On Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks retired the numbers of Daniel (22) and Henrik Sedin (33). The ceremony couldn’t have played out any better.
It was a long time coming. Few, if any at all, could have envisioned both Daniel and Henrik Sedin beginning and ending their illustrious careers on the same team — let alone at an elite level for over a decade. Yet through topping the franchise record books as the teams’ leading scorers, over two decades after their draft year, we sit here today.
Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks was a rare opportunity for a myriad high-profile players, management, and staff, along with the entire fanbase to come together and shower the twins with both support and recognition as their jerseys were retired and their legacies became cemented within Canucks history.
It was arguably the most sought after of pre-game ceremonies in the franchise’s 50-year history. Packed with memorable moments, here are a couple of the highlights:
Wednesday was a rare opportunity for fans of all generations to once again bare glimpse to some of the greatest Canucks of both past and present.
In what at times felt like unofficially became known as the Ryan Kesler redemption tour, “Kes” headlined a star-studded group of returnees from the 2011 Stanley Cup run. The group featured the likes of fan favourites Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond all in attendance, with Kevin Bieksa sharing emceeing duties and Roberto Luongo once again being met with a chorus of “Lou” chants.
Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl and Trevor Linden were of course also present to welcome the two new additions to the rafters, with Linden at one point grinning ear-to-ear after being met with a standing ovation and deafening applause.
The icing on the cake included former management that helped pave the way for the Sedins’ successful tenure in Vancouver. Former General Managers Brian Burke (1998-2004), Dave Nonis (2004-2008), and Mike Gillis (2008-2014) were all in attendance, and while it’s fair to wonder what kind of awkward dynamics were present during the festivities, Burke was able to brush it aside for a night:
“When you get invited to something like this, it doesn’t matter if an owner fired you or you didn’t get along with a GM that took over after you, none of that matters,” Burke told Sportsnet. “It’s the right thing to do to show up…everyone’s getting along…or at least acting like they do.”