Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Since his arrival in the summer of 2010, Dan Hamhuis has been a steady presence on a chaotic team. Taking less money to play for his hometown team, Hamhuis will rightfully remain a favourite of many in Vancouver. His game isn’t flashy, but it is solid, neat, and a huge reason why the Canucks were able to compete for the Stanley Cup when they did. General opinion tends to see the injury that resulted from his hip check on Milan Lucic in game 1 of the 2011 Finals as a key reason for the Canucks’ eventual series loss, but let’s not get into that again. Here are the best aspects of Hamhuis’ time with the Canucks – from his handsome, fatherly charm to his excellent work as a blueliner.
10. Being confused by David Booth:
There may be moments that deserve to be on this list more than this video, but I can’t think of them and you can always suggest something better in the comments if you wish. I love this video. With one brief smile, Hamhuis managed to sum up the entire David Booth era. It was a perfect moment.
9. The Hamhuis Hip Check:
The aforementioned Lucic hip check ended up being the worst, but overall, Dan was pretty good at the hip checking thing. The most perfect example of his mastery of the art was when Hamhuis, as Youtube user CanucksHD so accurately puts it, destroyed Douglas Murray:
8. Dan did not score very often:
There are literally no goals on this list. I remember Dan Hamhuis scoring goals as a Canuck but I cannot remember any specific Dan Hamhuis goals as a Canuck. Can you think of any iconic or extra-memorable Dan Hamhuis goals? Link me to them in the comments because I have got nothing.
Sort of the anti-Bieksa, Hamhuis had a flair for the undramatic and it made for hockey that was super satisfying to watch. His low-key game was what made him such a useful Canuck, but his lack of offensive glamour was sort of funny sometimes. This montage of him missing seven chances from the same spot on one powerplay is the perfect illustration of that. Oh Dan.
7. Dad Hamhuis:
Being a family man is a big part of why Hamhuis was so reluctant to waive his NTC. In this adorable Canucks.com feature, we learn that little Anna Hamhuis calls Alex Edler “Mr. Alex”, can’t tell the Sedin twins apart, and refers to the penalty box as the “naughty box”. The Hamhuis family is adorable.
6. Sad Hamhuis:
Hamhuis has really sad eyes so even when he smiles it kind of looks like he is about to cry. I don’t think he is actually sad, but the puppy-dog-eyes thing is a key part of Dan Hamhuis folklore and his legacy in Vancouver.
5. Dan Hamhuis fought sometimes:
Sad-eyed family guy Dan Hamhuis can thrown down. It didn’t happen often, but few things were more amusing than Hamhuis resorting to violence. Remember when he fought the Nuge?
Plus, here is this hilarious .gif of him KO’ing Patrick Kane (kind of):
4. Surrogate Dad Dan Hamhuis:
Hamhuis’ style of play, especially a couple of years ago, made him the ideal partner for young (Chris Tanev) or erratic (Kevin Bieksa) defensemen. Hamhuis stepped into a leadership role on the Canucks back-end almost immediately and filled the “kind, wise, reliable defenseman” gap that appeared when Sami Salo left. He allowed Kevin Bieksa to make those high-risk rushes and allowed a mostly silent Alex Edler to avoid frequent interaction with the media. Chris Tanev credits Hamhuis with teaching him details of the game – even defensive aces like Tanev need a safety net when they’re young. Contributing greatly to Tanev’s ascent to being one of the smoothest defensive defensemen in the league is a pretty good legacy to leave behind.
3. Dan the Golden Boy:
He wasn’t wearing a Canucks jersey, but Hamhuis’ gold medal win at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics is one of the nicest moments from his time in Vancouver. Hamhuis did not play a lot in Sochi and was certainly not one of the key parts of a ridiculously good Canadian defense, but he was there and it was awesome. Dan was even on the ice for the final seconds of the gold medal game. Look at that smile. No sad eyes here.
2. Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis:
One could probably make a top-10 list composed entirely of Dan Hamhuis’ various charity endeavours. This man loves giving away his money and time. Some time ago, Pass It To Bulis started calling him Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis and it stuck, probably because of the playground he helped build. Or the $100K he donated to Ronald McDonald House. Or the tickets he gives to young community leaders for each Canucks home game. Or his continued connection to the Best Buddies program in Nashville. I do not have time to list the rest. Hamhuis was actively involved in so many organizations that put smiles on kids’ faces and used his role as a local celebrity in the best ways possible.
1. The easiest guy to cheer for:
It was impossible to pick one moment or event that defined Hamhuis’ tenure as a Canuck because Hamhuis isn’t really a big moment type of player. Basically, the best thing about his time here is a combination of the previous nine sections of this list. Hamhuis is a really cool guy and was, for a time, the best defenseman on the roster. It’s fun to root for good players, but it’s even more fun to root for good people and Dan Hamhuis falls under both categories. He’s certainly not as effective as he once was, but that’s how sports and time work. If Hamhuis does decide to return to Vancouver this summer, maybe he can score a really memorable overtime winner to be included in the Dan Hamhuis retirement coverage.