They lined up by the dozens, jerseys, pucks and posters in hand, waiting for former Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean to put pen to property.
McLean was at Fairway Market in Nanaimo North Town Centre for a two-hour autograph session with diehard fans eager to meet the man who backstopped the Canucks to their last run to the Stanley Cup final in 1994.
McLean made appearances in Nanaimo and Victoria this week as part of a promotion for the grocery chain, drawing hundreds of fans.
“It’s fun to see Kirk McLean come down,” said Kelly McKeever. “I saw the whole playoff run back in ’94. Unfortunately I can’t be in Vancouver to see this playoff run, but seeing him up front in person, it just brings back part of the excitement here.”
McKeever’s wife Amy, who wore a Canucks jersey matching her husband’s and juggled a puck, trading card and autographed poster for their son as she snapped photos, said she was not a big hockey fan prior to meeting her husband.
“But now I’m a big Canucks fan,” she said.
Monica Mundy, brought her son Ryan, 5, and a jersey signed by the team’s former members.
“It’s incredible,” Mundy said. “I’ve had the chance to meet many other players from that team, but never him. That was the one on my jersey that I was missing.”
Not all fans brought hockey paraphernalia.
Aaron Sommerfeld stood in line waiting to have McLean sign his early 1970s-vintage Eko acoustic guitar – Sommerfeld’s most prized possession.
“I didn’t even know [McLean was here],” Sommerfeld said. “I was just actually picking up some beer and we were on our way back and my girlfriend said, ‘oh yeah, what’s his name, McLean is here’. So we went home, grabbed the guitar, dashed back here and now I’m standing in line.”
Randy Richter, store manager, said he was surprised at the number of fans who turned out and it was good way to promote the new store which opened in April.
“It’s a good way to kick the store off,” Richter said.