It was certainly the right event at the right time for the Canuck Alumni to show off their skills: the pre-game Alumni scrimmage at the annual Vancouver Canucks Superskills competition at Rogers Arena.
Some of the younger members of the "old guys" team looked like they could still strap 'em on and play alongside the current-day Canucks; with the likes of Mike Brown, Chad Grisdale, Rob Murray, Chris Levesque and Jeff Oddleifson dotting the Alumni lineup. Sure, the veterans were there ... none more 'veteran' than one-time Canucks captain and coach Orland Kurtenbach skating for the White team. Another former Canucks captain, Chris Oddleifson, was on hand to serve as linesman and captain Chris also laid claim to being one half of no fewer than three father-son combinations who delighted the sold-out Sunday-afternoon crowd: he with skating son, Jeff; Rob lining up alongside his father, Bob "Bo" Murray; and Chad skating for the Blues while his dad, BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale worked behind the benches.
And how about that goaltending trio, who kept the score low and fan interest levels high until the final buzzer: long-time Alumni stalwart Terry Bingley sharing the duties with former netminder-turned-broadcast John Garrett and single-game pro Canuck callup, Chris Levesque. No one really kept score, but rumour has it that a very late goal broke the 1-1 tie.
In total, more than three dozen members of the Alumni made the trek to the rink, including Greg C. Adams coming in from Vancouver Island and David Bruce, who managed to dig himself out and plow his way through the foot-high snowfalls that just missed the Lower Mainland but hammered northwest Washington State, all to be a part of this fun event.
The Superskills pre-game event also featured the on-ice Alumni debut of locally-born forward and Swiss League veteran Misko Antisin, who has recently joined the Alumni's weekly, Wednesday-night training sessions.
Special thanks go out to the former-Canuck entourage that worked off the ice: Assistant coaches Gary Valk, Stan Smyl, Doug Halward and Richard Brodeur, as well as Assistant Trainer for the day, 1945 WHL Canuck, Ernie Dougherty, now in his 88th year! 'Double-eights' behind the benches as we celebrate the Lunar New Year? What could be luckier than that!
View the photos from the game here.