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Vancouver Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini: ‘These playoffs were just a beginning’

Canucks Sports and Entertainment chairman Francesco Aquilini has penned a letter to fans that was released earlier today.

The optimistic letter highlighted the tremendous season for the Canucks, and also hints towards the future.

The 400-word letter thanked the fans for their support, and in it, Aquilini spoke about his passion for the Canucks over the years starting back to when he was a young kid sneaking into the Pacific Coliseum to watch games. Aquilini also noted his desire for a Stanley Cup to return to Vancouver and how he hopes to share it with fans and partners.

You can read his full letter below.

The 2019-20 NHL season was so strange and unpredictable it’s hard to know where to begin.

Let’s start back at training camp in Victoria last September. I recall watching in the stands and thinking that this group had more potential than many were giving us credit for. The leadership of a new captain, the amazing skill and maturity of our young guys, and the example and support of our veterans were already coming together in a promising way.

Fast forward nearly a year through the fear and uncertainty of a global pandemic, a shortened season, a revamped playoff format, a rigorous bubble in Edmonton, and a run that didn’t end until late in Game 7 against Vegas, and here we are.

There are many positives to take from the past season. Our young stars blossoming. Our captain emerging as a true leader. Our goaltending. Our will to win. The success culture that’s developing in the dressing room. The players’ pride in putting on a Canucks sweater. The resilience of our group to knock out the defending Stanley Cup champs and then take the Golden Knights to seven games. Their belief that they can now go toe-to-toe with any team in the league. An unexpected level of achievement, yes, and definitely worth celebrating.

But these playoffs were just a beginning, not an ending. It’s clear we have much to do if we want to win the Cup. That’s why, the day after Game 7, Jim and his group began their detailed evaluations and analysis. They have a clear understanding of what we need to get better, and they’ll pursue the ongoing improvement of the team with passion, determination, and hard work. At the end of the day, it’s usually the team that works hardest, on and off the ice, that has the greatest success.

I’ve been a Canucks fan all my life. As a young kid in East Van I used to sneak into the Pacific Coliseum to watch the team play. Over the years I’ve felt the near-misses, the heartbreaks, as deeply as anyone-especially losing in the finals in 1982, 1994, and 2011.

The Stanley Cup: that’s what I want. I want it for you, and all the Season Ticket Members, Partners and fans who have supported us through hard times and are now sharing in what promises to be a thrilling period in Canucks history. I want it for Vancouver, for the players, for Jim and his group, Travis and his assistants, and the Aquilini family. We’re all committed to, and working hard toward, that goal.

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world these days, but one thing’s for sure. Our long-term plan is progressing each year and the future looks incredibly bright for the Canucks. We’re grateful that you’re part of it.

On Twitter: @zjlaing