On the ice, Daniel and Henrik Sedin were unparalleled. No one could do what they did: making passes that seemed impossible, bewildering defencemen with the cycle, and handing each other and their teammates wide open nets for tap-in goals.
The Sedins are first and second in scoring on the Canucks, with each cracking 1,000 career points while playing their entire 18-year careers in Vancouver. The pair are sure-fire Hall-of-Famers for their contributions on the ice.
More importantly, however, the Sedins are good people. They proved that again and again throughout their careers in ways both quiet and loud. They were gracious with their time and money, giving plenty of both to the community in Vancouver.
The contribution that made headlines was their $1.5 million donation to B.C. Children's Hospital, a donation that they initially wanted to make anonymously. They only made it public when the hospital's fundraisers requested they do, believing that it would inspire others.
"People from all over the province started sending in cheques of $22 and $33," said B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation president Teri Nicholas, "some of them with little notes saying, ‘I can’t give as much as the Sedins, but I can give something.’”
Beyond that major donation, however, the Sedins gave countless gifts of their time and company to children at the hospital, Canucks Place Children's Hospice, the YWCA and the Canucks Autism Network. It's these latter contributions that get highlighted in an emotional commercial from Budweiser Canada honouring the retirement of the Sedins' numbers.
The commercial starts in a fairly ordinary way, with the likes of Stan Smyl, John Shorthouse, and current Canucks Jacob Markstrom and Bo Horvat speaking about the Sedins' play on the ice and their leadership in the room. William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs even steps in to talk about how watching the Sedins made him wish he could play on the same team with his brother, Alex, in the NHL.
He didn't say Alex's name, so he should be able to avoid a fine for tampering by talking about a player signed to another team.
The commercial takes a turn for the emotional, however, a minute in. Debbie Butt of Canuck Place Hospice speaks up, saying, "What they've done off the ice is just as important."
Then we hear from parents of patients at Canuck Place Hospice.
For those unaware, Canuck Place Hospice provides care for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families: "Our team of physicians, nurses, counsellors, therapists, staff, and volunteers provide medical respite care, pain and symptom management, art, music, and recreation therapy, end-of-life care, grief, loss, and bereavement counselling. All at no cost."
Helping found and fund Canuck Place Hospice is one of the most important contributions the Canucks have made to the city of Vancouver. And the Sedins spent countless hours visiting children and families there. You can see just how impactful those visits really were as the parents speak about the importance of their visits to their children and to their lasting memories of their children.
So, when you see those families raising the Sedins' numbers — 22 and 33 — in their homes, it's hard to hold back the tears.
Budweiser is right: the Sedins deserve to have their numbers raised in more than just Rogers Arena. They should be raised across Vancouver, across B.C., everywhere Canucks fans live and work. Is it too cheesy to say we should raise their numbers in our hearts? It probably is, but that commercial has me feeling cheesy.
The Sedins’ will see their jersey numbers officially retired on Wednesday, Feb. 12, right before the Canucks’ faceoff against the Chicago Blackhawks.