With the Sedins announcing that they are retiring at the end of the season I think it gave us fans of the Vancouver Canucks some time for reflection. To look back on two amazing careers, and in the process realize how lucky we were. How lucky we were to get a front row seat to two players whose talent mesmerized us. How lucky we were to get a front row seat to two of the finest, classiest players to put on an NHL jersey.
Yet when we look back at their first game on October 5th 2000 we can scarcely believe how we ended up here. Two players with all the talent in the world but found the physicality of the NHL difficult to deal with. Even their strongest supporters questioned if they would ever be able to adjust, but how wrong we were. Their skill on the ice was matched, if not surpassed by their hard work off of it. Who can forget the story of their training regiment. Henrik and Daniel would hop on a bike from Vancouver International Airport, ride all the way to North Vancouver, then make the 2.9km climb up the Grouse Grind. A training regiment any triathlete would find grueling. They were the first ones in the training facility and they were the last ones to leave.
On the ice as they began to mature they became pure magic. Any player they played with was instantly better. You simply had to work hard, go to the net and put your stick on the ice and they would find you. Trent Klatt, Anson Carter, Taylor Pyatt, and Alex Burrows. Just a few of the names who were able to ride shotgun with the two greatest players to put on a Canucks sweater. You can argue one wouldn’t have been as good without the other, but then again they probably wouldn’t have had it any other way. They simply loved to play together. A bond that only twins who had played with each other their entire lives could understand. Their next stop together will be the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Off the ice they were as classy they were on it. They picked up the mantle of charity work that was left by previous captains Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden. Neither was in it for the publicity or the fanfare, they just enjoyed helping others. Not surprising for two players that made a career of assisting players on the ice, they were remarkably selfless off of it. No matter where they go in their retired life they will always be an important citizen of Vancouver.
Even though they were unable to bring home the Stanley Cup to Vancouver that they desperately wanted to it doesn’t diminish who they were as players. To those who say they were too soft, not tough enough, not gritty enough, the time for arguing is over. All I will say is you clearly weren’t watching hard enough. It may take some time to be able to fully realize what it all meant. Maybe next season, when the Canucks open training camp without the Sedins, we will be able to look back and realize how lucky we were to witness it all.
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