If you’ve visited the Hall of Heroes outside section 316 at Rogers Arena, you know there’s a lot to see.
When it comes to Trevor Linden, the exclusive and authentic memorabilia is endless. From his iconic black helmet and last game stick, to a minor hockey league photo from 1982 and a World Jr. Championship gold medal from 1988, there’s something to spark the wow factor in everyone.
Dig a little deeper and there’s a true Linden gem, an Easter egg if you will, to be seen inside his actual locker, containing his actual equipment, from his last game on April 5, 2008. Lift up the bench and you’ll discover a pair of Nike Air Diamond Fury shoes, which Linden is believed to have worn to every single NHL game he ever played.
As you’d expect, after playing 1,382 games, the Nikes aren’t as fresh and clean as they once were; they’re ratty, worn, frayed and faded, logos are missing and were it not for the Plexiglas keeping them safe in the Hall of Heroes, odds are pretty good they would smell to high heaven – or maybe not?
Here are six things you should know about Linden’s shoes.
“I think they were team issue shoes a long long time ago, I can’t really remember when,” said Linden. “We always got the team issue shoes and I always used to tell the trainers every year when they went to give me new shoes, ‘these ones are fine, there’s nothing wrong with these shoes. I can use these shoes, I don’t need new shoes, I’ve got good shoes.’ So every year Nike would give us new shoes and I was just happy with the ones I had, so I just kept wearing them.”
“The patches on the front of both shoes are add-ons because I blew the toes out and then Darren Granger [former assistant equipment manager] put the patches on and then even the patches started coming off, that’s when they were really at their life’s end. Those shoes didn’t owe me a thing.
“When they got the hockey laces put in, that’s when they really became super cool. I think it was when I came back to Vancouver, I put hockey laces in and then they really became amazing.”
FINE, BUT I KEEP THE SHOES
“Yes, they went with me when I was traded and then they came back. I went away for four years and came back with the same old shoes, so then it became a bit of a joke, the trainers were trying to get rid of them and I always had to make sure my precious shoes made it to every road trip and everything else. It was kind of humourous. It was just one of those things, if you’ve got a good old pair of shoes, you just keep wearing them. Right? If they aren’t broke, don’t fix them.
“They meant a lot to me, they were kind of like... maybe I guess it’s like that blanket that a toddler has, it’s that little bit of safety, that one thing that always stayed the same was those shoes.”
Editor’s Note: I am thorough and exhaustive in my research so yes, I took a big whiff of each shoe. Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised when the results came back negative for stank. After all those years, Linden’s shoes don’t stink.
“That’s a very good question, I have no idea why they don’t stink. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t. Maybe it’s because those shoes were mostly worn before games, they spent a lot of time in the stick room and a lot of time in different meetings and in the training room, they weren’t really training shoes, during the season you’re not doing any significant training so they were just kind of my hanging out shoes. It’s not like I was sweating profusely in them or anything like that.”
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
“They are very worn now, but they were in better shape when Darren Granger was here because he gave them a little TLC, he put the patches on the toes and he kind of looked after them. Then when Darren left I couldn’t get anyone on the equipment training staff to doctor them up anymore, so they got looking pretty shabby and that’s one of the reasons I had to retire them.”
LOST AND FOUND
“I thought they came with me when I retired, Pat O’Neill gave me my equipment when I left, he said ‘take this stuff, we don’t want it anymore,’ so I took it home and I thought the shoes were in there. Obviously they’re not. Good to see them end up in the Hall of Heroes, that’s where they deserve to be.”
Check out more exclusive pictures of Linden’s shoes at Fortnucks.com.