Finn met Fin at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Three-year-old Finn Peereboom, in a little Vancouver Canucks jersey, hugged his stuffed toy Fin tightly as he met the real deal Canucks mascot as part of a throng of more than 5,000 who watched the NHL team’s scrimmage game Saturday morning at the Memorial Centre.
Dad Chris Peereboom, in an NHL all-star game jersey of Vancouver captain Quinn Hughes, is a lifelong supporter of the Canucks. “I want to start this guy [son Finn] off nice and young as a Canucks fan,” quipped Chris Peereboom.
Memorial Centre was awash in Canucks jerseys of current and past players to show the unifying effect a team can have across a country, such as with the Blue Jays in baseball and Raptors in basketball, or across a province such as the Canucks in hockey. Brothers Aidan, Noah and Isaac King were among the many decked out in Canucks jerseys along with friend Everett Munro. Six-year-old Noah King was wearing an Elias Pettersson jersey but said his favourite player is Brock Boeser.
Nolan Brown, who plays U-18 hockey in Victoria, was also clad in a blue Canucks jersey and also named Boeser as his favourite player. The fans watched Team Blue beat Team White 3-1 on the third day of the four-day Canucks training camp in Victoria, which concludes today with sessions at 10 a.m. and noon.
“The fans here have been great,” said Canucks forward Conor Garland, who scored for Team Blue.
They crowded around the players’ entrance to the ice and around the team bus behind the arena clamoring to get their jerseys, sticks and other memorabilia signed by their idols.
“To see the kids is great when you come off the ice. They are energetic. They wait outside the bus. It’s pretty cool to see. It’s nice to travel here,” said Garland.
Defenceman Matt Irwin of Brentwood Bay grew up a Canucks fan before an NHL career that led him through San Jose, Nashville, Buffalo and Washington before signing over the summer with the Canucks at age 35. Irwin, the former Peninsula youth hockey player and Nanaimo Clippers junior, was chosen by the Canucks to address the crowd following the scrimmage: “It’s incredible. You always dream of playing for your hometown team. This is special for me.”
The players closed the scrimmage by tossing T-shirts over the glass to the fans while Fin came onto the ice waving a giant Canucks flag.
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