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Jason Chen

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In celebrating the Vancouver Canucks' 40th anniversary, this season the club has introduced the Ring of Honour, an exclusive club of four members whose contributions to the franchise will be recognized. Since the club's inception in 1970, the franchise has seen its fair share of up and downs but through the good times and the bad, the Canucks have had its fair share of hockey heroes. On October 26, 2010, when the Canucks played host to the visiting Avalanche, Orland Kurtenbach, the franchise's first-ever captain was named as the Ring of Honour's first member. In continuing this celebration, the second member of the Ring of Honour will be revealed one month today on November 24 when the Canucks again play host to Colorado.

For a franchise that has produced four different players named to First All-Star teams (Pavel Bure, Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund, Henrik Sedin), three named to Second All-Star teams (Kirk McLean, Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo), and two different Jack Adams winners (Pat Quinn, Alain Vigneault) as the league's best coach, and numerous other players and public figures that have made innumerable contributions to the franchise, the Canucks have no shortage of candidates for the Ring of Honour. Here are my top five candidates.

<img src="http://www.farmteam.de/AUDIO/linden_mclean1994.jpg"class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Drafted second overall in the 1988 draft, Medicine Hat Tigers alum Trevor Linden came with high expectations and did not disappoint, becoming arguably the Canucks' first-ever franchise player. Linden cracked the NHL lineup at just the tender age of 18 and scored 30 goals that same year, becoming the first Canucks rookie to do so. A hard-working player and mature beyond his years, Linden won the Cyclone Taylor Award as the Canucks' most valuable player in his rookie year. His efforts were recognized league-wide and he garnered a Calder nomination as the league's top rookie. At age 21, he was made captain of the franchise, one of the youngest captains in league history and led the team to two consecutive Smythe Division titles to go with four consecutive 30+ goal seasons. The obvious highlight in the franchise's history under Linden's leadership was a riveting Stanley Cup run in the summer of 1994 and a

against the Mark Messier-led Rangers. While the end result was hard to swallow, it was one of the best finals the NHL had ever seen and while
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hEPzALqeS4, it was Linden's drive and never-say-die attitude that got them there. Despite being traded to Long Island in 1998 after feuding with "Iron Mike" Keenan and brief stints in Montreal and Washington, Linden's heart always belonged in Vancouver. Immediately after Brian Burke was named general manager, one of his first moves was to bring back number 16. While his 30-goal days were behind him, Linden's work ethic remained unquestioned and when called upon he always
Linden would suit up for the Canucks for six more season before retiring at the conclusion of the 2008 season. Linden was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his leadership on and off the ice in 1997 and continues to be active in the Vancouver community. In total, Linden suited up in 1140 games for Vancouver and is second on the Canucks all-time scoring list with 733 points.

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/06/Smyl_full.jpg"class="imageFloatRightFramed">Before there was Linden, there was Stan Smyl. Drafted 40th overall in 1978, Smyl was another relentless forward known for his blue-collar style of play, earning him the nickname "Steamer." Despite standing only 5'8", Smyl never let his lack of size stop him and in his rookie season, playing on a line with rookies Thomas Gradin and Curt Fraser, Smyl scored 38 points in 62 games. After captain Kevin McCarthy went down with an injury in the 1982 season, then general manager Harry Neale named Smyl as captain and he didn't disappoint, leading the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance despite having a losing record during the regular season. While the Canucks were swept in 4 games by the Islanders, Smyl captained the team for a total of eight season before retiring in 1991 with 673 career points, all with Vancouver. Smyl's contributions to the Canucks were not limited to the ice. After retiring he was named as an assistant coach to Pat Quinn and later a head coach for the Canucks' AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch in 1999 and the Manitoba Moose in 2001. In 2004, Smyl joined the Canucks front office as Director of Player Development before becoming Senior Advisor to Mike Gillis in 2008, a position he still holds today. For over 30 years Smyl has been associated with the Vancouver Canucks, the longest of any former player or personnel. If the Ring of Honour was picked on years alone, Smyl would be a lock.

<img src="http://www.canuckscentral.com/images/hneilson.jpg"class="imageFloatLeftFramed">While Roger Neilson's stint as head coach of the Canucks lasted only two seasons, the impact he had on Vancouver fans and hockey in general remains profound. After taking over then bench after head coach Harry Neale was suspended after an altercation with a fan, the Canucks went undefeated for 7 games. Despite finishing the season with a mediocre record, Nielson nevertheless managed to guide the team to a finals appearance against the vaunted New York Islanders which became the league's first ever coast-to-coast finals match-up. But Neilson's most memorable moment during his tenure as the Canucks' bench boss was against the Chicago Blackhawks in 1982. Disgusted by the refereeing in the third period,

and began to wave it as a sign of surrender. Many of the Canucks players on the bench followed suit and all were ejected from the game. At the next home game, Vancouver fans began to wave white towels in support of their team. "Towel Power" remains a Vancouver tradition that has been emulated numerous times in other hockey rinks.

