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Beautiful British Columbia is home to an NHL franchise that was founded in 1945 as part of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. The Vancouver Canucks spent seven years in the PCHL before switching to the WHA for the next 18 years. A complicated problem that the NHL was facing got its solution in the form of a new expansion franchise coming to Vancouver. The Canucks were purchased out of the WHA and moved into the NHL for the 1970 season.
Like most new teams, the Canucks failed to make the playoffs in their first several seasons and then, once they did make it to the postseason, they could not break out beyond the preliminary round. 1982 proved different, however, with the Canucks surging all the way to the finals before being swept by the New York Islanders, amidst their dynastic run.
Vancouver would not be back to the finals for another 12 years when they would face off against another New York team in the Rangers. The epic series went a full seven games before the Rangers prevailed on their home ice in game seven, ending their 54 year Stanley Cup drought and making Vancouver continue to wait to hoist the Cup.
Fans in Vancouver waited another 17 seasons to the see their Canucks reach final Finals again. 2011 saw the fast and talented team match up with the Boston Bruins. Again, the series went to seven games and, again, the Canucks could not find a way to come out on top as Boston won its first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Despite the play of some great Canucks legends over the years, the franchise is still looking for its first Championship. Still stinging from the loss to the Bruins, the Canucks have only totaled three postseason wins over the last six years. They were unable to make the playoffs in the last two years.
Clearly looking for a new direction, management has placed the team in the hands of Travis Green. He will get his first NHL coaching experience behind the bench for Vancouver this season. A journeyman former player, Green has seen it all and knows what it takes to be a winner. He will have help from his team’s veteran leadership in the Sedin twins. Henrik and Daniel are in their late 30s now and feeling an urgency to win the big one.
Bo Horvat, having just signed a new six year deal with Vancouver, is determined more than ever help elevate his club. Young talent in Brandon Sutter and Sven Baertschi are eager to take on a bigger role for the team this year. Additionally, the Canucks signed some veteran talent to their roster in the offseason including Sam Gagner from Columbus and Michael Del Zotto from Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see how the pieces come together under the new coach. Fans in British Columbia are hopeful that things will play out well and bring this team back to the playoffs for a deep run.
Vancouver has had the pleasure of enjoying the play of a number of players with world-class talent. Among them are Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden, Roberto Luongo, Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, Mattis Ohlund, and Kirk McLean. To find out more about the Vancouver Canucks and their history click here.