Dave MacIntosh, his son, Steve, and three of Steve’s buddies came up to Green Lake to play hockey about eight years ago and they have been clearing off a small rink to play shinny every Christmas holidays since.
As the years went by, the group of players grew and now there is enough for two teams to play a real game. Each year, there are new things added to the rink, including backdrops, boards, lighting, benches and score boards.
It is a closed, by-invitation-only gathering. There is no set weekend and many of them play hockey together all year long on the Coast.
A couple of these men, Shawn Finn and Brian Ceci, are videographers and two years ago they put together a video, Make Hockey Happen, and last year they made a sequel, Make Hockey Happen: Open Ice. Both of them can be seen on YouTube.
They sent a copy of these videos to the Vancouver Canucks organization, which wrote an article about them and placed the videos on the front page of the Canucks website for a while.
Devon Finn, who produced the videos, attempted to entice some Canuck players to join them at the lake. After a while, the organization came up with the idea of sending four Canucks alumni from the ‘94 Stanley Cup finals to spend a day at Green Lake.
All they needed was a sponsor to cover the costs and Budweiser stepped in.
It was a chilly, foggy afternoon when the four Canucks – Kirk McLean, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych and Geoff Courtnall – and their crew arrived. They were pleasantly surprised to see the quality of the set-up.
The game started with the playing of the national anthem, continued into the wee hours of the morning and ended with O Canada.
The Canucks alumni all seemed to have a great time and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Green Lake regulars, and a memory they will never forget.
The plan was to make another video this year and play it in the Rogers Arena at each Canucks home game.
• Kirk McLean played 516 Canuck games and recorded 211 wins and 20 shutouts. His finest performances were during the ‘94 playoff run when he backstopped the Canucks in all 24 games en route to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals. On July 25, he will be inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.
• Geoff Courtnall scored 242 points in 292 games (18th place, all-time) while playing with the Canucks. Following the 1994/95 campaign, he re-signed with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent and retired in 1999 as a result of a serious concussion.
• Cliff Ronning, a Burnaby native, played four seasons in St. Louis before “coming home” to Vancouver via a seven-player trade (March 5, 1991). In five seasons with Vancouver, Ronning played 366 games, scoring 112 goals and 216 assists. He also collected 58 points in 72 playoff games, including 15 points in 24 games during Vancouver’s drive to the finals in 1994.
• Dave Babych played seven years for the Canucks during his 19 years in the NHL. During his third season with the Canucks, they advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.
After the game, both teams celebrated winning the replica Stanley Cup.