It was a night to remember for 2 lucky fans that entered Rogers Arena for the first time.
Ameet Singh recently moved to Vancouver from India to become a doctor, while friend and restaurateur Luigi De Buzzaccarini moved to the city from Italy to expand his burger empire. The friends were in for a real treat as they ended up spending some time with one of the Canucks Alumni’s most talented and kindest individuals, Darcy Rota.
Darcy Rota spent his minor hockey years including Bantom/Midget in Prince George, BC. Rota played his junior hockey with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WCHL, helping the club reach the Memorial Cup in 1971 and 1972. A dangerous sniper, he led the WCHL in goals in 1972–73, notching 73 in just 68 games en route to a 129 point season. Following the season, he was selected 13th overall by the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft.
Rota stepped straight into the Black Hawks' roster in 1973–74, and turned in a solid rookie season with 21 goals and 33 points in 74 games. Over the next several seasons, Rota developed into a solid, gritty, two-way player who made a solid contribution at both ends of the ice. He scored at least 20 goals in each of his first four seasons in Chicago, with his best year as a Black Hawk coming in 1976–77 when he co-lead the team with 24 goals.
After being dealt to the Atlanta Flames for a brief time, Rota was traded to the Canucks during the 1979–80 season, giving a delighted Rota a chance to play for his hometown team.
Rota's first full season as a Canuck in 1980–81 would be the best in his career to that point, as he notched career highs with 25 goals and 56 points. He would miss a substantial chunk of the 1981–82 campaign with a knee injury, but was a key component of the squad which reached the 1982 Stanley Cup finals, notching 6 goals in 17 playoff games.
For the 1982–83 season, Rota spent much of the year on a dynamic line with Thomas Gradin and Stan Smyl, and turned in the finest year of his career. He led the team in goals with 41 and finished with 81 points, both of which set club records (since broken by Markus Naslund) for a left winger.
Rota continued to excel in 1983–84, and was selected to play in his first NHL All-Star Game. He appeared to be on target for another season of close to 40 goals when he suffered a serious neck injury on a check from Jay Wells of the Los Angeles Kings. He managed to return for the playoffs, but was eventually forced to undergo spinal fusion surgery in the summer of 1984. He attempted to rejoin the Canucks in November of that year, but was warned that he risked further injury if he continued to play. After a few practices, he opted to retire.
Rota finished his career with 256 goals and 239 assists for 495 points in 794 NHL games, along with 973 penalty minutes.