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Why The Canucks Should Not Retire Pavel Bure’s Number

June 28, 2012

Yesterday, I had an argument with someone about former Vancouver Canuck, Pavel Bure, who was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame.  He believes that Pavel Bure should have his number retired by the Canucks, as he is one of the, if not the best player that has ever played in a Canucks uniform. While I cannot deny Pavel Bure’s exceptional talent, or the fact that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, I do not believe the Canucks should retire his number.

English: Pavel Bure, an NHL ice hockey player,...

English: Pavel Bure, an NHL ice hockey player, playing for the Vancouver Canucks at a game in Vancouver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my opinion, getting your number retired by an organization is an honor that goes beyond the level of skill and statistics. It goes beyond bringing excitement to the crowd and scoring highlight-reel goals. Pavel Bure did all these things, but he lacked something that other honored Canucks have, and that’s having a true respect for the city, the organization and most importantly, the fans. He did not have the heart of a Canuck.

Trevor Linden was not as talented as Pavel Bure. He didn’t put up the same kind of numbers and he didn’t make fans jump out of their seats on a nightly basis. However, Linden loved the city of Vancouver and the fans, and he respected the organization. He was a leader on and off the ice. He was the type of player that went out of his way to sign autographs with fans, visit with sick children, and do other various things to help make Vancouver a better place. Even after retirement, he still does all these things. He was devastated when he was initially traded from the Canucks and delighted when he was able to return years later. His dedication to the Canucks continues and will never be forgotten. Trevor Linden is, and always will be, a Canuck.  

While not every player needs to emulate Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure did not share his love for the city or the team. I will always respect Pavel Bure for what he did during his time in Vancouver. He sold out games, he made more people Canuck fans, and he brought new life to the game. However, I just don’t understand how any Canuck fan would want his number retired. He was not the leader he could have been, and he caused drama at times. He demanded a trade from the Canucks, and when they did not trade him immediately, he missed part of the season because he would rather not play in the NHL than play for the Canucks. In my mind, that is not a true Canuck.

This is just my opinion. I just don’t think it is right that a player who left on such poor terms should have their number retired. I also don’t believe that he would care if the Canucks retired his number. Yes, he was an amazing player. Yes, he brought fans to the stands.  In the end however, he disrespected the Canucks organization and its fans. How could you possibly honor a player like that?

If the Canucks organization should decide to honor Pavel Bure and retire his number, then as a fan, I will respect their decision and applaud when #10 is raised. Until then however, I will continue to believe that it should never happen.


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