When Rick Tocchet was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, he felt it was a nod to the organization as a whole.

Since January of 2023, he has been able to help grow a winning culture and has created an atmosphere of high expectations and hard work, but the work is fun.

He’s a player’s coach.

We’ve seen players flourish over the course of this season under Tocchet and his coaching staff, helping players lean into their strengths and pushing them to elevate their games.

After a game seven loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Tocchet liked how his team never gave up and the fans and the city can be proud of the Canucks because of the players.

“You’ve got a connected group from the management, the coaching all the way down to the trainers and staff. When you’re connected, you can do some special things." Tocchet said.

Special things have been accomplished this season and as much of the weight is on the coaching staff, there’s just as much, if not more, on Canucks’ General Manager Patrik Allvin.

Allvin was just named a nominee for the Jim Gregory award for the NHL’s GM of the year and the combination of Tocchet and Allvin as two of the organization’s leading voices has resulted in the players buying in as the Canucks build a new culture.and

Having been a former player himself, Tocchet has the respect of the players. Getting everybody on the same page to move as a unit is something that Canucks’ captain, Quinn Hughes said had an impact on team success throughout the season.

“Really happy for him that with the award he won yesterday,” said Hughes. “It's incredibly hard to win and he deserves it, but the systems and consistency I guess you could say that he brought in, everyone knew what their job was, and [he] kept everyone accountable on that side. From a human relationship side, he was just someone that you could always talk to, and you know very approachable, has been in your shoes and has an open-door policy. I think with the structure and the person his is, I’d I say those are the two things are very rare that you know sometimes a lot of people aren't lucky enough to have.”

In his fifth year with the Canucks, Tyler Myers saw his teammates buy into the coaching staff’s plan this year, getting them to game seven in the second round of the playoffs.

“When the changes were made, it was January last year, we found out pretty quick the standard and the culture we're going to change – and they needed to – and I think for guys that were here, I think everybody should be pretty proud of just buying into where we were trying to take the group and burying our head and working. It's pretty special to be in the position we're in now, looking back to where we've come from. In saying that, we just want to keep getting better and continue that buy-in mindset where we just keep improving as a group,” Myers said.

“Especially when talking about our d-core, there wasn't a lot of guessing for us stepping on the ice, they held us very accountable. They come into the rink every day with constant reminders, things that we can get better at, and I thought that communication and that approach from Footer and Gonch on the back end helped all of us out.”

J.T. Miller spoke of the coaches’ impact on his growth as an emotional leader.

“I am who I am, and I just think that what comes to mind is the staff here has helped me embrace who I am instead of run from it. It’s good to wear my heart on my sleeve and a little louder, but [they] helped me channel it,’” Miller said.

Dakota Joshua talked about the best thing the coaching staff has done for him to take his game to the next level.

“[They] instilled confidence even through tough times. The staff were great at how they went about things. Constructive criticism went a long way, but just the belief that they showed and then not wanting to let them down did me well this year,” Joshua said.

Teddy Blueger spoke highly of the environment Tocchet and his staff created by beginning to set a winning culture in the Canucks’ organization.  
“I think we all enjoyed playing under Rick, he's obviously a big part of our success. And you know, all the coaching staff and the support staff and the Sedins and everything. A lot to learn from I think it was great, obviously a lot of fun when the team is doing well and winning throughout the course of the year and probably the best part was honestly the locker room. It was so much fun to come to work every day and just a lot of great times together in the room and on the road and I think that's what made this year very special,” Blueger said.

Tocchet was the conductor of the Canucks changing their culture in the locker room. This team believed in themselves and the work that they did this season. The commitment and buy-in is one of the crucial pillars of success as the team continues, brick by brick, to create a foundation for a winning organization. 

Following game seven, the coach said this group put respect back into the city and the Canucks’ crest. 

This rang true with Canucks fans worldwide. This team earned respect and it did it by coming in early, buying into their systems, playing within their structure, and seeing the core players commit to making sacrifices that support the best interests of the team. 

Defenceman and local guy Noah Juulsen echoed the thoughts of putting respect back in the Canucks crest. 

“Everyone in this room, we're playing for the crest on the front of our jersey and as a group, I think we had a pretty solid year. We made playoffs, got in there and you could just feel the energy in the city. That's something that this city and the province just needed.” 

The club is building with the Jack Adams Award winner for the best coach in the NHL leading the group. The Canucks are on the up and up as they build towards the ultimate goal of becoming Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in the history of the organization. 

The Canucks feel great about what the future holds as there is sweeping confidence throughout the organization in General Manager Patrik Allvin. As a nominee for the Jim Gregory Award as the NHL’s top GM; Allvin made trades throughout the season, saw development at the AHL level and made their prospects learn about pro hockey with the ability to join Abbotsford on their AHL playoff run.

“I feel like we're connected in the sense that we know how we want the Canucks crest and to play,” said Tocchet, I think we're all on the same page. And it's good to have some good debates on players.”

Patrik Allvin will tell you that one of the main reasons for such a good working relationship between himself and Tocchet is due to them being extremely process-driven people. 

As there was a focus to improve the team, the process was more about creating a new culture for Vancouver Canucks hockey. We heard ‘meet pressure with pressure, structure, systems, pillars,’ and all the other Tocchet-isms, they all contributed to work being accomplished on and off the ice. 

The players bought into the process, which drove the organization to heights that we have not seen this team be at in a long time. 

We all want to see this team play for the Stanley Cup and this season gave us a glimpse that it is possible. 

And that is something to be excited about.