Having one’s jersey retired is among the greatest honours a professional athlete can receive, said Canuck legend Trevor Linden.
On Saturday, Markus Naslund, who captained the team from 2000 until 2008, will become the third player to have that honour bestowed on him by the Canucks.
Linden, whose sweater was retired two years ago, said the day was “very special” and one that he is reminded of when he’s watching a game and the television cameras float to his number in the rafters.
“It was a tremendous honour … It’s your place in Vancouver Canucks history.”
Naslund, 37, a native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, made his way to the team via a lopsided trade with Pittsburgh for Alexander Stojanov in 1995.
Naslund benefited greatly from the change of scenery, one that culminated in an eight-year captaincy, three campaigns of 40 goals or more, multiple all-star game appearances, and the Lester B. Pearson Trophy in 2003 for most valuable player as voted by his peers.
Linden had the opportunity to skate alongside both Naslund and Stan Smyl, whose number 12 was retired in 1991.
“They’re both guys who cared a great deal about their craft,” he said, “(They’re) family men and quality individuals.”
The ceremony honouring Naslund begins at 6:10 p.m. and will air in its entirety on CBC prior to the 7:30 p.m. puck drop.