Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Welcome to Our Game Vancouver Canucks 40th celebration Vancouver Canucks

BC’s Biggest Family Reunion now has a countdown...

Starting Monday, August 30th, Canucks.com writer Derek Jory will begin to celebrate 40 years of the game we love and Vancouver Canucks hockey with a countdown of his Top 40 Moments in franchise history. All the usual suspects will make an appearance, but for what moments and in what order remains to be seen.

Top Moments 40-31 - Top Moments 30-21 - Top Moments 20-11 - Top Moments 10-1

Check Canucks.com every day from now until the first game of the 2010-11 season on October 9th, exactly 40 days away, as we reveal another classic Canucks moment that has helped shape this franchise into what it is today.

#40 - Vancouver joins the NHL

Summer, 1970

The Vancouver Canucks were born in 1945 as part of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. Seven years into their existence, the Canucks had won two PCHL Championships before the league merged with the Western Canada Senior Hockey League to form the Western Hockey League. The Canucks won the President's/Lester Patrick Cup in 1958, 1960, 1969, and 1970, which was thrilling, but Vancouver yearned to be part of the National Hockey League. The Canucks got their wish in 1970 joining as one of two expansion teams in the East Division, increasing the league to 14 teams. The rest, as they say, is history.

#39 - Canucks > Bruins

February 16, 1971

Slowing down Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins wasn’t easy at the best of times, but during the 1970 season – with the Bruins coming off a Stanley Cup win and Orr in the midst of setting career highs in assists (102) and points (139) – it was near impossible. After Vancouver started the season 0-3 versus Boston, “Cracklin” Rosaire Paiement put his fist down. The swashbuckling forward scored a hat trick, including the game-winner in the last minute of play, in a 5-4 Canucks upset over the defending champs. Orr was on the ice for close to 40 minutes in the loss.

#38 - Hanlon hammers Habs

November 18, 1979

The pride of Brandon, Manitoba, Glen “The Franchise” Hanlon, is best remembered as the goaltender who allowed Wayne Gretzky’s first NHL goal, but Canucks fans conjure up a different memory of the southpaw. Hanlon’s quick hands and acrobatic style helped end a baffling streak of 21 consecutive home losses to the Montreal Canadiens with an all-star effort in a 5-2 win, the Canucks first against the Canadiens at the Pacific Coliseum. Although Vancouver’s record against Montreal improved marginally to 2-35-7, the historic victory proved the Canucks belonged in the same rink as the storied Habs, a lights out team that included Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt and Jacques Lemaire.

#37 - Longest. Road trip. Ever.

January 30 – March 10, 2010

To accommodate men’s hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Canucks were sent packing as they embarked on the longest road trip in NHL history, a 14-game, 13-city, 42-day voyage that had them travel 20,745 kilometers. It began with an 18-day, eight-game stretch leading into the Olympic break and ended with six more games in nine days. The make or break jaunt ended with the Canucks winning eight games and picking up points in nine; all things considered, it was quite the feat. The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly erasing a 3-0 deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 at Air Canada Centre.

#36 - Overcoming the odds

April 15, 1975

Vancouver’s first ever playoff win was a momentous affair and although it was truly a team win, Gary and Garry stole the show. Gary "Suitcase" Smith, the Canucks tender for game 2 of the best-of-seven quarter-final series, which Vancouver trailed 1-0, allowed only a single goal in a 2-1 Canucks win to even the series at 1-1. The game was setting up for a lengthy overtime before Garry Monahan, the NHL’s first-ever draft choice, scored the game-winner at 13:46 of the third period. The goal was the most talked about of Monahan’s career, while the win surprised everyone, including Las Vegas oddsmakers who had the Canucks listed as 50-to-1 long shots to win even a single game in the series.

#35 - Smyl sets the tone

April 7, 1982

The road to Vancouver’s first Stanley Cup appearance started at home against the Calgary Flames and Canucks captain Stan Smyl sent a message early that Calgary was in for a beat down. A mere eight seconds into the first period of Game 1, Smyl and Thomas Gradin were on the attack deep in Flames territory. As Smyl remembers it: “We dumped the puck into their end and I went in and hit their D. The puck came around and out to Gradin, who set me up for a semi-break.” What move did Smyl use on Calgary goaltender Pat Riggin to give the Canucks an early lead? “I don’t remember, I think I just closed my eyes.” Vancouver won the game 5-3 and swept the series 3-0.

#34 - Wilkins makes history

October 9, 1970

Fans who dished out $6.50 a ticket to watch the Canucks make their NHL debut held their breath in anticipation of Vancouver’s first goal and through 40 minutes, they were blue in the face. The Canucks finally achieved the impossible when defenceman Barry Wilkins scored the first goal in franchise history 2:14 into the third period. Vancouver lost the game to Los Angeles 3-1 thanks to two goals from Kings forward Bob Berry. To date, the Canucks have scored 9,863 regular season goals in 3,116 games played.

#33 - One for the win column

October 11, 1970

The Canucks struck out in their first attempt at franchise win #1, but two nights after losing to the Los Angeles Kings 3-1, Vancouver thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. For 50 minutes, as coach Hal Laycoe put it, the Canucks were “painting a masterpiece,” unfortunately after building up a 5-0 lead in the third period, the Leafs stormed back and made things interesting. Those at the Pacific Coliseum were saved from witnessing the first comeback loss in franchise history as Vancouver held on to improve to 1-1. Orland Kurtenbach, Danny Johnson, Wayne Maki (2) and Andre Bourdrias scored for Vancouver.

#32 - Seventh heaven

February 29, 1984

Patrik Sundstrom had his best season with the Canucks in 1983-84 picking up 38 goals and 53 assists for 91 points in 78 games, and he could have easily eclipsed those career best numbers with more memorable showings like he had versus the Pittsburgh Penguins on the rarest day in four years. Sundstrom took advantage of a leap year day to dominate the Pens to the tune of seven points in a 9-5 Canucks win; the Swedish forward tallied a goal and six assists in the monster performance and still holds Vancouver’s franchise records for assists and points in a game.

#31 - Advancing to the Final - Part 1

May 6, 1982

Throughout the Smythe Division Semi-Final and Final, the Canucks lost only one game as they made quick work of the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. The Chicago Blackhawks could only steal a game off the red hot Canucks in the Campbell Conference Championship; Vancouver captured the series with a 6-2 win in the Windy City to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Celebrate good times, come on! - you said it Kool & The Gang. The party lasted two days before the Canucks fell to the New York Islanders in four games in the Cup Final.