The Vancouver Canucks alumni and friends. (File photo)

Canucks alumnus looks forward to charity game in Nanaimo

Chris Higgins reminisces about 2011 playoff run to the Stanley Cup finals

Players from some of the best Vancouver Canucks teams will be taking to the ice for charity at Frank Crane Arena this weekend.

Chris Higgins, a winger from the 2011 President’s Trophy-winning, Stanley Cup runner-up team will suit up with Canucks alumni during the the Hockey 4 Food fundraiser game this Sunday, March 10, taking on a Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank team.

Higgins said he is just getting back into hockey and has fond memories of spring 2011. Big wins in that fabled playoff run included a Game 5 overtime victory in the conference finals against the San Jose Sharks and a first-round Game 7 OT win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Having suffered playoff losses to Chicago the previous two post-seasons and blown a 3-0 first-round series lead in 2011, the win meant a lot to Vancouver. While Higgins was acquired at the trade deadline, he knew how gratifying it was when Alex Burrows popped in the OT winner.

“I’d come onto the team late into that rivalry,” Higgins told the News Bulletin. “I’d known that they had a thing going … That series was crazy. We went up and then they tied it up and we were up in the last game 1-0 and they tied it up with a minute left when we were on the power play and then Burrows scored pretty early on. So it was definitely one of the coolest moments in my career by far.”

RELATED: Canucks alumni will play for Loaves and Fishes in Nanaimo

Another memorable moment was the conference final Game 5 clincher from Kevin Bieksa, which punched Vancouver’s ticket to the 2011 Stanley Cup final. The puck took a strange bounce before Bieksa scored.

“I was just as surprised as anybody watching that game to see that thing pop up into the middle and then it seemed like it took forever to get into the net,” said Higgins. “I knew [Bieksa] was probably the only one that knew where it was and we saw it go in and he went crazy. I think I was the first person to reach him on the ice and in the back of my mind, I keep thinking this probably isn’t going to count. How does this happen? But man, that was definitely a cool feeling that we’re going to the Stanley Cup finals.”

As for the 4-3 series win by the Boston Bruins in the Cup finals, Higgins said it was home-ice advantage, save for Game 7.

“It’s kind of a tale of two teams I guess,” said Higgins. “All the games at home we took except for the last one and they took all their games at home. They blew us out a couple of times at home and I just think we needed a break in Game 7. We had some opportunities early, but Tim Thomas (Bruins goalie) made some big saves and then they scored a couple of short-handed goals and it just wasn’t our night.”

Puck drops for the Loaves and Fishes charity game at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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