He stood between the Sedin twins on the blueline.
Henrik asked him his name, Daniel asked him what team he played for.
In the corridor, general manager Mike Gillis gave him a smile and a nod. There was even a fist bump from his favourite player, defenceman Kevin Bieksa.
So, yes, Armstrong’s Devin Jameson’s NHL dream did come true.
Jameson, nine, a Grade 4 student in Mrs. Daughtry’s class at Highland Park Elementary, was the recent winner of the Vancouver Canucks-Save On Foods-B.C. Hockey’s Every Kid’s Dream contest, where one minor hockey player in B.C. between the ages of eight and 13 gets to be in the Canucks starting lineup.
“I came home from dryland training on the Monday before the game and my mom (Lisa) said she had some news for me,” said Jameson, a fifth-year hockey player who is a defenceman with the North Okanagan Knights atom development team.
“She said the NHL phoned and asked if I wanted to skate with the Canucks. At first I didn’t really know what to think but it started to sink in pretty quick.”
At every Canucks home game, one player has the chance to stand for the singing of O Canada with the starting lineup.
So, joined by mom, dad Lee and brother Jared, Devin headed off to Rogers Arena for the Canucks’ Nov. 23 game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks found tickets for Jared and Lisa for the sold-out contest, while Lee accompanied Devin to the dressing rooms at Rogers Arena.
“We were met by a guy named Aaron and he escorted us to our own personal locker room which had leather couches, and he told Devin what he was allowed to do and what he was not allowed to do on the ice,” said Lee.
What Devin could do was skate around the ice with the starting lineup before the anthem, but he was not allowed to skate in the crease or behind the net.
“I told him to stick a puck in his pants, take it out and take a shot on (Canucks goalie Roberto) Luongo,” laughed Lisa.
“They did a dry run with him beforehand and we were treated like VIPs. It was perfect,” said Lee.
An hour before the game, Jameson dressed in his North Okanagan Knights uniform and gear, and then he and Jared were allowed to go to the Olympia tunnel to watch the Canucks’ pre-game warmup. Both appeared on the arena’s Jumbotron scoreboard over centre ice.
Prior to heading out onto the ice, Jameson had a chance to talk with one of the referees for the game, Vernon native Tom Kowal.
“He was great,” said Jameson. “He asked me a lot of questions and wished me luck.”
Rogers Arena, as is the custom at a Canucks home game, became dark, and then Jameson and the starting lineup rushed onto the ice.
He was introduced to the sell-out crowd by longtime Canucks public address announcer John Ashbridge.
“It was pretty dark, there were a lot of people and I didn’t want to trip or fall (he didn’t),” said Jameson. “I don’t know how many laps I did.”
Jameson took his place on the blueline between the Sedins, and told Canucks players Zack Kassian and Dan Hamhuis to have a great game.
When the anthem was over, Jameson – wearing his mom’s Ryan Kesler Canucks jersey – headed to the seats provided by the Canucks with his dad to watch his first-ever live NHL game.
“They were in the nosebleeds,” said Devin of the tickets.
“They were fine,” added Lee.
It took nine seconds in the third period for the Blackhawks to put a bit of a damper on the night. Chicago scored twice in nine seconds to post a 2-1 win.
“One of the goals was a real garbage goal,” said Jameson.
While his favourite team may have lost, the experience was something to cherish.
“It was awesome,” said Jameson.
His mom is somewhat of a good luck charm when it comes to this contest.
It was Lisa who entered Jameson’s teammate from last season, goalie Thomas Burton, in the same contest and Burton was chosen to skate with the Canucks before a game March 5 against the San Jose Sharks.