Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks raised Markus Naslund’s number 19 to the rafters in a special pre-game ceremony tonight. Naslund’s number joined Stan Smyl’s number 12 and Trevor Linden’s number 16 as the only numbers to be retired in the history of the Vancouver Canucks franchise.
Current Canucks play-by-play broadcaster John Shorthouse hosted the ceremony attended by Naslund and his family, friends, former teammates and Canucks management, and a sold-out crowd prior to puck drop in Vancouver’s game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis was also in attendance along with members of the Aquilini family.
The event featured a tribute video highlighting Naslund’s 15 year NHL career, a video message from close friend and former teammate Todd Bertuzzi, and a video showing the new ‘Hall of Heroes powered by Rogers’ exhibit. The ceremony also included a special Canucks for Kids Fund presentation unveiling a new sports equipment centre to be created in honour of the Naslunds. Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Naslund, who was joined by his wife Lotta, son Alex, daughters Rebecca and Isabella, and parents Sture and Ulla, addressed the fans with an emotional speech prior to his number 19 being retired.
Ceremony highlights included: the announcement of the Canucks for Kids Fund creating a sports equipment centre created in Markus and his wife Lotta’s honour, Naslund being presented with a trip for two to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, two tickets to watch Olympic tennis at Wimbledon and an original watercolour painting of Naslund by Glen Green courtesy of the Aquilini Family and Canucks Sports & Entertainment, and former teammates Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Mattias Ohlund presenting Naslund with the gift from Canucks players - a trip for two to Paris to watch the French Open Final and a private wine tour.
Naslund retired from the NHL following the 2008.09 season as the Canucks all-time leader in points with 756. Naslund played 12 of his 15 NHL seasons in a Canucks uniform and was the captain between 2000.01 and 2007.08. In a Canucks uniform, Naslund led the team in scoring for a club record seven seasons, scored 30 or more goals six different times and enjoyed three consecutive seasons with 40 or more goals.
For his efforts, Naslund was the recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Award as the League’s Most Outstanding Player (as voted on by the players) in 2002.03 and was a First Team NHL All-Star in a franchise record three consecutive seasons (2001.02, 2002.03, 2003.04).
In addition to his on-ice success, Naslund, his wife Lotta and their children were committed to charitable initiatives in British Columbia. Throughout his 12 years in Vancouver, Naslund was devoted to supporting the Canucks signature charities and helping raise funds for those in need. For many years he hosted underprivileged children in “Nazzy’s Suite 19” and was deeply connected with Canuck Place and BC Children’s Hospital throughout his entire career in Vancouver.
Naslund’s number 19 joined Stan Smyl’s number 12 and Trevor Linden’s number 16 as the only retired numbers in club history. Smyl had his number retired November 3, 1991, at the Pacific Coliseum and Linden had his number 16 retired December 17, 2008, at Rogers Arena (formerly General Motors Place).