BC hockey fans will not find a former Vancouver Canucks player, nor will you find a British Columbia native, on the playoff roster of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
What you will find is cohesive experience unlike anywhere else in the National Hockey League. Remarkably, the top seven scorers this season for the Lightning were all “home grown” within the organization. It says a lot about who they are and how they perform as units.
Steven Stamkos (106 points), Victor Hedman (85), Nikita Kucherov (69), Alex Killorn (59), Brayden Point (58), Ondrej Palat (49), and Anthony Cirelli (43) have ONLY played for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their NHL careers.
Same for their 9th leading scorer Ross Colton (39), and aside from four games for the Montreal Canadiens, 10th leading scorer Mikael Sergachev (38). Only Corey Perry (40) is a mutt having played for four different NHL teams and most of his career with the Anaheim Ducks.
That’s how you build a hockey team and a two-time Stanley Cup champ.
Oh! Their head coach Jon Cooper is a Prince George native, so one could cheer for him. Great guy.
The other BC connection: Former general manager Steve Yzerman, who put a lot of the roster together before departing for Detroit, is a Cranbrook native.
Cheering for Rangers?
Speaking of Cranbrook, it’s the hometown of New York Rangers reserve winger Dryden Hunt, who’s appeared in two playoff games thus far. Not sure if that’s enough to spur the interest and devotion of Vancouver Canucks fans. The former Trail Smoke Eater (BCHL) is the only BC native on the roster.
What might get local fans a little fired up is the presence of former Vancouver Canucks center Tyler Motte. Yes, a bottom-six grinder, role player, and penalty killer, but what’s not to like about him.
‘Motter’ essentially spent four full seasons with the Canucks, coming over from the Columbus Blue Jackets near the deadline in 2017-’18 and then traded to the Blueshirts on deadline day this season. He started this past season late with Vancouver coming off injury and then had another upper body malady in his short time with the Rangers. He’s bounced back and worked his butt off through nine playoff games and scored two goals so far for New York.
That’s it, slim pickens in terms of local connections. Choose sides if you’d like.
Either way, Enjoy the Hockey Action !!