Vancouver Canucks and BC Team Canada Connections Plentiful
As we all know, there will be no current Vancouver Canucks participating at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China next month.
But not all is lost, while rooting for Team Canada, Canucks fans and BC inhabitants will have a number of local and provincial ties to follow in the ultimate international hockey melting pot.
International team connections will come separately … here’s a look at BC and Vancouver Canucks ties to Team Canada.
Just the one. Adam Cracknell has been named to represent his country. The 36-year-old winger signed with the Vancouver Canucks in the summer of 2015 and played 44 games with the club before being waived the following February. He picked up four goals and fourteen points along the way.
Cracknell hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and presently plays in the American League for Bakersfield. He has 210 games of NHL experience, most recently with Anaheim three seasons ago.
Defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon’s name pops up first. The Burnaby native, a former 2nd-round pick of the Calgary Flames back in 2011, was officially announced as one of Team Canada’s eight blueliners on Tuesday morning. The 28-year-old presently plays in the New Jersey Devils organization for Utica of the American Hockey League.
Oddly enough, not only is Wotherspoon playing in the recent former home of the Canucks AHL affiliate, he also used to play in Abbotsford, the current home of the baby-Canucks. He spent the 2013-’14 season there playing for the Flames affiliated Heat.
Landon Ferraro will have the opportunity to do something his more proficient hockey playing father never had the chance to do; play at the Olympics. Dad Ray racked up almost 900 points in more than 12-hundred NHL games but never had the chance to cross paths with the world’s biggest tournament. He did represent Canada at three World Championships.
Like his father, Landon was born in Trail, BC. He went on to play for Red Deer and Everett in the Western League, 77 games in the National Hockey League with Detroit, Boston, and Minnesota, and now enjoys playing in Cologne, Germany in the DEL. Landon represented Canada in both U17 and U18 tournaments as a junior.
“We are so thrilled for Landon,” Ray told Vancouver Hockey Now on Tuesday. “It’s been a long road for him and this is just the most amazing news. A little hard to sum up emotion, but so proud and overwhelmingly happy for him. I just can’t believe we get to watch him at the Olympics. Amazing.”
Travel to the south end of the Okanagan Valley and that’s where you’ll find Oliver, the hometown of Corban Knight. The 31-year-old, right-shot forward plays for Avangard Omsk in the Russian KHL where he helped win a Gagarin Cup championship last season.
Knight played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League before moving on to the University of North Dakota. Coincidence; his one season in Abbotsford playing for the Heat was at the same time as Wotherspoon. Knight was a 5th-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2009.
34-year-old Coquitlam native and former Salmon Arm Silverback Ben Street will play forward for Team Canada. OK, and now the “small hockey world” phenomena is getting silly: the centreman also spent most of the 2013-’14 season playing for the Abbotsford Heat.
Street helped the University of Wisconsin win an NCAA National Championship in 2006 and then lost the final in 2010 to the same school, Boston College. He also won a Calder Cup championship in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2017. Thus, he’s no stranger to big-game hockey. Street, presently in his first season with Munich in Germany, has 59 games of NHL experience.
Port Moody native Adam Tambellini played for the Vernon Vipers and the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL before moving on to the University of North Dakota and then the WHL. Adam is the youngest son of longtime NHL player and executive Steve Tambellini who hails from, but of course, Trail, British Columbia. The Team Canada 2022 coincidences are getting a bit kooky.
The elder Tambellini did get to the play in the Olympics for Canada, part of the team in 1988 in Calgary. He had a goal and 3 assists in eight games. The experience came just at the end of his NHL career, the final three seasons of which he spent with the Vancouver Canucks.
His son, the 3rd-round NHL draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2013, is finishing up his third season playing in Sweden.
Jordan Weal, the 29-year-old right-shot centre from North Vancouver, rounds out a hearty list of BC natives representing Team Canada as players. Weal went in the 3rd-round to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2010 NHL Draft while playing five seasons with Regina in the Western Hockey League.
In a shocker; he did not play the 2013-’14 season with the Abbotsford Heat. He was actually playing for the Manchester (New Hampshire) Monarchs in that same AHL.
Weal is in first season in the KHL with Ak Bars Kazan where he has 12 goals and 30 points in 36 games thus far.
Powell River fans might remember Daniel Carr from the 2009-’10 team that went all the way to Game-7 of the BCHL championship series only to lose to the powerhouse Vernon Vipers. It was the middle of three consecutive championships for Vernon and the third of four consecutive losses in the final for the KIngs. In Carr’s only season there, he piled up 26 points in 23 playoff games after posting 27 points in 22 regular season matches.
The 30-year-old winger from Alberta last played in the NHL last season for Washington, appearing in six games. He has 117 games under his belt in the big show.
Two BC natives have been nominated as Olympic reserves: Goalie Justin Pogge from Penticton, currently with Kölner Haie in Germany, and Centre Kent Johnson from Port Moody, presently playing with the University of Michigan.
The former Vancouver Canucks international list coming shortly.