Dear Henrik & Daniel,
Thank-you, hardly seems close to enough for what you have given this city for 17+ years, but I’m going to try. First things first, please know that neither one of you have ever once for a second ever let me or this city down.
Fans from around the league have never really understood just how lucky Vancouver Canucks fans have been to have witnessed the entirety of your NHL careers. The road to success wasn’t any easy one, but you both persevered through it all. From playing the Swedish Elite League, to the NHL draft, to a tough start in the NHL, to the 2004-05 lockout, to Olympic Gold medals to pure dominance of Sedinery that led to back to back Art Ross Trophies to accumulating endless franchise records. From rookies to seasoned veteran leaders, you have both exuded professionalism on and off the ice and you have done it with incredible grace.
More than 1200 games each over the last 17 years in Vancouver, you have embodied everything that it meant to have the heart of a Canuck. You were never meant to have success in the NHL, let alone play your entire careers together, lead the top line for an extended period or score many franchise goals or become inspiring pillars within the community or leaders on and off of the ice.
The 1999 NHL draft forever changed not just the league but the fate of the Vancouver Canucks franchise. That day, no one could have predicted that the next 18 years would unfold in such a whirlwind of memorable moments. At the beginning no one was sure of what kind of impact you could or would go on to have in an NHL lineup. There was the constantly mentioned potential but until you both started playing, no one really knew what to expect. Most saw the underlying skill sets that were there but as is the way with a hockey market, when there were growing pains in the early days, quick judgments and assumptions were made. For a while, it seemed like maybe they had all missed the bigger picture and to tell you the truth, in those early days, I had to stop reading the newspapers.
Most people wanted to see what I saw, the potential of what could be beyond those early days, but they also wanted to see the increased numbers and stats right away. It took some time, as is the case with any career, there were some growing pains as you navigated the waters on the way to success. It started slowly, and then suddenly all at once before all the “experts” could complete their critiques, the ever evolving Sedins were flourishing and leading the way.
Through 17+ years, you have seen your fair share of coaches come and go but there were two in particular who saw and helped shape you to be the players you’ve both become. Marc Crawford and Alain Vigneault. Crow & AV always recognized your full potential and yes even made some unconventional choices like putting a pesky Burrows on a line with you one fateful February day that spurred a shift that season and a inspired a few seasons worth of highlights. The critics never stopped with their critiques but you both always found a way to respond with grace and constantly prove them wrong.
You never let the negativity in. You always rose above it all, every step of the way. You have always done whatever was asked of you by the coaches and management. Every day, you were and are consummate professionals on and off of the ice. And when called upon to help within the community with Canucks For Kids, Canucks Autism Network, the BC Children’s Hospital or a myriad of other charities, you are always there. You give everything you have with every shift on the ice and every moment you are constantly giving to the community throughout your continued tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again for 17+ incredible years of defying the odds, the ever persistent pursuit of your dreams, and inspiring so many more to never give up. I wish you knew just how big of an impact you’ve made on the team, on the franchise, on this city, on this province, and on the fans. You made your coaches proud. You made your teammates proud. You made this city proud. And you’ve made Canucks fans around the globe proud.
IF this is it, IF this is the final hurrah, the final season of your career or IF you keep playing for another year or two, I am going to savour every single moment of Sedinery yet to come. And Henrik, when Daniel joins you, in the 1000 points club this season, we will cheer just as loud, or maybe louder because that means there are now TWO Canucks legends on the roster.
And to THIS fan, no matter what happens at the end of this season or when the day comes that you decide to hang up your skates, you will always and forever be Canucks. When things get tough, all I have had to do was think of how you both always kept pushing forward despite the odds and I am reminded that when you tune out the negative, anything is possible. Thank-you doesn’t seem even close to enough but it’s what I have to offer. Henrik, and Daniel, THANK-YOU, for everything.