There’s yet to be any official announcement, but every indication is that the Vancouver Canucks will be naming the 12th captain in team history—or 14th if you count Dan Quinn and Doug Lidster as “tri-captains” with Trevor Linden in 1990/91—sometime before the start of the 2019/20 season. But who will it be?
In this series, CanucksArmy will be taking a good look at all the serious candidates for the job—and making the best possible arguments for each of them in turn.
It’s important to note that none of these articles represent the actual opinion of this author or the other writers on CanucksArmy. In other words, just because you’re reading an article entitled “Why Brock Boeser Should Be Captain Of The Vancouver Canucks” it doesn’t mean we actually believe Boeser should be captain of the Vancouver Canucks—we’re just engaging in the mental exercise of advocating for him as a captaincy candidate.
Don’t worry—this author has a fairly inflexible opinion on who should actually wear the “C,” and this series will conclude with a three-part PR campaign for that individual. For now, however, there are several other players that are worthy of your consideration.
Is there a greater human being in the National Hockey League than Brock Boeser? There might not be.
GM Jim Benning has made it a definitive goal of his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks to add players of outstanding character, and he’s certainly done that—but Boeser still stands head (and hair) and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
In fact, Boeser is so morally upstanding that he’s reminiscent of another notable leader currently dominating the cultural zeitgeist—Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. Like Rogers, Boeser is in possession of a just heart, a great head of hair, and an unerring desire to do what is right. And like any good Avenger, Boeser has dedicated himself to helping those in need—and that can make for a pretty inspiring figure for any hockey team to follow.
The stories of Boeser’s kindness are too numerous to recount here, and they’ve been around since before he was drafted into the NHL. Who could forget Boeser taking Baylee Bjorge—his biggest fan in the world, who also happens to be a person with Down syndrome—to her high school prom. All Baylee had to do was ask, and Boeser was there to support her.
He’s also made a concerted commitment to shutting down any hateful trolls sharing negative messages about Bjorge on social media. In other words, Boeser doesn’t just exude morality and justness—he’s also unafraid to do battle with the injustice in the world.
Baylee Bjorge isn’t the first individual that Brock Boeser has inspired, and she won’t be the last. Boeser stands as a powerful testament to the importance of always trying to do the right thing—and the enormous impact such an attitude can have on the people around him.
Perspective Is Everything
Boeser’s incorruptible nature was well-known before the Canucks selected him 23rd overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft—but that wasn’t the only thing known about him. Unfortunately, Boeser gained valuable perspective on some of life’s most difficult questions via a series of tragic happenings.
Before he even hit high school, Boeser’s father Duke was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 49. The same week, his paternal grandfather passed from pancreatic cancer. Two years later, his Duke was involved in a serious accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He spent the next few years watching his parents struggle with medical bills and appointments—all the while continuing to support his emerging sports career—and those experiences taught him to never take hockey for granted.
If that lesson wasn’t already apparent in Boeser’s life, it became even more apparent in August of 2014. While captaining Team USA at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup tournament, Boeser received news that four of his closest friends had been involved in a serious car crash. One of Boeser’s closest friends, Ty Alyea, died as a result. Boeser continues to wear #6 on his jersey as a tribute to Alyea.
These tragedies have no doubt given Boeser the important perspective that hockey isn’t everything, and that there are other things in life that are infinitely more important. However, his experiences have also shown him that hockey is still pretty important—and that his natural skills in the game can be used to better the lives of those around him.
That’s the sort of moral center that a franchise can count on when it comes time for a leader to emerge.
Already A Mentor
Of course, Boeser’s accolades as a potential captain don’t all come from his time at North Dakota. Since joining the Canucks at the tail-end of the 2016/17 season, Boeser has already made an enormous impact on the culture of the team—and he’s already started to mentor the few players younger than him.
Nowhere is Boeser’s mentorship more apparent than in the brilliant rookie campaign of Elias Pettersson. The young center spent much of the year with Boeser riding shotgun with him on the ice, and the pair became practically inseparable off it. For a player to come to an NHL franchise without a clear veteran leader must have been difficult, but Pettersson immediately found someone to look up to in Boeser—and it’s hard to imagine he isn’t significantly better off for it.
One only has to look at the duo’s charming performance at the annual Dice and Ice event to see how close they grew throughout the 2018/19 season—and how much Pettersson came to rely on Boeser to guide him through his first year in North America.
The Captaincy Experience
Unlike many of the candidates we’ll talk about in this series, it bears mentioning that Brock Boeser does have some valuable experience as captain of a hockey team. He did serve as the captain of USA’s entry into the 2014 Under-17 Championships—and managed to lead his team to a bronze.
Aside from Bo Horvat—who served as captain of Team Canada in the same tournament in 2012 and for the OHL’s London Knights—Boeser is the only notable Canuck with any previous captaincy experience.
He’s done the job before, and he’s done it well—so while there may be a better candidate or two for the gig already on the Vancouver roster, it’s safe to say that Boeser remains an excellent choice. Even if he doesn’t wear the “C” on his jersey, one can only assume that he’ll remain a valuable component of the Canucks’ leadership core for years to come.
The Contract Question
As with Alex Edler, we’ll end this article with an important footnote—Brock Boeser is not currently under contract with the Vancouver Canucks. As a restricted free agent, there’s very little chance that Boeser is actually going anywhere, but it’s important to mention the fact that he’ll need a brand new deal before anyone considers giving him any sort of official leadership role.
That being said, there’s every indication that Vancouver fans can expect Boeser to sign a contract that is at least slightly below his fair market value. If he does take a hometown discount in the name of the franchise becoming more competitive, it will be just one more indication of how good of a person he is—and why he’s the kind of captain that this fanbase could be very proud to call their own.