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Canucks discuss their All Star selections, looking forward to rolling into Toronto as a group

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
5 months ago
It’s been a few days now since the Vancouver Canucks learned they would have five skaters and head coach Rick Tocchet representing the organization at next month’s All Star weekend in Toronto. With the focus squarely on the task at hand during the team’s recently completed seven game road trip, the group hadn’t been asked about the accolades and the fan vote required to have Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko join captain Quinn Hughes giving the Canucks a league-high five representatives among the 44 players taking part in the February 1-3 showcase.
Hughes knew he’d be part of All Star weekend as the league selected one player from each team on January 4th and he earned the Canucks nod. It wasn’t until last week he learned he’d have plenty of company joining him for the weekend.
It’s amazing because usually there’s guys – just the way the format is – there’s guys that are left out that are deserving to be there and it was nice to see that some of the guys in here that have had really good seasons, just as good as anyone in the league right now, have all made it,” Hughes said. “I’m happy to see Tocc there too. He deserves it and obviously Petey and Millsy, being his first All Star game, and Demko and Brock it’s gonna be fun being with them.”
Two years ago Thatcher Demko represented the Canucks at the All Star weekend in Vegas. This time around, he was the top vote getter in fan balloting garnering close to 1.4 million on-line votes.
Like Hughes, the Canucks netminder is looking forward to experiencing the weekend with so many teammates.
That’s the fun part is being able to share it with the guys,” Demko said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year and the leadership that those guys have all kind of taken on and put upon themselves, it’ll be really fun to share that experience.”
For Elias Pettersson, this will be his fourth All Star appearance after earning his way to games in San Jose, St. Louis and last year in Sunrise, Florida. A year ago, he had a familiar face in Bo Horvat alongside, although Horvat had been dealt to the New York Islanders earlier in the week. This time around, he’ll be surrounded by current teammates.
“I think it’s awesome with this many guys going this year,” Pettersson said. “I think it shows how well we’ve performed this year and it’s a real compliment for us”.
Six years ago, as an NHL rookie, Brock Boeser took All Star weekend in Tampa Bay by storm. He won the most accurate shooting event in the Skills Competition and then had a pair of goals and an assist earning MVP honours during the game itself.
Boeser was a one-man show at the 2018 event, but now will be rolling into Toronto as part of a large Canucks contingent. 
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been there but obviously it’s an honour and I’m really excited to go,” Boeser said. “I didn’t really expect this many guys to be going. I think it’ll be fun to have those guys there and be with them and then enjoy the whole experience with them. So you know, it’s been a great year and it just shows like how hard we’ve worked and how good we’ve been playing as a team.”
For head coach Rick Tocchet, a Toronto native, All Star weekend will be a homecoming and a chance to see family and friends. But it’s also a business trip. He’ll have the chance to catch up with fellow head coaches Jim Montgomery (Boston), Peter Laviollete (NY Rangers) and Rick Bowness (Winnipeg). But Tocchet is quick to point out the reason he’ll have the chance to be a part of the festivities is because of how well his hockey club has performed this season.
“For me, it’s a representation of the organization,” he said. “For the players, they deserve this. All these guys have played great for us. It’s going to be a fun weekend. I hope those guys enjoy that. Toronto’s a hockey hotbed. We’ve got five guys there. It’s pretty special to have the Vancouver crest represented by five guys in a hockey mecca, it’s a credit to those guys and the organization.”
While Tocchet has the luxury of icing a line-up in Vancouver that consists of Hughes, Pettersson, Miller, Boeser and Demko in net, that likely will not be the case for the All Star events. With the format moving away from divisional teams to a player draft, no one is sure what the line-ups will look like. 
And there’s a very good chance Rick Tocchet will have to coach against a number of his own players.

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