As part of their 10th anniversary celebration, the WHL's Vancouver Giants welcomed Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic
back to his hometown for "Milan Lucic
" night at Pacific Coliseum.
The first 500 fans into the building received a Lucic bobblehead doll and his name and number 27 were added to the club's "Ring of Honor" just prior to the B's forward's drop of the ceremonial puck before the Giants game with the Chilliwack Bruins.
"It was good," said an emotional Lucic after the ceremonies. "A lot of people came out so it was nice to see the reception.
"A little mix of emotions, it brought back a lot of great memories. And to see the fans cheering for you one lat time, it’s great coming back in the coliseum.
"It’s a special feeling," he said.
Lucic, who was born and raised in Vancouver, played 175 games for the Giants with a 49-64-133 line and 247 penalty minutes from 2004-2007. He was part of Vancouver's 2006 WHL Championship and led the 2006-07 squad to Junior Hockey's Memorial Cup with a MVP performance.
A Lucic highlight video was the centerpiece of the night's festivities and gave Milan and his fans a chance to relive his many contributions the Giants.
"Yeah that was probably the most emotional part, you know. Just remembering those times when I was here and seeing that video," said Lucic. "I had a special two years here.
"Winning the Memorial Cup with the Giants here, it was a big part of my hockey career and [for] the organization and for a lot of the fans in Vancouver."
The video also included "The Shift" -- a Memorial Cup sequence that included three huge checks and a fight for Lucic and serves as a fitting prelude to his work in the NHL
"I was thinking ‘what was I thinking’?" said Lucic of his thoughts while he watched "The Shift."
"I was out there full of 'piss-and-vinegar' and doing whatever I had to do to help the team win.
"That’s what I had to do, and that’s what I still do. That’s the way that I play," explained Lucic. "And you know it’s great that I have something that people will always remember me for in something like that."
Through almost four seasons with the Bruins, Lucic has provided the fans of New England with plenty of memorable moments. Drafted by the Bruins in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Lucic has played 256 NHL games, all with Boston, and has a 60-71-131 line with 352 penalty minutes.
But asked once again about his successful days in juniors, Lucic's thoughts returned to the Giants Memorial Cup run.
"You know, looking back, you hope days like that and that feeling of winning a championship last forever," he said. "But unfortunately it goes by quickly.
"Looking back it is a blur in a way, but it was definitely something every time I look about or think about it, it’s a good thing."
And Lucic will certainly look back to this night, too.
"It’s awesome," he said. "I remember when I first started as a kid, I played here at the Coliseum and...you know being back here, practicing here in the NHL and being honored by my former junior team and being able to see all my family and friends here and getting to spend three days off is definitely something special and I couldn’t have it any better.
"Obviously, the Bruins wanted to me to have a lot of fun with it and have a great time with it, so I thank them for letting me enjoy this whole experience."