April 03 2013 09:48AM
According to Global TV's Squire Barnes, Pavel Bure will be coming to Vancouver this week to help out with some charity work for the team. Is this the first step in the jersey retirement process?
Among Canuck fans, Bure's jersey retirement has been building momentum over the last few years. However, there are still some in the media (and within the organizaton, and at this blog) that don't feel his #10 should hang from the rafters.
More on the latest news after the jump.
Squire's first tweet:
Looks like Pavel Bure will be in Vancouver this week to help out with Canucks charities. The fence mending begins.— Squire Barnes (@sbarnesglobal) April 3, 2013
And his second:
This is the starting point on the road to Bure's number eventually being retired. #10. Not #96.— Squire Barnes (@sbarnesglobal) April 3, 2013
Pretty interesting (to say the very least). Squire isn't someone to usually break news but he doesn't make things up either, and he has been around the sports scene in Vancouver for a long, long time. As mentioned above, there are still some within the organization that feel Bure isn't deserving of having his number hanging alongside Markus Naslund's #19, Stan Smyl's #12, or Trevor Linden's #16.
That's not because of anything he did on the ice - Bure was far and away the most dominant skater the Canucks have ever had in the organization. It's because of how Bure left town - demanding a trade, and then holding out - that still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many (including some on the committee who have the final call on jersey retirements).
Is this charitable work part ot the "fence mending" process that Squire alludes to above? Very likely.
Current Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis grew up in Smithers, BC, and he is on board with having Bure's jersey retired. I don't think his opinion has much weight, though.
“I think it should,” he said. “He’s well deserving of it and I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
Vancouver Sun writer Iain MacIntyre feels strongly the other way. Although this quote is from several months ago, I highly doubt his opinion has changed all that much on the issue.
Consider the impact on the Canucks and the community of the three players whose numbers have been retired in Vancouver: Naslund, Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl. Now think about Bure. The relationship with was one-sided: fans loved him, but he didn’t love the Canucks or Vancouver. And to get out, he held out. Bure once listed a shopping list of reasons why he chose to leave the Canucks, almost all of them to do with money and his perceived treatment by management. Fair enough. Hockey is business. But honoring players in perpetuity is about something more.
There are several more opinions from players and writers that could be quoted. Thomas Drance wrote a good piece back in November, as did Harrison Mooney. Puck Daddy covered the issue, As Cam Charron writes, Bure turned the Canucks into a team worth watching, attracting a new and much wider audience.
And I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to speculate how Pavel's partner in crime, Gino Odjick, feels about the issue. Gino was likely involved in every step of the process to get Pavel to come back and help with the team.
All we really have in the way of new information is the tweets from Squire. Bure is coming to town this week to help the Canucks with their charitable endeavours. This is probably the first step in re-establishing a relationship between the player and the club, and between Bure and the Vancouver marketplace. His jersey may not be retired this week. It may not be retired this season. I am sure there is still debate going on within the committee that has the final call. But this is an important first step for Bure and the Canucks to put the past in the past.
As Bruce Arthur wrote a few months ago, there was (and is) nobody else like Bure.
But more than the result, that feeling of anticipation is what I remember. It was as if we all lifted up, the whole arena, tilting forward in our seats, levitating with expectation. He disappointed Vancouver in the end; he drifted away into his own opaque world. But I remember him, young and electric and impossible. When I close my eyes he is still a young man and we are all tilting forward, waiting to see what happens next.
I do have a "bias" in this debate, as I was a child of the 90's and Bure was the main reason I fell in love with hockey from a young age. I wasn't really old enough to understand the off ice issues that ultimately ended his time in Vancouver. All I remember were the goals, the flair for the dramatic, and the fear in the eyes of opposing defensemen. And the number 10.