It was one of the most memorable eras of the Vancouver Canucks 50+ year history.
Now, fans will get insight into this era like never before.
The first two episodes of “UNREEL: West Coast Express” is being released today. This podcast dives into the state of the Canucks after the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, and follows the story up until the Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison “West Coast Express” era of the early 2000s.
- Episode one: It was the best of times…
- Episode two: New York Minute
There will be nine episodes in total. The third episode drops on Friday, February 10th, and the following episodes will be released every Friday onwards until the series is concluded.
Long-time Vancouver sports reporter and radio personality Scott Rintoul spent the better part of a year collecting interviews from players, coaches and reporters from that era.
“It’s just a great story,” Rintoul told Daily Hive when asked about the inspiration behind the podcast.
“If you think about three guys who came from three organizations, acquired by three different general managers, and somehow wind up on the same line that becomes the best in the NHL, that in itself is a pretty compelling story.”
Aside from Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison, listeners can also expect to hear from past Canucks like the Sedin twins, former defenceman Ed Jovanovski, former general manager Brian Burke, and former head coach Marc Crawford.
Just in case you needed another endorsement…
Markus Naslund is ready for tomorrow’s launch of “UNREEL: West Coast Express”, and you can be too!
Subscribe at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, or visit https://t.co/VDqvxSQ8QI pic.twitter.com/IiWjMOATvn
— Scott Rintoul (@ScottRintoul) January 30, 2023
Those central characters tell the story of a team who rose to the spotlight because of the West Coast Express line.
“It bugs me as a sports fan that we live in a time where you’re only supposed to celebrate teams that win championships and players that win championships because the vast majority of players don’t win,” Rintoul said. “It’s almost as though those stories don’t matter to some people, and I know this one does.
The Canucks were an absolute mess in the late 1990s before the West Coast Express era, and the team’s rise to relevance is something that Rintoul documents in the podcast.
“They turned a new generation onto hockey at a time when the franchise felt dead, or dormant. The arena was half-full. That doesn’t happen [in Vancouver] anymore,” he added. “The amount of attention this team gets now is a direct result of those guys. The number of people who wanted to talk about the Canucks went up dramatically, and it will never turn back to where it was.”
Although it was a long process to put the podcast series together, Rintoul reflected fondly on the experience.
“Virtually everybody that I interviewed, the second I got them on and I mentioned “West Coast Express” and that era, they smiled because it was a fun time in their lives.”
Even though the Canucks tried to overshadow the podcast with the Bo Horvat trade, Rintoul still found a way to relate it back to a story from the series.
25 years ago, the Canucks traded a former captain to the Islanders for 2 players & a draft pick
That story is part of the "UNREEL: West Coast Express" episodes available Jan 31 on Apple, Spotify or at https://t.co/w0QmlQq37j
Trevor Linden on how he felt when the deal went down pic.twitter.com/GGZ4oNnRVs
— Scott Rintoul (@ScottRintoul) January 31, 2023
Rintoul said fans can expect to experience two things on the podcast: learn something and get a sense of how players felt at the time.
“There will be some stuff that people forgot or that they didn’t know, and there’s another part of just what fans want in general…which is, how the players feel,” he said. “As fans or broadcasters, you can have your opinion, but you’re not the one in skates, you’re not the one on the ice. I think that’s what fans enjoy the most, that peak behind the curtain.”