No matter how much you cling to your current team and boys, obsess over the smallest details in the players’ on-ice performance and their personal lives, watch the games religiously, and without a doubt, are as dedicated and committed to being a part of your team, there’s nothing like the love and attachment that you’ll always have for the team that you grew up watching.
Markus Naslund has been as great as a reason for why I love hockey than Trevor Linden being an inspiration as well. Since birth, I sat infront of the TV watching the WCE work their magic, and developed a crush on Dan Cloutier- strictly for his looks, of course. I can remember being mesmerized watching Ohlund, Jovo, Cookie, Sopel, and even Brad May represent the Vancouver Canucks out on the ice, every other night. Jarkko Ruutu, always up to his shenanigans. Anson Carter, finally, a perfect linemate for the twin Rookie Swedes to play with.
But most importantly of course, Nazzy, Bmo, and Bert, doing what they do best. It was the perfect combination, and their chemistry on and off ice made my love for hockey grow even stronger. They played with such determination and with such a strong work ethic, they put passion into the puck as Bmo would pass one to Bert through the centre, with Nazzy trailing ahead, ready to quickly slide it past the opposing goaltender. Everything about them, I adored. I was completely mesmerized by it, and fell in love with the game of hockey.
They were the roster that drove my passion into the roof, the team that I would grow to love, and continue till this day, and until the day I die. Markus Naslund was the Captain during those years of a developing love for a young-me, and I looked up to him as inspiration, more than any one else on the team. He was our strong and passionate leader, truly, one of the greatest hockey players to wear a Canucks jersey.
He was our Captain during that era of Canucks hockey, and forever will remain a Captain to all of us, and for some, even more than that. A leader and a role model, a true-class citizen of our community, and a man with a huge heart and a lot of passion.
As much as I love, and will ever love our current, or future roster, despite of how far we get or the struggles we may go through, for me, there will never be a team quite like the Canucks that Markus Naslund led as our Captain, for 8 years. They were my childhood, and they are, and always will be my #1. He will forever be Captain, and never forgotten. All you have to do is look up to the rafters.
Happy Birthday, Markus. Thank you, for your dedication. Thank you, for absolutely everything.