The preseason begins with heavy hearts for the Vancouver Canucks and their hockey operations staff. European based amateur scout Patrik Jonsson passed away from cancer in the past day. Jonsson, who joined the staff before the 2018-’19 season was the key figure in the scouting and draft acquisition of current Canucks forward Nils Höglander, taken 40th overall out of the AIK club in Sweden in the 2019 draft.
The Chief Amateur Scout of the Vancouver Canucks is former player Ron Delorme, who had this to say via Twitter upon hearing the news: “Today we lost a beloved member of the Vancouver Canucks scouting family. Patrik Jonsson. He was a special person. May the memories he made with us over the years + during his final days help him find peace. Nils Hoglander will keep his memory alive … RIP Patrik, you were a good soul.”
Prior to working with the Canucks, Jonsson had been a skills development coach for Hoglander’s agent Allain Roy, who reacted on social media. “Sad day! Unbelievable person who loved his craft. RIP Patrik ”
Roy’s associate, agent Jeff Boston added: “Thoughts are with the family and many friends of Canucks scout Patrik Jonsson. Patrik was kind, genuine, and extremely passionate about the game of hockey. He will be missed. RIP Patrik.”
Prior to working with Roy’s group, Jonsson had scouted for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL junior league. Prior to that he coached four different levels of junior or professional hockey in Sweden.
Former Canucks New England based scout Jonathan Bates: “Patrik Jonsson was such a genuine human. The first game I saw with him was a Swedish Jr. hockey game. He pointed out a very small but tenacious kid. ‘Batesy, he will be a high draft pick in a few years.’ That player went 4th overall to Detroit (Lucas Raymond).”
For the Canucks staff and particularly Jonsson’s charge and friend Hoglander, as Delorme pointed out, Jonsson’s memory will carry on via the younger man’s NHL career.
Local sportswriter Ben Kuzma on Twitter: “Jonsson had the perfect take on Swedish winger Nils Hoglander well before his solid rookie NHL season: ‘He has always played really hard, aggressive and strong on the puck in tight areas. He has no fears. He loves the game so much. Confidence and skill come from there.'”
Göran Stubb, the NHL’s Director of European Scouting, relayed via e-mail: “Sad, very sad news. Talked with him over the phone several times during his 3 years as an NHL-scout for the Canucks. A warm, nice person with a big heart for hockey. RIP.”
Jonsson succumb to prostate cancer at the age of 51.
(The photos are from Mr. Delorme’s tweet and from the Vancouver Canucks staff directory)