'Other' Vancouver has different hockey culture, says new Giant forward Trevor Cheek
Forward expected to make regular-season debut for Vancouver on Friday against Everett Silvertips
It was time for a geography lesson from new Vancouver Giant forward Trevor Cheek, who is from Vancouver but not this Vancouver.
He's from the other Vancouver, the one in Washington state that's a bridge away from Portland, Ore.
“Well, the weather is pretty much the same but the city of Vancouver, Canada, is a little bigger,” a smiling Cheek said Thursday at the Giants' training facility in Ladner. “We have Fort Vancouver, which is a pretty big tourist attraction, but people mostly go to Portland for things like that. It's about a 25-minute drive from my house to the Coliseum in Portland and about a 41/2- to five-hour drive straight down the I-5 from here.”
Another difference: Vancouver, Wash., is not a hotbed of hockey.
“I'm pretty sure I was the only kid in my school growing up who actually played hockey,” he said. “It was more of a family thing that got me into it. Both my dad and grandpa played so I was just kind of born into it.”
Here's the kicker: Grandpa Cheek is a Canadian. From Montreal no less.
“He was born and raised there so he's a big hockey guy,” explained Trevor. “He played some farm hockey back in the Original Six days. My dad was born in California but played hockey because of his dad. I was actually born in Los Angeles myself but we moved up to Vancouver when I was five.”
Cheek claims he was never "brain-washed" into being a Habs' fan – how didn't that happen? – and has always been partial to the Kings. His patience was finally rewarded last spring when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.
“I definitely enjoyed that but there were quite a few rough years before that,” he chuckled. “Last spring was pretty special.”
It's now on to more pressing matters for Cheek, a 6-2, 198-pound forward acquired Wednesday from the Calgary Hitmen for a pair of bantam draft picks. He'll make his Giants' debut Friday (7:30 p.m., Team 1040) against the Everett Silvertips at the Pacific Coliseum. The G-Men are seeking their first win after opening the season with consecutive losses to the Victoria Royals.
Based on Thursday's practice, Cheek will start on left wing with centre Riley Kieser and right-winger Dalton Sward.
“We want to see where Trevor fits in this weekend,” said Giants head coach Don Hay. “Obviously the trade was made with the purpose of playing him in a top-six forward spot. But we have to make some decisions on Ales Kilnar (Czech import) this weekend, too. So where ever Trevor plays, we hope he'll be effective.”
Kilnar, 19, was a healthy scratch the first two games but skated at practice Thursday with fellow 19-year-olds Marek Tvrdon and Nathan Burns.
G-NOTES: Silvertips captain Ryan Murray, drafted second overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in last June's NHL entry draft, played for Hay at the world junior tournament last Christmas. “He's a quality player who logs a lot of minutes and makes a big difference to their team,” Hay said. ... In their first two games, the Giants have been behind for 100 minutes and 29 seconds of the 120 minutes played ... Goalie Liam Liston is scheduled to start against Everett.
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