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Troy Stecher has played for the Vancouver Canucks for four seasons, but he’s been part of Canuck Nation for much longer than that.
The Richmond native is finally getting his first taste of Stanley Cup playoff hockey and that has him excited, as it would for any player. But for Stecher, playing playoff hockey in a Canucks jersey means something extra.
After all, this is a player that attributed part of his success playing with Alex Edler earlier this season to the fact he’s watched him play his “whole life.”
Stecher on part of the reason why he plays so well with Edler: “I’ve watched him play my whole life” #Canucks
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) December 24, 2019
A pending restricted free agent, Stecher’s future in Vancouver is uncertain beyond this season. A depth defenceman, the Canucks are about to face a cap crunch and Stecher, who will require at least a $2.325 million qualifying offer, could be let go.
So he really wants to make this year count.
“I’m aware of my situation, I understand that my contract is up at the end of the year, so who knows what’s going to happen,” Stecher said during Tuesday’s media conference. “I haven’t been in the playoffs yet for three years, so I’m excited to be here now. But I’m not excited just to be here and take part, I actually kind of want to take over and help this team win.”
There have been a lot of BC boys put on a Canucks jersey over the years, but few appear to truly bleed blue and green like Stecher. This is a player that’s keenly aware of Canucks history, because like the fans in Vancouver, he’s lived it.
“I wasn’t on the team, but I felt the pain in  so it would be nice to win for Eddy and Tanny [Edler and Tanev]; they’ve been here a long time. They’ve gone through a lot of challenges… It’s a great opportunity for us, so I think the main thing for us is that we’re playing for each other.”
I mean, who else on this team would reference 2011 right now? Probably not even the two holdovers, Edler and Tanev, would. Stecher was 17 years old in 2011, playing junior hockey in Penticton.
So as the Canucks prepare to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, for Stecher, it’s been a long time coming.
“We’re ready to play and we don’t care who we’re playing. We’ve worked hard to get to this point and we’re excited for the challenges that we face.”
Game 1 of the Canucks-Blues series is set for 7:30 pm PT. It’s the first Stanley Cup playoff game for Vancouver since 2015.