Canucks ask players — Roberto Luongo included — to return to Vancouver for annual charity golf event
VANCOUVER — If reports are accurate that Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is returning to Vancouver next week, he won't be alone.
Despite the labour dispute between the National Hockey League and its players' association, the Canucks have asked their players to report to Vancouver for next week's Jake Milford charity golf tournament.
Luongo, awaiting a trade from the Canucks after losing the starting goaltending job to Cory Schneider during the playoffs, has been training at his off-season home in South Florida. As news of a possible return to Vancouver spread on Twitter Thursday, Luongo tweeted under his suspected handle @Strombone1: “Get your popcorn ready! Gonna be lots of fun!”
It led to speculation the 33-year-old could be returning to Vancouver to spur the Canucks to deal him. Luongo reiterated this week to a reporter that it's time for him to leave the Canucks and he'd like to play for the Florida Panthers.
“Roberto Luongo is still a member of this organization,” Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said Thursday. “And like all our players, he has been asked to support this charity golf tournament. Attendance is not mandatory, but I'm proud to say that nearly all our players have accepted our invitation.”
The Milford tournament, which raises money for the Canucks For Kids Fund and other charitable initiatives, traditionally coincides with the start of training camp. But Gilman said it became increasingly difficult to fit the tournament into a compact training camp schedule, and the decision was after last year's event to move it forward, ahead of camp this September.
The NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement expires Sept. 15, and commissioner Gary Bettman has said he will lock out players if they do not agree to a new CBA before then.
Despite the bleak outlook for hockey this fall, several Canucks players have skated informally this week at the University of B.C., while others, including stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin, are in town but working out away from the rink.
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