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The Canucks Wall

by Nolan Kelly / Vancouver Canucks

It’s the opening day of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs and underneath the scrubs and lab coats worn the by the nurses and doctors of Vancouver General Hospital, the outline of C-shaped orcas can be seen.

The walls of the operating room are lined with newspaper cut-outs, but the clippings are not of the latest medical advances, nor are they articles from scientific journals, instead they’re stories about the Vancouver Canucks.

From one end of the O.R. to the other, the string of clippings is a timeline of a Canucks season that began slowly, finishing at our current crescendo, with a few bumps and bruises along the way... literally.

But those bumps and bruises don’t heal themselves. Many of the Canuck players who find themselves in the sick bay during the season are tended to by the nurses and doctors who ply their trade at Vancouver General. And for a team that finished with the sixth highest injury total in the NHL this season, the responsibility is a heavy one.

One such example is the contribution of surgeon Dr. Marcel Dvorak, who insisted defenseman Alex Edler should be shut down in early January in the hopes that, after surgery he would be ready in time for playoffs. Last week on After 40 minutes with Ron Mclean, Canucks GM Mike Gillis sang Dvorak’s praises.

“He’s done an amazing job with all our players,” Gillis said. “Alex has been healthy since the beginning of playoffs. It’s remarkable what they can do.”

Many of the nurses and doctors live and breathe the Canucks failures and successes as we do, but their attachment goes deeper. When an injured player returns to the ice, they see their hard work not only in goals or wins but in the cheers bellowing up from Granville Street and on the beaming faces of the Canucks faithful during the current run. There is a special satisfaction that comes healing someone that means so much to the community.

“I call them my boys,” says Bev Harvey, an operating room nurse at VGH for 35 years. She’s seen the likes of Kevin Bieksa, Daniel Sedin and many others come through during her time.

“The players are just real down to earth people, normal guys who care passionately about what they do, and we’re happy to help.”

Bev is also a Canucks season ticket holder since 2000, and the main figure behind the Canucks playoff wall.

“I start collecting the clippings during training camp, and begin to post them on the wall at the beginning of the playoffs.”

An homage to all things Canucks, the wall, featuring pictures, stories and list of great tweets, begins at the main desk of the operating room, and stretches throughout the entire department.

“I feel like the Canucks wall allows our patients to see us as real people,” explained Harvey. “When a person goes in for surgery, sometimes in the final minutes before, a patient can talk about the Canucks and it helps them to relax.”

“It makes an impersonal place seem friendlier,” one patient said.

It’s normal to attribute the success of a team to the players, coaches and staff, but sometimes we forget that many of us contribute in unseen ways to the fate of our Vancouver Canucks. The accomplishment of our team really does depend on the help and support of all levels of the community.

And as for a prediction on the finals, Bev was coy.

“We’ll definitely win, there is no doubt. I’ll say five games, ‘cause it would be nice to do it at home.”

“We can start the party that night and continue all the way through till the parade.”

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