Honours for Pavel Bure were a long time coming

The best player in Vancouver Canucks history finally had his jersey retired on Saturday.

Pavel Bure was finally honoured by the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, as his #10 jersey was retired by the team in a special ceremony prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I’ve been following the Canucks since they played their very first game in the NHL in October, 1970. It was a fun time to be a Canucks fan, as there was plenty of excitement about joining the NHL. Even though the team was mostly made up of has-beens from other teams and other leagues, it was exciting to follow them.

I was reminded of that era the other day while reading a collection of Sports Illustrated stories on Bobby Orr, which have now been collected into a book. Many were published in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the era when Orr and the Boston Bruins  were dominating the league.

The first Canucks and NHL game I ever saw featured them playing (and getting pummeled by) the Bruins early in 1971. Orr, with Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, Wayne Cashman and a host of other top players, were the toast of the league.

The stories about Orr and the NHL back in those days were in some ways quaint. One recounted how Orr had shaken up the league’s salary structure by getting a contract for $200,000 over three seasons. Another stated how he was not told by his agent Alan Eagleson of an offer by the Bruins to keep him in Boston after 10 years of playing — an offer that included him getting an 18 per cent stake in the team.

The NHL today is far different. For starters, there are 30 teams instead of 14. There are many great players from all around the world, which was not the case in 1970, and the skill level of today’s NHL player is likely the best ever seen on the ice.

The NHL gets far more media attention. When the Canucks first joined the league, we’d be lucky to see one or two games broadcast on TV each month. They were only on Hockey Night in Canada, and those games were always at 5 p.m. on Saturdays — no exceptions.

To keep up, you had to listen to radio broadcasts of the games (with the incomparable Jim Robson doing play-by-play) and read newspapers closely.

Today, hockey games are everywhere on television and the internet. However, there are so many games against teams that aren’t too exciting that it gets kind of mind-numbing, especially early in the season.

Bure was one of those forceful and exciting players who only comes along very rarely — like Orr. He most certainly is the most exciting player to ever play for the Canucks. With his talent and a cast of strong supporting players, the Canucks made their best run ever at a Stanley Cup.

That run in 1994 remains the most exciting  moment in Canucks’ history, which unfortunately has often been filled with disappointments.

Bure is the only player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Canuck. It was long past time that he was honoured by the team.

The Canucks’ history matters, and he is a key part of the team’s legacy.

Just Posted

VIDEO: RibFest kicks off in Langley

Free event features barbecue ribs, chicken, pork and brisket from Canada’s top rib artists

Langley woman’s graduation marks expansion of PTSD service dog program

Delta-based B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs Society and Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs merging to service to more veterans

For a 20th year, golfers memorialize Surrey business owner killed by cancer

Annual tourney pays tribute to Howie Blessin, who wasn’t an avid golfer but employed people who are

Langley City Terry Fox Run in need of volunteers

Route marshals, event set-up and take-down on list of jobs that need filling

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in parts of Lower Mainland

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

VIDEO: World of Magic coming to Vancouver

Seven magic shows will appear at the Vancouver Playhouse from September 7 to 9

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Most Read