I'm not afraid to admit that I didn't know who you were when the Canucks signed you last summer. I did some research and was excited to see what you could do for the team this season. Unlike my mom, who 4 months after you signed asked when the Canucks acquired you, I noticed your impact from the start. I've always marvelled at how low you manage to get when taking a face off. Specially watching game day skates and you practising it, I've often wondered if I could get into that position without my fat butt bursting through my pants. (Kind of like the way I wondered and then had to see if it was possible to bend the way Keith Ballard's leg did when he had his injury In January, I'm not always the sharpest skate on the ice) I'm not going to try it, I value my pants.
It saddens me that even after players like Bieksa, Torres, Salo and Glass saw you get injured and are seeing the impact it's having on you, that none have decided to wear a visor. I guess its their own decision, as they've seen what can happen, they know the impact it can have on not only their ability to be able to continue their career, but everything outside it as well. Although, I guess really I'm torn on the whole debate on whether visors should be mandatory, I do understand the comfort level side and all that. NHL players are grown men and can make their own decisions regarding things that may impact their own and their families lives. When Ohlund had his eye injury, I was young and didn't quite look at it the same way I do now that I have my own family to worry about and know how things can effect my children. I look at thing differently now.
You've had a great career between 5 different NHL teams and representing Canada 3 times in the past 12 years. I really hope we get to see more of you. You've had a career most boys (and some men) dream of but never achieve. Your work off ice is something to be very proud of, I love that part of the reason you chose Vancouver was because of how active the organization is in the community. I think its amazing some of the things you have said, and done for the community in your short time in Vancouver, one being becoming a spokesperson for the Canucks Autism Network. The story I've heard Mike Gillis tell about seeing you in a restaurant in New York and quietly sneaking back after everyone had left to give a homeless person outside the restaurant a few dollars, just shows the kind of person you are. I will admit I didn't know exactly how involved you were in the community until I started to write this and was looking for information, and now I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as I read all the stories.
I don't know if your injury will heal and allow you to play again, but of course I hope it will. Nobody deserves to have their career cut short like that, definitely not a person like you. If you are unable to return, I hope you realize what an amazing career you've had on and off the ice and I'm sure the off ice contributions will continue, because from what I've read you're that kind of guy. If the Canucks go onto win the Stanley Cup this year like every Canucks fan is hoping, I hope you realize, and are proud of, what a big roll you played in the team being where it is today. I hope the Canucks can do it for you, Manny.