The Canucks are back! Well, sort of.
Vancouver kicks off the preseason tonight against the San Jose Sharks on Vancouver Island as part of Kraft Hockeyville.
Game Time: 7:30 pm
Training camp is over and it’s time for us to get our first look at the players that will compete for spots on the 2015-16 edition of the Vancouver Canucks.
Realistically only one spot looks to be available (the always prestigious 14th forward), but a player’s performance in the preseason can help their spot on the depth chart. Players like Jordan Subban, Ben Hutton Brendan Gaunce and Hunter Shinkaruk likely won’t earn a spot with the big club right now, but could be counted on as a call-up in the future in case of injury. For players looking to make it for the first time, these games are huge.
1. Spotlight on North Saanich
— NHL (@NHL) September 19, 2015
This is your 15 minutes of fame North Saanich! Enjoy it.
Kraft Hockeyville is a really nice competition put on every year since 2006. It shines light on small hockey mad towns across Canada, ultimately rewarding one community with $100,000 in arena upgrades and a preseason game.
Most tickets to the game have been raffled off to local residents for free. According to the Victoria Times-Colonist: “a total of 788 tickets will be raffled off to residents of the Saanich Peninsula, while 376 will be raffled off to supporters from outside”. The rest of the seats have been reserved by Panorama Recreation for minor hockey league players and officials.
This is the second time a community from British Columbia has won, with Terrace winning in 2009.
In an interesting twist, this game actually won’t be played in North Saanich. While the arena upgrades will be happening to the Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich, the Canucks will be playing at the Q Centre in Colwood (less than a 30 minute drive from North Saanich).
The game to was moved to Colwood to accommodate more fans, as only about 500 people could be crammed into the Panorama Recreation Centre. The Q Centre, which is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, holds about 2,400 people.
2. Sven’s time
— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) September 18, 2015
One player who will not be fighting for a roster spot in preseason is Sven Baertschi. The talented young Canucks winger will be gifted a spot on the team this year. Jim Benning gave up a second round pick for the Swiss sniper at last year’s trade deadline, so the organization thinks highly of him. Tonight he’s going to get a chance to show what he can do on the Canucks’ with Brandon Sutter and Radim Vrbata.
3. Roster update
#Canucks assign Tate Olson (Prince George), Carl Neill (Sherbrooke) & Kyle Pettit (Erie) back to their junior clubs.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) September 21, 2015
Tate Olson, Carl Neill and Kyle Pettit were casualties of training camp, each getting assigned back to their respective CHL teams on Sunday.
In other news, the Canucks practiced with Ronalds Kenins on a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. While the chances of this line sticking together past preseason is remote, it’s probably a worthwhile exercise to find different options for the twins.
The Canucks practiced with the same top unit power play that finished last season, featuring the Sedins, Radim Vrbata, Alex Edler and Yannick Weber. The second unit was comprised of Brandon Sutter, Alex Burrows, Sven Baertschi, Dan Hamhuis and Chris Tanev.
Here is the lineup that the Canucks will be sending to the island.
A revved up bunch of minor hockey kids and some proud North Saanich residents beaming from ear to ear. There’ll be a hockey game played too, with the Canucks pleasing the island folk happy to not have to take a ferry to the game for once. Canucks win 4-2.