My time at the Westender has been as tasty as a heaping plate of bacon nachos.
I was thrilled for the opportunity to write Goal Posts when it debuted in September — a weekly column on the Vancouver sports scene that was heavy on hockey but had plenty of other flavours mixed into the stew.
Last week's sudden announcement of the closure of the Westender leaves me wistful about what won’t be appearing in this space in 2018 – more Canucks coverage, of course, but also stories about local athletes at the Winter Olympics, Adam Hadwin’s progress on the PGA Tour, the makeovers of the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps, the Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians and plenty of nuggets from behind the scenes. I hope to find new homes for at least some of those ideas.
To say goodbye, here’s a look back at the great moments in local sports during the storied 14-week run of Goal Posts.
The Fancy Plane to China
The Vancouver Canucks embarked on an epic preseason road trip to play two games against the Los Angeles Kings halfway around the world. The games themselves were largely forgettable, but the photo reel from the Great Wall of China was majestic. And that aircraft!
Whitecaps Win First Playoff Game
The Vancouver Whitecaps weren’t able to live up to high expectations in 2017 but the team did deliver the franchise’s first-ever playoff win, tying a franchise record for goals in a 5-0 beatdown of the San Jose Earthquakes on October 25.
Brock Boeser Scores First Hat Trick
The road to the Canucks rebuild has had plenty of bumps, but fans are galvanized by the emergence of Brock Boeser as a scoring star.
Boeser made his first major statement on November 4 with a hat trick against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in front of a national TV audience on Hockey Night in Canada.
Boeser went on to earn rookie of the month honours in November. With two games to go before the Christmas break, he continues to produce at a point-a-game pace, leading all rookies, and his 18 goals rank him fifth in scoring in the entire NHL.
Derek Dorsett Shut Down After All-too-Brief NHL Comeback
The Canucks started their regular season on a high note with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Bo Horvat led the way offensively with two goals and the team’s shutdown line made headlines as Derek Dorsett kept MVP Connor McDavid off the scoresheet thanks to a pesky all-world shadow job.
Nearly a year after undergoing serious neck surgery, Dorsett was impactful in his return to the Canucks, scoring seven goals and adding 39 hits and 74 penalty minutes in 20 games. He was forced to step off the ice for good at age 30 when his neck and back stiffness returned in late November.
Daniel Sedin Scores 1,000th NHL Point
On January 21, Henrik Sedin made history as the first player in Canucks franchise history to hit the thousand-point mark with a goal against his old teammate Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers.
On November 30, twin brother Daniel joined him as the Canucks mounted a comeback on the road against last year’s Western Conference finalists, the Nashville Predators.
Henrik and Daniel are the first brothers in NHL history to both reach 1,000 points.
And there you have it. Going forward, I’ll continue to follow the Canucks and the World Junior Championship at HockeyBuzz, as well as digging into the business side of the game as a contributor for SportsMoney at Forbes. You can keep up with me on Twitter at @Pool88.
Thanks for reading. Farewell, mighty Westender.