Canucks strive for Stanley

Holy Maxim Lapierre, the Vancouver Canucks are one win away from claiming their first Stanley Cup.

Yes, it could come Monday night in Boston, but will most likely occur in Game 7 Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

And when it does, those non-Canucks fans who love to make fun of Canucks supporters by mentioning the 1915 Stanley Cup champion Vancouver Millionaires, will have to shuddup.

The Millionaires have been getting loads of press these days as the Vancouver media, weary of finding new story angles, have delved into the team’s past.

For Vernon’s Gordon Neil Stanley Davidson, the Millionaires’ Cup run 96 years ago, oozes of fabulous family tree history.

Barney Stanley (my mom’s dad) a Hall of Famer, scored four goals and an assist in the final game of the Stanley Cup against the Sens in 1915,” said Davidson, whose late father, Neil, was a former Vernon mayor and Good Citizen. “He was the highest scorer in the series, behind Cyclone Taylor. He just joined the team before the finals.

Davidson said his grandfather went on to be general manager/coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, and even donned his skates one game when a player was injured.

“I remember my grandfather had a wicked wrist shot, even in his 70s, when he taught me how to raise the puck.

He talked his son Don Stanley (StanTec architecture/engineering company) out of playing for the Bruins (who drafted him) and getting a Phd in engineering at Harvard instead. But he did play for the Edmonton Monarchs when they won the World Hockey championships in the ’50s.

Stanley, says Davidson, was very good friends with Dave Mackay of Vernon who was the City engineer in the 1960s after playing for Chicago, and later, the senior Vernon Canadians.

“My mother’s cousin, Allan Stanley, played for the Leafs in the 1960s and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

Gordon’s mom, Isabel Stanley, grew up in Edmonton and met Neil while in law school. They were both attending he University of Alberta, meeting when they were both lead characters (lovers) in a university operata.

“Barney eventually coached several junior teams in Edmonton. One of Barney’s other grandsons from Edmonton was captain of the Harvard hockey team. And then there was me…I shamed (not really) the family by becoming one of Vernon’s three male figure skaters in the ’60s. I took lots of crap from the hockey players, but then when I started hockey, I could literally skate circles around them, which was sweet.”

Don Stanley, meanwhile, founded Stantec which has offices all around North America. The Vancouver office is right across the street from Rogers Arena. Throughout the Stanley Cup final series, Stantec employees in Vancouver and Boston are encouraged to donate $1 for every day they show up at work wearing their team’s jersey or logo.

For the record, the Vancouver Millionaires franchise had its origins in Renfrew, Ont. in 1909, on a team then known as the Creamery Kings of the National Hockey Association.

The Ambrose O’Brien owned club was nicknamed the Millionaires after it began paying salaries between $3,500 and $5,200 to stars such as the Patrick brothers, Fred (Cyclone) Taylor and Newsy Lalonde.

A Canuck win Monday or Wednesday will of course mean millions to the city of Vancouver and the Canuck ownership.

Pederson talks hockey

NESN hockey analyst Barry Pederson, a Bruins 100-pointman sent to Vancouver in the Cam Neely/Glen Wesley deal, said inserting Shawn Thornton into the starting lineup in Boston was important to the Bruins turning the Stanley Cup finals around, noting that playing 60 minutes of physical hockey was essential.

“The Bruins have got to do what they have not done in the third periods of both games,” said Pederson, a superstar centre with the BCJHL Nanaimo Clippers and WHL Victoria Cougars.

“When you listen to the coach, what he’s most frustrated about is both of those games they had an opportunity to win, and they lost non-Bruin-like, which was to sit back and allow the opponent to take the game to you.”

Pederson said the defence had to tighten up in support of Tim Thomas and stop allowing outnumbered situations.

Zdeno Chara is the single best shut-down defenceman in the National Hockey League,” said Pederson. “So I want that matchup against the (Daniel and Henrik) Sedin twins. I know that (Vancouver coach) Alain Vigneault is going to be coming after every powerplay that Vancouver kills off, the first guys that are going to be thrown out there are the Sedin twins. I want to make sure that my top pair is fresh.”

Maritimers Bruin backers

Canadians who live in the Maritimes love the Bruins and the Red Sox. My brother Glenn and I used to listen to Red Sox games on the radio late at night during summers in Nova Scotia where our father was attending university. I imagine the Maritimers hear more about the Bruins than the Leafs or Habs.

According to Canadian Press, before each game, Nova Scotia Transport Minister Bill Estabrooks drops his front false teeth in his Bruins beer mug – part of his pre-game ritual in a den crammed with autographed player photographs that go back four decades.

And Halifax sends Boston a Christmas tree each year to thank the city for its help in 1917 when a munitions explosion in the harbour destroyed much of Nova Scotia’s capital.

Said CP: “Pretty sure Seattle’s never done anything like that for Vancouver. Too busy drinking coffee and hucking fish around.”

Ference bought jacket

By now, you’ve seen that old-school Bruins jacket which is making its way around the locker room, awarded to the player of the game by teammates every night.

Brad Ference of the Bruins bought the coat on eBay. Ference works out at Fitness West while spending summers in Vernon with his wife, Krista Bradford, a retired pro snowboarder from here. It was a nice touch by injured Nathan Horton to pass off the jacket to his replacement, Rich Peverley.