Every team, every game, has a hero. In hockey there’s usually more than one hero per team. Some like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and even Steven Stamkos are always at the top of the headlines, appearing in numerous All Star games and Olympic events. Others go about the business of trying to win games for their team without much fanfare. With that in mind, I’m starting a new feature that’s designed to recognize these unsung heroes. We’ll begin things by recognizing the Vancouver Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa.
When thinking of Vancouver, the first names that likely cross your mind would be the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik) as well as Ryan Kesler. Bieksa’s a great player in his own right though, tallying 44 points and a plus-12 rating in 78 games last season.
Another thing that makes Bieksa likeable is the fact that he’s always there for others, including his teammates. Back in mid August Bieksa, along with the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA), hosted their annual Goals & Dreams cup as a way to honor his former teammate and close friend Rick Rypien. Held in Rypien’s hometown of Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, this year’s event helped to raise funds for the Ricky Ryp Foundation. (Source: NHLPA.com)
Bieksa was also the first person Rypien confided in regarding his lifelong battle with depression. For that reason, Bieksa’s a passionate supporter of mindcheck.ca, a website created to educate and help raise awareness about mental illness.
This just goes to show you that some hockey players think about others before themselves.
If you have an “unsung hero” you’d like to nominate, please feel free to send me a tweet, at @TBLightning491, or contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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