Canucks Alumni hockey players during an Indoor/Outdoor Challenge game in Smithers last February. (Photo: facebook.com/canucksalumni)

Canucks Alumni hockey players during an Indoor/Outdoor Challenge game in Smithers last February. (Photo: facebook.com/canucksalumni)

HOCKEY

Canucks alumni players move their weekly scrimmages to Surrey’s newest hockey rink

Ex-NHLers on the ice at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, but spectators aren’t allowed right now

Vancouver Canucks Alumni are skating at their new home rink in Surrey.

Close to 30 former NHL players and other alumni association members are now scrimmaging weekly at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, on Monday nights, in blue-versus-white action.

Canucks Alumni colours, including logo and jerseys through the years, have been painted on walls of the Surrey Knights players’ lounge, thanks to the efforts of the junior hockey team’s owner, John Craighead, an alumni member.

The year-old Surrey arena now serves as something of a home base for the alumni association, which involves a long list of former Canucks players in addition to former NHLers and other pros, hockey managers, entertainers, media and others.

The scrimmages, closed to spectators during the COVID-19 pandemic, were previously held at Scotia Barn, the eight-rink facility in Burnaby, said Robin Wyss, the alumni association’s executive director.

“The biggest thing about the weekly games, which have been part of the alumni association for a long time, is the camaraderie for the guys who miss being on the ice, being in the dressing room,” said Wyss, a South Surrey resident and former director of sales with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.

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Some familiar former Canucks are among those on the alumni association executive, including president Bob Murray, vice-president Dave Babych, treasurer Jyrki Lumme and secretary Darcy Rota, along with directors Cliff Ronning, Garth Butcher, Dennis Kearns, John Grisdale, Kirk McLean and Gerry O’Flaherty.

With a mission to “connect and engage,” alumni members do a variety of community and charitable work across B.C., including charity hockey games, fundraisers, scholarships and more. Details are on the web at vancouvercanucksalumni.org.

In Smithers last winter, Canucks Alumni players were involved in a pair of charity games – one played indoor, one outdoor on a local lake – that raised money for Smithers Minor Hockey Association.

CLICK HERE to see game photos.

Tara Cleave, Manager of Sport Surrey and Accessibility, welcomes the alumni scrimmages in Surrey.

“The Canucks Alumni coming to the City of Surrey will allow us to profile our assets, one being the new arena (in North Surrey), and build stronger relations with the Alumni and also the Canucks,” Cleave told the Now-Leader.

“They’ll do their weekly skates at the new North Surrey arena,” she added, “and you know, once things open up a little bit more we’ll be able to engage the community, open it up for spectators to come watch, to watch some of their favourite past Canucks, which will be exciting for the community hopefully.”

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