by Patrick Williams
Several details for the Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL club in Abbotsford, B.C., are still to come, but their top affiliate certainly will have star power.
The Canucks announced this week that long-time stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin have joined the organization’s hockey operations department. A portion of the twins’ new portfolio will include working with Abbotsford. The Canucks announced in May that they are bringing their AHL affiliate close to home, starting with the 2021-22 season.
“Henrik and Daniel’s hockey intellect and experience is exceptional,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a written statement. “We’ve had an open line of communication since they retired as players. They are students of the game, eager to learn, who will make valuable contributions and strengthen our staff. We are very pleased to add their knowledge and passion for the game and have them begin the next stage of their careers with us.”
The Sedins retired following the 2017-18 campaign with 17 seasons apiece in Vancouver. Henrik holds franchise records in games (1,330), assists (830), and points (1,070); Daniel owns Vancouver’s all-time marks in goals (393), among several other team records. They met with the media on Wednesday to discuss their new role with Vancouver, and both said that they put in considerable thought into the decision to move into the demanding world of management.
“We didn’t take this this lightly, and we want to come in and do a good job the best we can,” Henrik said.
Said Daniel, “To come into this role, I think you need to know what it’s all about. And we want to come in and be able to do a good job. I think this timing is perfect for us. When we were done playing, I think that we needed time with our families to wind down and do all the other things in life, and now we’re ready to come back and work hard.”
The AHL’s move into Abbotsford will station Canucks prospects just an hour away from downtown Vancouver, which will allow plenty of time with the organization’s prospects. Strengthening the organizational culture will be a priority in Abbotsford, and the Sedins plan to emphasize that area of development.
“We’ve been on good teams,” Henrik started. “I think, number one, to create a winning organization is that you create the right culture. And that’s something that we truly believed in when we played and what we had on good teams.”
“It starts with your top players. You come in the best shape you can. You train the right way. You do the right things in practice. And you lead the way on the ice when it comes to games. From there, it’s going to trickle down, and the young guys that come into the team, they’re going to see that, and they’re going to start doing the right things right away.”
Daniel added, “I think we’re excited to work with Abbotsford as well. I think practice is a big part of becoming a successful player and a team. I think practice habits, all those kind of things, [they are] going to transfer into becoming a good player in the end. If we can be there and watch and talk to those guys, too, I think we’ll be happy to do that.”
“I think it’s great that [the affiliate will be] in Abbotsford. I think it’s close. It’s easy for us and management and coaches to drive down and watch those players. So that I think is a perfect solution in those regards. For us to be able to drive down and watch those guys practice and play games. it’s going to be good for us.”
Patrick Williams has been on the American Hockey League beat for nearly two decades for outlets including NHL.com, Sportsnet, TSN, The Hockey News, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio and SLAM! Sports. He is currently the co-host of the Around the A Podcast.
Patrick was the recipient of the AHL’s James H. Ellery Memorial Award for his outstanding coverage of the league in 2016.