When the Semiahmoo Knights novice-minor hockey team was invited to lace up their skates during the intermission of a Vancouver Canucks game late in the NHL season, it was already the opportunity of a lifetime for the young players.
What they didn’t know at the time was that the intermission mini-game – played between the first and second periods of last Thursday’s game between the Canucks and the Arizona Coyotes – would be part of the last home games ever for Canucks legends Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The Knights – whose own season ended weeks ago – were asked on March 24 to re-convene and play; the Sedins announced their retirement the following week.
“At first, it was just a game between two teams that were out of the playoffs – it didn’t have quite the significance that it ended up having,” said Knights coach Ryan Cyr.
“I’ve been to Canucks’ playoff games that weren’t as loud as that game was.”
For the special occasion, the Knights split into two teams, and scrimmaged against each other for about four minutes, Cyr explained. Rather than wear their usual Semiahmoo Minor Hockey jerseys, the Knights donned white and blue Canucks-coloured jerseys for the game – all of which featured the jersey numbers of famous Canucks, including Trevor Linden’s No. 16 and of course, the 22 and 33 worn by the retiring Sedins.
Off the ice, the novice Knights got a pair of famous visitors to their locker room. First, Canucks star forward Brock Boeser stopped by – he was injured and not in the lineup for the Canucks that night – and chatted with the youngsters, signed autographs and posed for a few photos.
Canuck mascot Fin also made an appearance, Cyr said, noting that after Boeser’s surprise visit, the popular Orca mascot “had a tough act to follow.”
After their intermission showdown, team members and families watched the rest of the game from the stands, where they witnessed one of the most memorable games in Canuck history – Daniel Sedin, in his final game on home ice, scored the overtime winner, assisted by his brother.