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Halloween happiness

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
There’s a softer side to Vancouver Canucks hard-nosed forward Derek Dorsett.

Alongside teammates Eddie Lack, Shawn Matthias and Chris Higgins, Dorsett visited Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Monday to take part in the annual Halloween pumpkin carving. Within minutes of arriving Dorsett took aim at a big, round, orange beauty and he gave it his best.

After the pulp was removed and rind was cleared, Dorsett, wielding a lime green junior carving knife duller than a 50-year-old penny, swooped in to make one final adjustment to his masterpiece of a mad scientist talking to its creation.

That’s when Dorsett did the unthinkable, something second nature to him as an enforcer.

“I went in to do some detail work and I broke the creature's nose,” Dorsett said, shaking his head.

“Breaking a nose, that’s not like you at all,” laughed his wife Allison, carving a pumpkin to his left.

Derek and Allison, who were introduced to pumpkin carving at a perfect time as the couple is expecting its first child in January, were paired with 15-month-old Kirra and her sister of five days Charlie for the afternoon. Kirra was just happy to be playing with pumpkin guts, so she didn’t mind the broken nose.

Had Dorsett been paired with Ben, who carved with Eddie Lack and his girlfriend Johanna, the consequences for such a break would have been extreme.

No one takes pumpkin carving as serious as Eddie and Ben.

Once the pair, seated at the centre table in the middle of dining room at Canuck Place, agreed on an Incredible Hulk stencil (which looked more like Frankenstein), there wasn’t a peep to be heard until they were finished.

When Lack visited Canuck Place in September as part of the NHL15 launch, he played against Ben and the scene was eerily similar. These two do not mess around.

“We carved the best pumpkin here,” said Lack, “Ben and I are just a great team.”

This wasn’t a contest, “but we definitely won,” added Ben, swelling with pride.

No arguments from Charlie-Anne, she wasn’t in it to win it.

Four-year-old Charlie-Anne, who lives with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), played supervisor to Chris Higgins and his girlfriend Chantel – the pair had as much pumpkin carving experience as Charlie-Anne had NHL games played, so they needed all the help they could get.

“You’re doing a great job,” she said midway through the carve, when Higgins was starting to sweat.

If there was an award for best costume, that would have gone to Charlie-Anne. Wearing a pink and white polka-dot dress and matching bow in her hair, complimented with pink socks and silver heart shoes, Charlie-Anne stole the show – then she took her look a step further.

Charlie-Anne had her face painted by the extraordinary Mary Lavery before the festivities began, but instead of a butterfly or hearts, she got a nose and whiskers to complete the Minnie Mouse look. Oh and she added two bloody fangs, dripping with blood.

“We don’t really know what happened there with the fangs,” laughed her dad Matt.

“That’s my girl,” beamed mom Cherie, “she’s tough.”

Higgins seconded that.

“She really kept me going through the difficult carving,” he said. “She’s a very sweet girl, but again had the teeth and an edge, so I’m glad she liked our final jack-o'-lantern.

“It was a classic design, one tough to screw up, but if anyone could, it’s definitely me.”

Not under Charlie-Anne’s watch – there’d still be a nose on Dorsett’s pumpkin had she known he was a rookie as well.

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