “slayed the dragon” in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, is who I think will be added to the Ring of Honour tonight. Burrows gave everything he had to the city and the franchise, and truly is someone who worked his tail off to earn everything he received. Burrows has earned the spot.
Last night, at a season ticket member-only event held at Rogers Arena, Burrows was on stage with the Sedins. He was introduced by the play-by-play voice of the Canucks, John Shorthouse, and was met with a standing ovation. Burrows is in Vancouver for the draft, as a coach for the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate, the Laval Rocket, but something tells me there’s something more brewing here. Burrows was instrumental in the Canucks’ Stanley Cup run in 2011, scoring key overtime goals against the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, tallying nine goals total in those playoffs. Aside from Burrows, here’s who else I think will be added to the Ring of Honour
Speaking of fan favourites, Gino Odjick may top the list as the most loved Canuck in franchise history. He is the greatest enforcer to ever play for the Canucks and always made his physical presence felt by everybody on the ice. Odjick was selected by the Canucks in the fifth round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft and played for the club for the first eight seasons of his career, from 1990-91 to 1997-98 when he finished the season as a member of the New York Islanders.
Odjick fired up fans for years in Vancouver and is most famous for his fight against, essentially, the entire St. Louis Blues team in May 1995. Search “Gino gone mad” on YouTube and you’ll find it. On June 26, 2014, Odjick revealed that he was diagnosed with the rare terminal heart condition named AL amyloidosis, which causes one’s bone marrow to produce abnormal antibodies that can’t be broken down. The condition hardened his heart by coating it in abnormal protein deposits, which led to Odjick suffering a heart attack.
During the toughest fight of his life, Canucks fans gathered outside the hospital where Odjick was staying and began the famous chant that used to fill the arena walls back in his playing days: “Gino! Gino! Gino!” As the chants grew louder, Odjick waved down to the crowd from his 10th story window.
“It was amazing and inspiring. It’ll give me everything I need to win this battle.”Gino Odjick, via The Province
Gino made a miraculous recovery, and despite being told he had just months to live, won yet another fight: the fight for his life.
It makes sense that two of the biggest fan favourites in Canucks history, Odjick and Burrows would be added to the Ring of Honour. Though, Burrows will likely be added tonight, Gino Odjick is my pick to be added shortly thereafter.