Behind the Bench: Welcome to the Arty Party

On January 18th, Abbotsford Canucks goalie, Arturs (Arty) Silovs broke the franchise record for most total games played by a goalie with 35. But at this time last season, that milestone seemed a lot further away than it actually was.

Drafted 156th overall by Vancouver in the 2019 draft, Arty made the move from Riga, Latvia to Barrie, Ontario where he had a short stint in the OHL with the Barrie Colts for the 2019-2020 season. He spent his first full season of professional hockey in North America between the Abbotsford Canucks and the ECHL's Trois-Rivieres Lions during the 2021-2022 season. Across the two teams, he took to the ice to start in 20 games.

Playing 10 games with each team, Arty walked away with 10 wins and 10 losses.

However, the 21-year-old Latvian didn’t guard the crease as soon as he could skate. Arty actually started off his hockey career as a forward. With his team running low on goalies, Arty decided to try out his skills between the pipes, and was a natural fit. “It was working for me, I was pretty good at it, so I stuck with it, and now I’m here” he said.

His talent in goal brought him to 10 different international appearances with the Latvian national team.

Most recently was after his first AHL season, where Arty took to the 2022 IIHF World Championship with Team Latvia. In his first start of the tournament, Arty made a last-second overtime save to send the match to a shootout, and ultimately leading Latvia to a victory. He was voted player of the game before heading back to Abbotsford for another season as a Canuck.

After his initial campaign in Abbotsford, Arty’s game was looking a little different. In just a matter if months, Arty went from sitting behind the duo of Spencer Martin and Michael DiPietro, to one of Abbotsford’s main starters. By December, he was Abbotsford’s primary starting goalie due to Collin Delia’s recall to Vancouver.

Despite this sudden roster change, Arty knew he was up for the challenge, excited for the opportunity to “show where he belongs.” He went on to play 9 of Abbotsford’s 11 games in December, putting up 8 wins in the process.

But his talent isn’t the only thing that brought his swift rise to the top, it’s the work he puts in on and off the ice. “It’s a huge investment in the future,” he said of his time working with various goalie coaches such as Ian Clark and Marko Torenius.

Arty can always be found around the Abbotsford Centre putting in extra work after practice and perfecting his juggling skills.

Making small adjustments to his game has been his recipe for success over the years. Constantly working on the small details of his game, finding confidence in himself and his team, and staying calm when the game gets intense.

As for his most recent jump in success, he says “just getting the opportunity to play more, that’s the biggest (difference) for me.”

Arty has done more than just prove himself to be a strong goalie on the Canuck’s roster, as of January 19th, he sits tied in second in the league for wins with 15 across 25 games. He defended Abbotsford to their first, and only so far, shutout of the season in a whopping 7-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose.

As for his wins, Arty credits his teammates. “Every single win is about the team,” he said. “We’re winning the games together. That’s the reason why I’m second in the league.” With a 0.902 save percentage, it’s safe to say Arty is still a huge contributor to the team efforts.

In the long run, Arty hopes people see him as a “confident guy”, who is reliable in net and can be trusted to win games for his team. With the success he’s having this season, it’s hard to see him any other way.

This is your official invitation to the Arty Party, click HERE for tickets to upcoming Abbotsford Canucks games.