Dan Hamhuis and Jeff Tambelli took very different routes into the Canucks line-up this season; however, the defenseman and forward ultimately began their hockey careers in the same place – lacing up for minor hockey teams in British Columbia.
Minor Hockey is a way of life for many communities across British Columbia and the Yukon. Families spend countless hours every week at local hockey rinks cheering on their sons and daughters. BC Hockey boasts close to 150 minor hockey associations, 55,000 players, 4,500 officials, and 20,000 official volunteers who make the game of hockey possible here on Canada’s Pacific Coast.
On January 20th, the Vancouver Canucks, in partnership with BC Hockey, celebrated Minor Hockey Appreciation Night to pay tribute to all minor hockey participants throughout British Columbia and the Yukon. In honour of Minor Hockey Appreciation Night, five players, one goalie, and four officials accompanied their Canuck heroes on the ice during the national anthems. They represented minor hockey associations from across the province, including Quesnel, Aldergrove, Penticton, Willia
ms Lake, Kelowna, South Okanagan, Westside, Kamloops and Peninsula. Minor Hockey Night is a highlight of Minor Hockey Week in BC, which took place between January 16th and 23rd. The weeklong event is held every winter in provinces throughout Canada, yet it holds special significance in British Columbia. Trail, BC is proudly the birthplace of Minor Hockey Week, where it first began during the 1958.59 season. It remains a fixture on the calendar to this day, with the third week of January serving as an opportunity to promote minor hockey and award recognition to invaluable volunteers.
Close to two decades after their minor hockey debuts, Hamhuis and Tambellini are playing for the team they grew up cheering for. Their skates have gotten bigger (and they can tie them up themselves now,) but one thing remains the same – the passion they share with minor hockey teams for the sport they love.