Processing Derek Dorsett’s “Retirement”

dorsettDerek Dorsett and the Vancouver Canucks released a statement this morning announcing that the ballsiest Canuck since Rick Rypien will not be returning to the Canucks lineup due to acomplication of the neck injury he sustained last season. See the statement below:

The news of Dorsett’s decision is devastating for the Canucks. His contributions this season on both ends of the ice were inspiring examples of his intensity, desire to improve his game, dedication, and most of all: bravery. The guy came back from an injury that would stop most careers in their tracks and still managed to lead the NHL in penalty minutes and for a time, led the Canucks in scoring.

What made/makes Derek Dorsett such a special player is not limited to his style of play or the fact that he brought a next-level work ethic game in and game out – no, Derek Dorsett is a character guy. His on and off ice presence throughout his career was beyond admirable and set an outstanding example for younger Canucks to aspire to. He defied the odds from being drafted in the 7th round, where players rarely see NHL action and worked his way in to a consistent role player for nine seasons until his final game as a Canuck.

We have seen far more naturally gifted players fall short of an NHL career for reasons like attitude and work-ethic – Derek Dorsett earned every minute he played and did so in the toughest way possible – as a role playing enforcer.

While we, as Canuck fans, are overwhelmed with the feels over Dorsett’s departure, we should try to empathize with his situation more than anything else. There is clearly plenty of gas left in that tank of his and to be stopped short of shattering his career point totals (he was on pace to decimate them by New Years or earlier) is tragic.

derek-dorsett.jpgThe loss of a figure like Dorsett leaves a massive void in the current Canuck line-up; players that bring intangibles like leadership, character, big hefty swinging balls, and next level tenacity are incredibly difficult to come by, and he will be sincerely missed.

I’ll end this tribute by telling a brief story of my one meeting with Derek at a trade-show in 2016. He approached me humbly at my company’s booth, showing some interest in our products. Being a superfan, the first thing I blurted out was “holy shit, you’re Derek Dorsett”… He softly chuckled to himself and nodded his head, almost embarrassed for me for calling him out so clumsily.

Despite my bumbling intro, he was warm, friendly, engaging and surprisingly soft-spoken. By his demeanor and shorter stature, you would hardly guess he was a professional hockey player – well, until I shook his hand – the guy had mitts like a fuckin’ silverback… but I digress.

Our short 10 minute conversation (in which I tried my best to suppress my admiration, his respectful personality and sincerity) was a breath of fresh-air (especially compared to some of the blow-hard fuck-wits that I conversed with that day). I genuinely Dorsett stays involved with hockey – perhaps in a coaching capacity, because with that strong and silent style of communication and the hard-nosed reputation that precedes him, he could very easily earn the respect and attention of any dressing room.

We here at Zero Nucks Given wish Derek Dorsett all the best and will always keep our fingers crossed that maybe… just maybe… he makes another dramatic comeback and dons #15 in the Blue and Green one more time.

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