Behind all of the excitement around the Vancouver Canucks preseason, the team’s owner, Francesco Aquilini revealed why he wants a quick rebuild that is finished sooner than later. The reason may surprise you.
The relationship between Vancouver Canucks fans and team owner Francesco Aquilini is strained to say the least. Aquilini has earned the reputation of a meddling owner, whether he likes it or not. Decisions in personnel hiring and certain trade rumours have been linked to the ownership group for a long time.
That relationship was made worse by the acrimonious departure of one of the biggest icons in franchise history, Trevor Linden. The summer was not kind to Canucks ownership, turning an army of Linden supporters against Aquilini. Linden did very well trying to control the narrative through his friends in the media, without having to say a word in public.
Canucks ownership shied away from the public, which may have been best to wait for the anger to blow over. But then, we learn something interesting. For those unaware, there is a frequent caller of both Canucks radio stations who goes by the Twitter handle, Uncle Laleet. He is an entertaining caller that is frustrated by the team’s current direction and is very much in the scorched Earth rebuild camp.
Laleet got a chance to speak with Aquilni during Canucks training camp in Whistler. While on TSN 1040, he revealed that Aquilini wants the rebuild to finish sooner, rather than later. Why? Because his father is getting old (he’s in his 80’s) and he wants him to still be around when the Canucks win the Stanley Cup.
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Maybe you’re saying “So, what?” This information came from a fan, not one of the insiders we are used to. Well, on the latest edition of the Patcast, Jason Botchford and Jeff Paterson corroborated what Uncle Laleet said. Both of them spoke with the Canucks owner and heard the same things.
If that’s not good enough to believe him now, then I don’t know what is. For the longest time, most fans (including myself) assumed that ownership pushed the quick turnaround because we believed Aquilini was just greedy and wanted his playoff revenue.
With this new information in mind, does that change your opinion? For me, it made ownership seem more approachable. Someone who didn’t sit in an ivory tower looking down on Vancouver below. Of course, he is still incredibly wealthy and you can have other issues with his business dealings, but for that one moment, he seemed like a regular person who just cared about his dad.
Now, I don’t want to sound insensitive, but the Canucks would be in a position to compete now if Francesco approved a rebuild 4-5 years ago. These “retooling” efforts have wasted a lot of time and if that is in short supply, there should have been a better commitment to starting from scratch.
So I ask, what do you think? If you are a die-hard Linden supporter, do you still feel angry at ownership? Even though Linden had four years and was asking for several more to do what he promised? I honestly can’t blame ownership, but then again, he hired Trevor Linden and Jim Benning in the first place.
Keep in mind, I don’t think this suddenly makes Aquilini the best owner in the NHL. But it does add a little perspective behind the motivations of his actions. It might be something to think about if anymore rash decisions are made this season. Chasing after the star players in trades, going big on free agents or firing people who don’t get the job done. All of that seems to be on the table now.