"It'd be an honour": Hughes would be comfortable being Canucks captain

Sep 9 2023, 6:02 am

It’s looking more and more likely that Quinn Hughes will be named the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks.

And he’s ready for it.

Daily Hive caught up to the 23-year-old defenceman on Friday in East Vancouver, where he was carefully crafting a new cold-pressed juice for Glory Juice. More information about the juice, which will be available to the public this fall, will be released at a later date.

So until then, we had to ask about the Canucks’ vacant captaincy amid recent reports suggesting that Hughes will wear the C next season.

Three players have been in the running to become Canucks captain since Bo Horvat was traded last season. Hughes, along with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller are the obvious candidates. But while Miller has the take-charge attitude and Pettersson may be the team’s best player, it was Hughes who grabbed the microphone to address the fans after the last home game of the season.

Viewed by many as quiet, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet noted on multiple occasions that Hughes spoke up more late last season — so he no longer just relies on his exceptional on-ice play to do the talking.

“It’s my fifth year and the last couple of years have been hard. I want to win, I want to be successful,” Hughes said in an exclusive interview with Daily Hive. “Continuing to push myself and others, and I think we got a bunch of guys in the room that push each other, which is nice. And that’s all I’m trying to do.”

quinn hughes glory juice

Hughes proudly showing off his new juice (Rob Williams/Daily Hive)

Not everyone is cut out to be captain, particularly in a Canadian city. There’s added pressure, and that can wear on many players.

But when asked if he would be comfortable wearing the C if asked, Hughes didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I’m very comfortable,” Hughes said confidently. “I’ve had a lot of great mentors and people around me… people I could learn [from] and lean off of. [What] a lot of people don’t know about me is I grew up in Toronto pretty much, from when I was seven to 15. Before even coming to Van my rookie year, I kind of knew what I was getting myself into, in a Canadian market.

“It’s an honour to play here, with the fans so passionate. If [being named captain] ever happened, it’d be an honour as well.”

Hughes said he and his teammates came into town two weeks early to skate together. Given how the last two years have gone, the Canucks need a good start and everybody knows it.

“The mood’s great. Guys are excited to be here, which is really important. I’m really excited to be here. It wasn’t like a drag for anyone to come early. I think we’re all itching and the summer was long, and we’re ready to go.”

Hughes wasn’t exactly ready to pat everyone on the back for showing up early though.

“That’s not to say we’re going to be successful or not. A lot of teams come in early. Everyone wants to win. Edmonton, all their guys were in last week… Everyone’s doing that. For us, we just want to give ourselves the best possible chance to be ready for game one and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Hughes taking a “shot mentality” this season

Hughes takes nutrition and fitness seriously, and getting his body ready for the rigours of an 82-game NHL season was a focus in the offseason.

But so was finding ways to score more goals.

Hughes finished second in points scored by defencemen last season, but his seven goals ranked him tied for 53rd among NHL blueliners.

“There’s always room for improvement… Trying to score more and get myself in spots where I can shoot more and change my mindset to shoot more.”

This isn’t a case of Hughes simply trying to make his shot harder. Look for him to sneak into the zone more going forward.

“Not as much working on your shot, but also like finding areas where you can get lower into the zone, where you can score from, and also a shot mentality…

“Watching hockey, a lot of D, they’re up in the rush, they score from the top of the circles. Of course guys have one-timers or slap shots from the blue line, but when you’re in the box or the middle of the ice, that’s when guys are scoring the most, or moving the goalie. So that’s what I’ve been working on.”

What about the playoffs?

Quinn Hughes was 15 years old and playing for the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the OJHL the last time the Canucks hosted a playoff game at Rogers Arena in 2015.

His lone Stanley Cup playoff experience in 2020 was in a COVID bubble in Edmonton, so needless to say, Hughes would love to get back to the postseason.

“I want to be successful for the city and for the fans, but also for ourselves and just be a successful organization… That’s what we’re all trying to do and we’re all trying to pull the rope in the same direction. So I think it’s exciting.”

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