VANCOUVER – If the thousands upon thousands of Canadiens fans living in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean eagerly anticipate a visit from their favorite team to Vancouver each year, these games are just as special for many of the players involved.
With a temperate climate all year long and incredible scenery that stretches from downtown to the city limits, Vancouver is known as one of the finest tourist and sporting destinations in the country. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that many Habs players waited impatiently for the release of the 2014-15 NHL schedule to plan a few activities ahead of their visit to British Columbia.
Carey Price, who hails from Anahim Lake, a small village located approximately 12 hours north of Vancouver, can count on the support of more than a few family members situated throughout the province. While his first few visits to Rogers Arena might not have turned out the way he wanted them to, the Olympic gold-medalist turned things around over the course of the last three seasons at the Canucks’ home rink by winning each of those starts and allowing just one goal in his last two outings in the Lower Mainland. He hasn’t yet been confirmed as the starter, but Price will likely get the call between the pipes on Thursday night.
|Brendan Gallagher is the Vancouver Giants’ all-time leader in goals and points. |
Even if he was born in Edmonton, Brendan Gallagher considers Delta, a city located 30 minutes south of Vancouver, his hometown. The gritty winger rewrote the Vancouver Giants’ record books during his time in the WHL between 2008 and 2012, setting all-time marks that still stand today with 136 goals and 280 points. Interestingly enough, his father, Ian, is the Giants’ strength and conditioning coach, and he’ll certainly be attendance at the tilt on Thursday.
A key member of several powerhouse Canucks teams that were the talk of the NHL in recent years, Manny Malhotra spent three seasons in Vancouver. While many people believed that his career could have essentially been over when he suffered an eye injury back in 2010-11, the Mississauga native returned to active duty in the Stanley Cup Final that year and came within one win of hoisting hockey’s ultimate prize with the Canucks. Malhotra spends his summers in the city with his wife, Joann, who is a Vancouver native.
|Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise were teammates during two seasons with the Canucks. |
A teammate of Malhotra’s for two seasons in Vancouver, Dale Weise played 152 games with the Canucks between 2011 and 2014, and was used sporadically by his former coaches. Acquired by the Canadiens in February 2014, the Winnipeg native had the opportunity to go up against his former team at the Bell Centre only three days after the trade. Weise should make his return to Rogers Arena on Thursday night. He understandably would like to show his former fan base just what they’re missing out on.
Last but not least is defenseman Mike Weaver. Often making trips between the AHL and the NHL at the outset of his career, Weaver ultimately began his NHL career as a member of the Canucks in 2007-08. Doing everything possible to secure his place amongst a solid group of defensemen, the veteran rearguard still managed to turn heads and his efforts have ultimately earned him a permanent spot in the league seven seasons running, having not returned to the minors since.
Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.
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The Numbers Game - October 28, 2014
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