Leading by example, the Turku, Finland native is a stabilizing force on the blueline. Sidelined with a broken rib in November this season, Salo returned after missing 15 games and has helped the Canucks to an 8-3-2 record. The quiet and good natured Canuck took a break from the rink to answer questions that fans want to know. What was your favourite team growing up? (Meaghan, Victoria, BC)
My favourite team was TPS from my hometown in Finland. Editor's note: TPS of the SM-League plays out of Turku, Finland. TPS has won the Finnish Championship in ice hockey 10 times, the Finnish Cup twice, and the European Cup once.
Salo began playing for TPS in 1994 and stayed with the club for three seasons. In 1997 he joined the Jokerit, another team in the SM-League. After the 1997-98 season Salo headed to Ottawa to begin his NHL career. Have you always wanted to be a professional hockey player? (Brad, Fort St. John, BC)
Yeah, I did. I think the NHL wasn’t really a realistic dream, but playing in the Finnish Elite League was my goal and finally I made it when I was 16. In 1991 Salo began playing for the Finnish junior team Kiekko-67. Why did you choose your number? (Matthew, Coquitlam, BC)
Number 6, that was given to me. I was #5 when I was in Ottawa and when I arrived here Bryan Allen was #5 and Pat O’Neil [the Canucks equipment manager] gave me #6. Who has been the biggest influence on your career? (Louise, Kingston, ON)
I’ve played with so many great players that it’s tough to pick one, but playing in Ottawa it was great to have a good friend like Daniel Alfredsson. Then when I came here, it was all the older guys, Trevor, Markus, and Todd who helped me. It’s never easy to come to a new team and they made it very easy and it felt like I had been playing for the team for a long time. What is your favourite thing about playing in Vancouver? (Kelli, North Vancouver, BC)
Oh, the fans are great. You know, living in Canada and playing for a Canadian team it’s a dream come true. There’s nothing comparable to that anywhere in the world.
And it’s a very nice city where you have the mountains and everything close by. You can do anything you want outside pretty much all year round and that’s what I like about the city. Do you get recognized walking around the city? (Chad, Port Coquitlam, BC)
It’s a good thing I’m not that recognizable so I get only a few people asking for autographs. I don’t get bugged too much. How do you get motivated before a big game? (Alex, Swift Current, SK)
It’s always fun to be part of those big, tough games. Fans are up for the games, all the emotions are going around, it’s always fun. Especially when we play against teams from our division, which we have huge rivalries with. It’s fun to be a part of that. Where is your favourite place to play on the road? (Dave, Vancouver, BC)
I’ve always liked playing at Madison Square Garden, that’s one. What is your favourite Canucks memory? (Travis, Brandon, MB)
My favourite Canucks memory, would be my first time in the playoffs with the Canucks [in 2003], when we beat St. Louis in Game 7. What do you enjoy doing in the off-season? (Bryan, Kelowna, BC)
Spending time by the ocean and just spending time with family, the kids, and friends. That’s the thing that I always look forward to when I go back home [in Finland] in the summer. To see my friends and spend a little extra time with the kids. Do you encourage your kids to play sports and would you want them to be professional athletes? (Sukhpreet, Abbotsford, BC)
I haven’t put any pressure on them, they have both chosen whatever they want. My daughter likes to swim and she swims competitively, which is a great sport I think. My son plays hockey and this year is his first season with the Vancouver Thunderbirds. He also goes to Jujitsu class and loves to swim.
So we haven’t really put any pressure on them. If they want to keep doing sports that’s fine, if they want to do school or something else that’s fine too. I was raised that way too, there wasn’t any pressure and I’m not going to put any pressure on my kids.