Canucks from the 1994 Stanley Cup game, as well as current centre Mike Santorelli, surprised Strawberry Hill Elementary School students who were skating at Robson Square during a field trip on Tuesday afternoon.
Jyrki Lumme, who played defence, Cliff Ronning, centre, and Kirk McLean, goaltender, laced up their skates and made their way to the ice to the great delight of the Grades 2, 3 and 4 students, whose interest was piqued by Fin the orca’s initial appearance a few minutes before 1:30.
(Canucks centre Mike Santorelli making appearance at the Robson Square skating event on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Fin, the official mascot of the Vancouver Canucks, surprised fans at Tuesday’s skating event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Fin, the official mascot of the Vancouver Canucks, signing autographs for Strawberry Hill Elementary students on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Robson Square. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Kirk McLean, 1994 goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks, spends time with kids on the ice at Robson Square on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Photo: A Strawberry Hill Elementary student learning how to skate at Robson Square on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Excited fans surround Fin the orca on ice at Robson Square on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 25. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
(Players from the 1994 Vancouver Canucks team Jyrki Lumme, Cliff Ronning and Kirk McLean gather for a photo with Strawberry Hill Elementary students at Robson Square on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Photo: Bronwyn Scott.)
Mike Santorelli watched from the sidelines, signing autographs and delighting fans young and old. His arm in a sling from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, an injury incurred in a January game, he was unable to skate and won’t be playing for the next several months.
But at Tuesday’s event he remained in good spirits.
“It was good seeing all the kids, it seemed like they had fun,” he said. “We try to get out as much as we can, and I think it’s good to do stuff like that.”
The event was part of the 2014 Tim Horton’s NHL Heritage Classic celebrations, and as an added bonus the students were each given tickets to Sunday’s Canucks versus Ottawa Senators Heritage Classic Game at B.C. Place.
For the kids it was a once in a lifetime chance to meet their hockey heroes, and a valuable day from an educational standpoint also.
“Exposure to the NHL world, to skating, to history of Canucks in Vancouver, and for them it’s a really special experience because our kids are not regular Canucks game attenders . . . plus for a lot of them, this is only their second or third time skating ever,” said Lesley Ratzlaff, Grade 4 teacher.
Skating is really the only exercise Lumme enjoys, and the 47-year-old usually laces up two to three times each week, but a recent knee injury has prevented him from going lately, he said.
Nonetheless, he was happily cruising around the ice at Robson Square, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.
“It’s a great little rink and the sun is shining, and you know, a perfect day, handing out tickets,” said Lumme, who can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the 1994 Stanley Cup run.
“I hope to see the Canucks in the finals soon, but I don’t want to see any riots. That just shouldn’t happen.”
The March 2nd game will be the first time hockey has been played at B.C. Place. To create the arena 20,000 gallons of water will be sprayed in a fine mist to create the best possible ice surface, according to nhl.com