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Rogers Arena's top 10

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Twenty-five million strong.

A historic moment is on the horizon at Rogers Arena as the 25 millionth guest in history to attend an event at the arena will arrive on Thursday, October 10th when the Canucks face-off against the San Jose Sharks.

More than a million people attend events at Rogers Arena every year with countless pictures taken and memories made every week. We’ll never agree on what the top 10 moments in arena history are, but this should at least get the conversation going.

Here are 10 significant moments in Rogers Arena history.

10. Mixed-bag of concerts


Choosing one concert above the rest is next to impossible. The Foo Fighters and Jay-Z are highlights of mine, but most will agree to disagree as far as favourite acts that have rocked Rogers Arena go. Celine Dion brought over the top drama with her booming voice and heart shaped stage; Ricky Martin shook his bon-bon like no one else sending fans into a tizzy; the Spice Girls provided pure insanity and paired with Wayne Gretzky attending the show with his family, it was pandemonium; there’s not much to say about Pavarotti other than amazing; and Lenny Kravitz gave it his best, but couldn’t outperform his new opening act, some artist named Pink. Nearly 1,000 shows have gone down at Rogers Arena with countless more on the horizon.

9. Linden & Naslund to the rafters

December 17, 2008 & December 11, 2010

Stan Smyl’s No. 12 was the only jersey retired in franchise history for 17 years before the Canucks honoured Trevor Linden by raising his No. 16. Markus Naslund made it a trio when his No. 19 was retired nearly two years later; all three retirees served as Canucks captains and were the all-time franchise scoring leaders at the end of their careers. Pavel Bure will make it a foursome this November in a ceremony that promises to be equally as memorable as those of Linden and Naslund.

8. Landmark fundraiser

October 10, 2002

Bryan Adams, Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, Chantal Kreviazuk and Sarah McLachlan, all five Canadian artists performed a milestone concert in support of the BC Cancer Research Centre. The songs we all know and love were played (If I had a million dollars, Well, I’d buy you a green dress, But not a real green dress, that’s cruel) and with all facilities and promotional costs donated by various partners, 100 per cent of proceeds from the event went to the BC Cancer Foundation.

7. Like a pro

October 7, 2002

Introduced by royal trumpets and walking along a red carpet, Queen Elizabeth II dropped the ceremonial first puck before an exhibition game between Vancouver and San Jose. The British monarch, who last attended a hockey game 51 years ago, dropped the puck between Canucks captain Markus Naslund and Mike Ricci of the Sharks. She was joined by Wayne Gretzky, Cassie Campbell, Ed Jovanovski and Howie Meeker at centre ice before watching the first period in the royal suite. The Queen was in Vancouver with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as part of a 12-day tour of Canada, celebrating the 50th anniversary of her rule.

6. Cuts like a knife

September 19, 1995

Rogers Arena officially opens hosting its first ever event, a soldout Bryan Adams concert. The 28-song show included hits like Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman?, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You and Summer of ’69; five songs were performed on an intimate b-stage and Adams did six encore songs. Despite all this, the highlight of the show was indisputably when Pavel Bure and Gino Odjick joined Adams on stage to sing Cuts Like a Knife. Bure later admitted he didn’t know the words and was faking his sing-a-long.

5. His Airness takes flight

November 30, 1995

Air Jordan and the Chicago Bulls made their first ever trip to Vancouver to play the Grizzlies and it was memorable – in a bad way for Grizz fans. Vancouver held an eight-point lead with only two minutes left in the game before point guard Darrick Martin trash talked Jordan, sitting on the Bulls bench. MJ entered the game and scored the next nine points, part of 19 points in the last six minutes and 29 for the game, as the Bulls came back to beat the Grizzlies 94-88.

4. Golden juniors

January 5, 2006

The gold medal final of the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships played out between Team Canada and Team Russia and on paper, the teams appeared to be evenly matched. The opposite played out when Canada, led by Jonathan Toews, Steve Downie and the Canucks very own Luc Bourdon, stomped Evgeni Malkin Russia 5-0 for its 12th title.

3. Golden (x 2)

February 25, 2010 & February 28, 2010

Ladies first. Team Canada’s women’s squad faced rival Team USA in the final for the third time in four Olympics. Three days before the men took to the ice, the women set the stage by winning 2-0 to capture their third consecutive Olympic gold. Ending on a high. Sidney Crosby scored a stunning overtime goal to lead Team Canada to a 3-2 win over Team USA, throwing Canadians everywhere into a collective state of unbridled euphoria ending the 2010 Olympics like a fairytale.

2. Thank you stanchion

May 24, 2011

Canucks. Sharks. Game 5. Western Conference Final. Double-overtime. Alex Edler dumps the puck into the San Jose zone, it circles around the boards – WAIT, WHERE’S THE PUCK?!! It hit the stanchion and bounced right to Kevin Bieksa, who wired the puck past a confused Antti Niemi to vault Vancouver into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.


1. Dragon slayed

April 26, 2011

The Blackhawks, again, really? For the third straight post-season the Canucks and Blackhawks faced off and going into it Vancouver was less than enthused. Three wins later and the Canucks were seemingly on easy street within reach of a sweep; three loses later and it came down to Game 7 to advance to the second round. After Jonathan Toews tied the game late to force overtime, Alex Burrows, who had already scored in regulation, intercepted a pass in the Blackhawks zone and put it in the back of the net. If you were in the building that night, you may not remember the goal, but you’ll recall high-fiving and/or hugging everyone in sight.

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