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Could SFU really work as the home of the Vancouver Canucks’ practice rink?

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David Quadrelli
7 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, Chris Faber and I broke down my Friday report on the Vancouver Canucks’ talks with Simon Fraser University to build their practice facility on the school’s Burnaby campus atop Burnaby Mountain. If you haven’t read that article, click here to catch up! It was big news!
When talking about the report on today’s show, I broke it into two sections. First, I covered the big J Journalist stuff- the things we know for 100% certain. A lot of that was covered in the original article, so I’ll keep this brief. Here are the things we know about the situation:
-The Canucks have been looking basically since Jim Rutherford was hired for a practice facility. We know securing land for that facility has been difficult and that namely, the price of land in Vancouver has posed challenges for ownership.
-SFU said goodbye to their football program earlier this year, and some of the Athletic Department’s biggest donors are big advocates of bringing NCAA Div. 1 hockey. Some donors want Div 1 hockey, and weren’t very big fans of the football program. If the school wants to remain in the NCAA, they must add another program with the departure of football. This could open the door for NCAA Div 1 hockey. The school’s current club team plays in the BCIHL, and their home rink is Bill Copeland. The team has scheduled exhibition games on the road against multiple NCAA schools this season, including BU, Michigan, and others. They would certainly need a new arena if that team is to join the NCAA. 
-Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini has met at least twice with SFU President Joy Johnson about the prospect of building a shared facility. What this really comes down to is that SFU needs a facility, and the Canucks need a facility. 
-The empty lot on the southwest corner of the Burnaby Campus was originally going to be the home of the Olympic Oval, which was moved to Richmond after costs to build it at SFU ballooned.
If you don’t like speculation or hearing anybody think aloud, then stop reading. Nothing from this point on is a report, this is just me now listing the things I wonder about the situation, based on the things listed above.
The big thing to wonder about is what a potential agreement may actually look. Does SFU donate the land to the Canucks if the NHL club agrees to construct a state-of-the-art facility with 4,000+ seats? This would allow the Canucks to host training camp there in a similar fashion to how they hosted camp in Abbotsford ahead of the AHL club’s inaugural season.
Another thing to wonder is how often the Canucks would need this practice facility. Another thing I wonder that I point out in the video below is if the Canucks and SFU somehow agree to build a new road on the Burnaby campus to ease concerns about congestion. As pointed out in the video, the rendering of the original Olympic Oval atop Burnaby Mountain appears to show a new road leading to the facility. Could that be back on the table with the Canucks’ new practice facility?
We also broke down how the 15 kilometre distance from Rogers Arena to SFU is on par and even closer than most other NHL teams’ setups.
Watch the segment below from today’s episode of Canucks Conversation for our full breakdown of this story!

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