T’ve wanted to make a difference outside of what I do on the ice. It’s good for your soul.’
Honour Roll 2004
THERE’S OPEN ADMIRATION in veteran Vancouver Canuck forward Trevor Linden’s voice as he talks about the spirit and courage of his friend, Dylan. “He’s had a rough go,” he says. “He’s had cancer; started in an eye and spread.” Dylan, from Prince George, B.C., was in Vancouver for yet another operation, so Linden took him to lunch and the driving range, the way friends do. “He doesn’t see real well, but he hit range balls fantastically,” Linden says. “It was just great.”
Dylan is 12. He floated back to Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for families and children with cancer, in high spirits, says Barb Eberhardt, house executive director. “Trevor is a very special person to the kids here,” she says. “He’s just an exceptional man.” Linden is a frequent visitor there as well as at B.C.’s Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place, a hospice for terminally ill children. He plays video games, signs autographs and chats with the kids. His latest project is an annual golf tournament raising funds for a B.C. summer camp for children with cancer. “I’ve wanted to make a difference outside of what I do on the ice,” he says. “It’s good for your soul. It makes
as big a difference to me as it does to the kids.” Linden, 34, joined the Canucks in 1988, an 18-yearold kid himself from Medicine Hat, Alta. His six-footfour-inch frame is folded into a couch of the Kitsilano home he bought at 21, in 1991, the year he became captain. Today, he’s also president of the NHL Players Association at a crucial time, with the looming prospect of an NHL work stoppage.
Linden and his wife, Cristina, from neighbouring Burnaby, kept the home during trades to three other cities, before he rejoined the Canucks in 2001. For all his kid-centred charity, the Lindens have no children. Perhaps when his out-of-a-suitcase career ends, he says with a grin, “I’ll become a stay-at-home dad.”
Despite the Canucks’ playoff loss to Calgary, Linden says the past three seasons in Vancouver have been his most enjoyable. He’s come home, he says, with a new maturity and a healthy approach to the game and the world beyond. That balance was summed up last year, when he received the Order of British Columbia. Trevor Linden, the announcement read, “hockey player and humanitarian.”
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