Vancouver Canucks History: 2007 All-Star Game Snub


Each week I look back at a moment in Vancouver Canucks history. I explore big stories and small stories, solemn stories and silly stories. Each week is an excuse to talk about old-timey, and not so old-timey, hockey and hockey players. This week: The Canucks almost send two players to the 2007 All-Star game.

On January 24, 2007 the Vancouver Canucks were represented in the All-Star Game by goaltender Roberto Luongo. But the team and fans came close to sending another player to the celebration that weekend.

It wasn’t Daniel Sedin or Henrik Sedin. It wasn’t Markus Naslund or Brendan Morrison. It was journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick. This week in Canucks history, Rory Fitzpatrick should have been playing in the NHL All-Star Game.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, long before there was John Scott or Zemgus Girgensons, Fitzpatrick was the first fan-driven attempt to elevate a blue-collar hero to all-star status.

Like Scott, Fitzpatrick’s skills were unremarkable for an NHL player. He was a moderate producer in junior hockey and in the AHL, but he never produced in the NHL. His career totals are 287 games played, 10 goals and 25 assists. He wasn’t a fan favourite or a goon.

He was one of many borderline NHL players who worked hard, did what was asked and stayed in the game for a long time. Fitzpatrick broke into the NHL in 1995 with the Montreal Canadiens. By the 2006-07 season he was on the downside of reasonable, but not celebrated, career. He played far more games in the AHL than the NHL.

More from The Canuck Way

In the AHL over 12 seasons, he played 474 games and had a respectable 158 points. Over his career, he moved back and forth from the AHL to the NHL almost every single year. Sometimes, like in 2000-01 for the Nashville Predators, it was only two games.

But he was chosen to represent hard-working players, borderline NHLers and fans.

And by some people’s estimates he was also screwed over by the league. After surging to second in voting amongst defensemen league-wide, voting skewed near the end of the voting period away from the Western Conference and defensemen in general.

The pattern of voting broke late away from Rory Fitzpatrick, which cost him a spot in the game. I’m not a fan that usually gets caught up in Vancouver Canucks paranoia about the league being out to get us.

But Rory Fitzpatrick was chosen by the fans, and it appears the league took that choice away.

Next: History - Losing Our Greatest

The NHL tried to do the same thing to John Scott, but it backfired. Eventually, the league, despite hand-wringing, embraced the John Scott phenomenon. His story became a beautiful story of a grinder showing what he can do for one glorious day.

It should have been Rory’s story.