VANCOUVER – Trevor Linden, who led the Vancouver Canucks to Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup final and helped guide the NHL Players’ Association through a one-year lockout, has decided to retire after 19 seasons.
Linden, 38, will make the announcement Wednesday at a news conference at GM Place, a source told The Canadian Press.
Vancouver selected Linden second overall in the 1988 NHL draft and he went on to play 16 seasons for the Canucks.
The six-foot-four, 215-pound forward holds the Canuck record with 415 assists. His 318 goals are second only to captain Markus Naslund.
In 1,382 NHL games, the native of Medicine Hat, Alta., scored 375 goals, added 492 assists and collected 895 penalty minutes. He also had 34 goals and 65 assists in 124 playoff games.
Once the backbone of the Canucks scoring attack, Linden took on more of a defensive role later in his career. He was a healthy scratch for 23 games last season where he scored seven goals and five assists in 59 games.
Linden remained one of the most popular Canuck players off the ice and was heavily involved in charities around Vancouver. He was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2003 in recognition of his services benefiting residents of the province.
In 1997 he received the King Clancy memorial trophy, given to the NHL player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice. This season he and Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning were named co-recipients of the 10th annual NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of their commitment and service to charities in their communities.
Linden’s final game with the Canucks, a 7-1 loss to Calgary in April, was an emotional affair. At the start of the third period players from both teams backed away from the centre ice circle before the puck drop so Linden could receive a standing ovation.
After the game Linden circled the ice and waved to the cheering crowd. Flames players came on the ice to shake his hand.
“For someone who doesn’t like attention, it was a little difficult,” Linden said at the time. “At the same time, it was a special night.”
Linden led the Medicine Hat Tigers to consecutive Memorial Cup titles and also was a member of Canada’s Olympic hockey team at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.
He was the first Vancouver rookie to score 30 goals and was second to Brian Leetch in 1988-89 Calder Trophy voting. Linden was named the Canucks’ youngest captain at age 21 at the start of the 1990-91 season. In 1994, the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the New York Rangers.
As popular as Linden was in Vancouver he lived through some tough times.
The two-time all-star gave up being team captain when the Canucks signed Mark Messier as a free agent. Linden also clashed with coach Mike Keenan, resulting in him being traded to the New York Islanders in February 1998 in a deal that brought Todd Bertuzzi to Vancouver.
Linden would also play with Montreal and Washington before returning to the Canucks in a November 2001 trade.
During his career Linden scored five hat tricks. His best season in 1995-96, when he had 33 goals and 47 assists.
Linden also felt the public’s wrath when he as the NHLPA president during the 2004-05 lockout season. He later was criticized by some players for the agreement reached with the league and his support of Ted Saskin, the union’s former executive director.