VANCOUVER — If anything was going to seal the deal regarding the Canucks’ decision to retire Pavel Bure’s jersey to the Rogers Arena rafters, it was the adoring standing ovation he acknowledged from the owners’ suite Thursday night.
Nobody can quite figure out Francesco Aquilini’s motive in this sudden Bure love-in but it won’t be long before sweater No. 10 flaps in the breeze alongside those of Stan Smyl (12) Trevor Linden (16) and Markus Naslund (19).
Smyl – forever the lovable ‘Steamer’ in the eyes of the Canucks’ faithful — is thrilled about having a hockey jersey from another chapter of his life being raised to the rafters Saturday night at Clancy’s Arena in St. Paul, Alta.
“I was born in Glendon, Alta., and my dad moved his car dealership within the same county district to St. Paul 50 years ago this year,” Smyl was saying Friday. “I played my minor hockey in St. Paul until my first year of bantam. For the people there to be honouring me with a jersey ceremony after all these years is unbelievable.”
His parents, Bernard and Pauline, will be part of the centre-ice celebrations and will later join Stan and daughter Jilian at the head table at a community fundraising banquet in support of the minor hockey program in St. Paul.
“It’s going to be a couple of special days being able spend some time with my mom and dad,” Smyl said. “It’ll be a real ‘back to the future’ experience.”
HERE ’N’ THERE: That frustrated band of scalpers who have been having a financially strapped time of it with Canucks tickets so readily available this year finally cashed in this week. “We did more business in one night for the Rihanna concert Monday than we’ve done during the entire hockey season,” a veteran of the ticket-hustling wars says. He fears that the impact of Canucks seat sales on Craigslist is slowly putting himself and his fellow ticket hawkers out of business.
SHORT HOPS: Versatile radio sports broadcaster Brook Ward is credited with igniting the now-famous Roberto Luongo line “My contract sucks!” when Ward asked during Wednesday’s trade deadline scrum if Luongo thought the length and terms of his contract prevented the Canucks from a last-minute deal. Luongo’s response made international headlines.
END ZONE: Nominations close May 1 for the Class of 2013 B.C. Football Hall of Fame inductions. More information at bcfootballhalloffame.com ... Former Masters and U.S. Open champion Fuzzy Zoeller has a by-invite-only date at the Vancouver Golf Club on April 16. In addition to a clinic on the driving range at 5 p.m., he will introduce his new line of Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka.
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