The Vancouver Canucks came to town for this season’s training camp, spending four days in Victoria as they attempted to reduce their squad to a 23-man roster for the upcoming season.
The training camp spanned from Thursday to Sunday at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC), featuring a sold-out intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday.
Most star players on the team were in attendance which had the crowd cheer each time they stepped onto the ice.
Here are 15 of the best photos from the weekend events:
Fans came out on a blue skied Thursday for day one of Canucks training camp at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
There were plenty of Canucks jerseys around, with these two fans wearing two thirds of that legendary line from a decade ago. Perhaps the missing piece could be found in the arena somewhere?
Ah, there he is!
Daniel Sedin was on the ice for the majority of camp, coaching and helping the youngsters. Both him and his brother, Henrik, have been involved in player development for the Canucks since May of 2022 after spending a year behind the scenes in a front office role.
If they decide that working with the players is their preference, drafted players and younger Canucks will surely benefit from their presence. Few players have garnered the respect around the NHL that they have.
Speaking of coaching, there’s the latest Canucks sheriff, Rich Tocchet. After replacing Bruce Boudreau as head coach mid-last season, he coached the team to a 20-12-4 record.
He’s the third coach in three years for the Canucks, who had their President, Jim Rutherford, openly question the level of preparedness they displayed early on last season.
Can Tocchet help this team get off to the strong start they so desperately need?
Yeah! These fans sure think he can.
Speaking of starting strong, the Canucks will need starting goaltender Thatcher Demko to return to the form he’s displayed in the past. The American netminder posted just a .901 save percentage last season, after having a .915 percentage both of the seasons prior.
Demko struggled out of the gate and never seemed right, eventually missing significant time with injury. If the Canucks are to meaningfully improve this year, the play (and health) of their goaltender will go a long way.
One player who didn’t struggle last season was first year, 27-year-old Russian Andrei Kuzmenko.
He exploded onto the scene, scoring 39 goals while attached to the hip of superstar Elias Pettersson. He did all that last year while reportedly eating “lots of waffles”, and made a big effort this past off season to improve his nutrition and conditioning.
It showed in camp.
He was lethal in many of the drills at SOFMC, showing crazy quick hands and patience before finding a teammate to bury it in the open net.
Elias Pettersson smashed his career highs last year, amassing 39 goals, 63 assists, and 102 points, cementing himself as a superstar in the league. His previous career highs were 32 goals and 39 assists, respectively.
Considered the “other” choice to potentially become captain, even without that ‘C’, Pettersson will be a critical piece in leading the ‘Nucks to their second playoff berth in nine years.
Newly minted captain, Quinn Hughes was his usual dynamic self all throughout camp.
Hughes is incredible to watch in person, with ridiculous acceleration, edgework, and explosive skating all while handling the puck on a string.
He scored nearly a point per game last year, with 76 in 78 games. Can he surpass that milestone this year?
For all the elegance and skill found in the greatest game on skates, we also love the physicality, the strength, the mayhem, and the chaos.
“Ok guys, for this drill it’s imperative that we lineup from shortest to tallest, and lightest to darkest sweaters.”
This young (and seemingly happy) enthusiast had completed the Canucks fan trifecta: jersey, hat, puck.
Take notes kids! Even NHL players have to listen and pay attention.
One observation is that a decent chunk of camp was spent on puck retrievals and breakouts.
Not only do goaltenders have to stand in front of frozen, half-pound rubber discs, but they also have to take involuntary snow showers.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
The start of the Canucks season is just 16 days away
The Vancouver Canucks preseason continues Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.
They’ll also face the Oilers for their season opener on Wednesday, October 11th.