<img src="http://vancouverisawesome.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/quin.jpg"class="imageFloatRightFramed">As synonymous as the 1994 playoff run was to Linden, McLean, Bure, Adams, and Courtnall, so was Pat Quinn. A hard-hitting defenseman who famously drew the ire of Don Cherry and Bruins fans for his hit on Bobby Orr that left the Hall of Famer unconscious, Quinn was acquired by the Canucks in the 1970 Expansion Draft and played for two years. After retiring in 1977 from an ankle injury, Quinn joined the Flyers coaching staff where he won his first Jack Adams Award before moving to Los Angeles and then Vancouver as their general manager in 1987. As a builder, Quinn had a vision and brought in Kirk McLean and Greg Adams in a trade in 1987, drafted Linden in 1988, and then Bure in 1989, all four who would play vital roles in the summer of 1994. Despite having a falling out with a new ownership group and fired in 1997, Quinn's impact in Vancouver remains profound.

<img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_EiMRSOg2PkM/R98-bxCeYZI/AAAAAAAABlY/6LoxWRiFlY4/s400/robson_j2.jpg"class="imageFloatLeftFramed">While the Canucks have certainly had a number of players, coaches, and general managers that have been a part of its rich history, Jim Robson has played as big a role as anyone else. After Vancouver was awarded a franchise in 1970, Robson became the Canucks' first public voice, broadcasting for 29 years along with Tom Larscheid. It was Robson who broadcasted the first ever Canucks game in 1970. To many he remains the voice of the Canucks, covering the franchise's best moments. For the Canucks and Robson, they will forever be linked by four words:

The second inductee into the Ring of Honour will be revealed on November 24. Who do you think will be inducted?

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Good article as usual. Id go:

Smyl for the 80's, Linden for the 90's, and since I dont think anyone deserves it for the 00's, Robson should get the final nod.

That being said, I am not sure that it would be appropriate to add Smyl and Linded, given that their numbers are already retired. My understanding of the "Ring of Honour" (based on other franchise's similar "rings") is that it is meant for players/coaches/etc. that made a HUGE contribution to the franchise, but just not quite enough to get their number retired.

-cheers

btw, great trade.

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Definitely who and what the Canucks are extend to beyond the on-ice product but if there any other players to induct alongside Kurtenbach it's Smyl or Linden. McLean, Gradin, Snepsts, and a whole host of others are also worthy but none are quite as synonymous with the Canucks as either 12 or 16.

Just for the record, my vote went to Pat Quinn. Player, coach, manager, builder.

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No Pavel Bure even in the ring of honor? He played the best years of his career here, and as much as I liked Linden back in the early 90's, Bure was the one filling the net on that '94 playoff run. It's time to put the bitterness aside over how he left, and recognize his accomplishments here.

Also, the ring of honor is a consolation prize to getting your jersey retired IMO, no need to honor Linden and Smyl again.

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Hard to tell what sort of qualifications are to be met exactly. Like i said before if not Smyl or Linden then Gradin, Snepsts, King Richard... any of the old heroes.

Hammer79, glad you brought up Pavel Bure. He was, by far, the best goalscorer in franchise history. It's hard to compare players in different eras but it is my opinion that Bure is better than Ovechkin. It was a shame that he left, and honestly I have no bitter feelings, but despite his talents I don't think Bure's tenure as a Canuck really warrants a spot. He did put fans in the stands and was Vancouver's first legitimate superstar and he was integral to the '94 run but I don't think his contributions exceeded those of Snepsts, Gradin, and many others.

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I agree with Hammer79...since Naslund is getting his number retired this year and bure next year?? it depends upon how the nucks do it....I could see the canucks doing a 70s theme this year,,80s theme year after...then 90s ...putting back the real number 11 in the ring in canuckville back up there would be appropriate... then I would think Pat Quinn but since sticking to themes he was part of the nucks in the 70s/80s/90s....so what part do u put him in(probably 94 ).....there were not to many canucks in the 70s to play for more than 3-4 years...... but many heroes to us from Kearns to Vervegart(2goals 10 seconds in allstar game)to Suitcase Smith who was traded for Ceasar Maniago to Andre Boudrias who I think has the only Canuck goal when they were 2 men short...but please only be 2-3 for each decade cause I think longevity on one team is the only way to get in the ring...80s might be Tony Tanti,Jake Milford.. Harold Snepsts,,Richard Brodeur...90s might be Pat Quinn,Kirk Mclean,,94 canuck team all together...we will see.

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I don't think we'll ever see Bure's 10 in the rafters. If they had plans to retire it next year Tambellini would not be wearing that number.

But I do agree, Wayne Maki's #11 should belong up there. When Messier took #11 it just showed how willing the organization was going to bend its back to please one player.

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I think the next players that should be inducted into Ring of Honour are Tiger Williams, and Thomas Gradin. They both had a impact on the Canucks, the fans ion Vancouver, and hockey in Vancouver in general. Thomas Gradin was one of the top players for the canucks in the early 80's and is still working for the team, in the scouting department. Tiger Williams is the greatest character the team has ever had; Rember is famous sticking riding?; Also Tiger is the only player in NHL history to lead league in penalties and score over 30 goals in a season! As for Liden, and Smyl they both have their numbers retired.

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