It’s Kevin Bieksa Day in Vancouver, and the Canucks’ old No. 3 has wasted little time in bringing all his trademark swagger and personality back at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks will honour Bieksa for all his contributions to the franchise before Thursday’s game against his other former team, the Anaheim Ducks.
a one-day contract on Thursday morning to retire as a member of the Canucks, with whom he played from 2005 to 2015.
But while most players stick to off-ice activities during their ceremonial contracts, Bieksa decided to lace up his skates once more and join the Canucks for their morning twirl at Rogers Arena. (By the way, Bieksa’s head coach during his first year in Anaheim? None other than Bruce Boudreau).
Bieksa served as an alternate captain during his final seasons in Vancouver. Fittingly, he delivered a speech to the team in the Canucks’ dressing room after Thursday’s skate.
Bieksa and Rick Rypien entered the National Hockey League at around the same time, having also played together in the American Hockey League with the Manitoba Moose.
Since Rypien’s passing in 2011, the Canucks have established the Canucks for Kids Fund — a project in which Bieksa took an active interest upon its formation.
Last month, the Canucks introduced Ryp, the team’s official puppy who will be trained as part of a partnership with BC Guide Dogs this season. Bieksa had the opportunity to meet Ryp, who is named after Rypien, on Thursday.
Bieksa currently works as a television personality with Sportsnet, a natural fit given his wisecracking nature and knowledge of the game.
Of course, the Canucks had to take advantage of having their defender-turned-commentator back on the ice by strapping a microphone on his jersey for their morning skate on Thursday.
The Canucks will host the Ducks at 7:00 p.m. PT on Thursday evening.