Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 06/22/08 at 01:10 PM ET
The New Twins
Jeff Paterson, the Canucks Insider, wrote an adoring essay on the Canucks first two draft picks, Cody Hodgson and Yann Sauvé. They also happen to share the same birthday: February 18th, 1990.*
Random trivia on Paterson’s new boys: Hodgson likes to think of himself as Sidney Crosby, has spent most of the last 5 years playing for a coach named “Titanic”, and has a thing for Madonna; And as to why Sauvé was picked, I’m guessing the fact that his favorite book is “Moneyball” probably didn’t hurt. (Mike Gillis is also a big fan, and geez… how many 18 year old jocks read books on statistical models and sports team management?)
The Canucks did draft a few other players this weekend: Mats Froshaug (Norwegian) and Morgan Clark (Canadian) and Prab Rai (Canadian).
Froshaug has spent his junior career being tossed around the leagues of Sweden and his name is “Mats”... so perhaps we should just consider him another de facto Swede to make things easier. And noted in Paterson’s article, Clark happens to be the son of Canucks goaltending consultant, Ian Clark. (Note: Sean isn’t happy about this pick).
But I think Prab Rai (whose full name is actually “Prabhraj” according to Raj at Blog Trot) is an interesting draft choice. Though he’s not the first Indian to be drafted, he’s one of very few over the years. On that, something that Patrick Bell—a commenter on Raj’s site—stood out to me:
I work at Khalsa school in Surrey…the kids are biggest Canuck fans ever. The fact that a Punjabi guy was drafted by the nucks is huge…some of the kids were asking me when a punjabi guy would be playing in the NHL. I told them it was only a matter of time since it takes time and a few generations to get the kids playing the game and development…
That makes a lot of sense and reminds us that we’ll probably see even more racial diversity in the NHL as generations of immigrants take to the sport and adopt the game into their own cultural framework.
As Stuart Hunter writes in The Province, Prab Rai “comes to his athleticism honestly”:
...his dad Bubby won gold at the Pan-Am Games with Canada’s field hockey team and competed in the 1984 Olympics. His brother, Jas, was a teammate with the junior B Ridge Meadows Flames a few years ago and has recently joined the SFU Clan hockey team.
Rai himself is open to being a role model to other kids of South Asian ancestry, and has a pretty good attitude—and experiences—on the issues of race in hockey.
He agreed there is no place for racism at the rink.
“No, I didn’t see it when I was growing up, but I wasn’t always the only brown kid on my team,” Rai said. “I didn’t have any problems in the WHL—my motto is the best way to get back at people is on the scoreboard.”
Works for me!
One of the reasons I find his selection fascinating is that I, too, am first generation Canadian, born into a family that had adopted hockey as their passion upon landing in Canada. (Although it should be noted they were/are all Habs, Nordiques and Oilers fans. a.k.a. just a buncha freaks…)
So, to the Draft Class of 2008: Welcome to the Canucks!
*I’m finding it a bit disturbing that players born in 1990 are old enough to play in the NHL—time to start lying about my age. I’m 25.
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About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]