STEVENS HELP CANUCKS LAY THE SMACKDOWN AS THEY DEFEAT LAVAL 6-1
ABBOTSFORD, BC — All the stars aligned together for pro-wrestling legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Abbotsford Canucks forward John Stevens.
Even if they may not know it.
Austin was one of the most influential stars in the World Wrestling Entertainment’s history. Depending on who is being asked, they may even argue that he is the most out of them all.
After spending just over 13 years in the ring, Austin had his last match at WrestleMania 19 against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The two were each other’s biggest rivals and carried to the company to its highest heights in the 1990s.
WrestleMania 19 was at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, WA in front of a sold-out crowd of 54,097 on March 30, 2003. The WWE faithful in attendance didn’t know at the time, but Austin, after numerous injuries throughout his career, was going to hang up the boots.
19 years later, the unthinkable happened.
For weeks, Kevin Owens, a Canadian WWE superstar, had been calling out Austin. In fact, he invited him to show up at night one of WrestleMania 38 and do a talk show segment together.
WrestleMania 38, too, was going to be held at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX for two nights. Texas is, of course, Austin’s home state.
Well, night 1 of WrestleMania 38 was on Saturday. At the last segment of the show, Owens took the microphone and told Austin to come out to the ring.
But to everyone’s surprise, the talk show ended up being Owens convincing Austin to do one more match. It was then that Austin came out of retirement, likely for this only occasion, to go one-on-one wth Owens.
No Holds Barred.
The crowd of 77,899 went crazy.
Many thought Austin would never wrestle again, but there he was, in the middle of the ring with Owens.
The match was went 13:55, which was the fourth-longest on the show.
Austin defeated Owens.
Needless to say, but all the fans left the building with smiles are their faces. That was the same when it came to the ones watching on television or following on various social media networks.
Meanwhile, when the Canucks to played host to the Laval Rocket at the Abbotsford Centre on the same night, their fans had much of the same feelings.
It was the team’s Country Night as well. It was the third of a six-game homestand.
Abbotsford was battling to not only clinch a spot in the American Hockey League’s 2022 Calder Cup playoff tournament, but home-ice advantage in the first round of it too.
It was going to be in front of 6017 Canucks’ faithful, which is the team’s largest attendance of the season.
Just like Austin shined at WrestleMania 38, Stevens did for Abbotsford.
He scored two goals in the Canucks’ 6-1 victory over Rocket. One of which, was Abbotsford’s third goal of the game and marked his 16th of the season.
“Johnny’s been playing great,” Canucks head coach Trent Cull said. “He’s setting career highs right now.”
One of the terms that became synonymous with Austin’s legendary gimmick was Austin 3:16.
Let’s not forget too, that Stevens’ father, John Stevens Sr, is one of the assistant coaches for the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
It was just meant to be.
The largest crowd of the season.
Stevens netted two goals, in a 6-1 domination over Laval on the team’s Country Night.
All on the the night that Austin returned to the ring for the first time in 19 years, no less, and defeated Owens in Dallas.
That really was the bottom line.
For the Canucks on Saturday, it was because Stevens said so.
The Abbotsford Canucks (31-21-5-1) will have a rematch with the Laval Rocket (31-22-3-2) at the Abbotsford Centre on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00PM PST. It will be the Canucks’ Women in Sports Night as well.
NEWS AND NOTES
Canucks defenceman Ashton Sautner, who was out with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup. He finished with an assist.
Abbotsford defenceman Noah Juulsen was ill and did not play.
Canucks forward John Stevens finished with two goals and a plus-1 rating, along with two shots. It extended his point streak to three games, which he has four goals and an assist in that span.
Canucks forward Brandon Cutler finished a goal and two shots on net. It was his second goal of the season. He now has a goal and two assists in his last four games.
Abbotsford defenceman Jack Rathbone finished with three assists one shot on net, along with a plus-2 rating. That extended his point streak to three games, where he has six assists in that span.
Canucks forward Sheldon Rempal scored his 50th AHL-career goal. He also had an assist and five shots. He is also on a three-game point streak, where he has two goals and two assists along with 12 shots on net in that span.
Abbotsford forward Matt Alfaro scored his first goal with the team. He also had an assist along with three shots on net and was a plus-2 rating.
Canucks forward Jarid Lukosevicius led the team with six shots.
Abbotsford goaltender Spencer Martin made 34 saves for his 17th victory of the season. He has won seven of his last nine starts and a .928 save percentage in his last 14.
Abbotsford defenceman Madison Bowey finished with an assist and was a plus-2 rating. He has two goals and four assists in his last seven games.
Canucks forward Chase Wouters finished with an assist, one shot on net, along with a plus-1 rating. He has four assists in his last seven games.
Abbotsford signed forward Marc Gatcomb from the NCAA’s University of Connecticut Huskies to a professional tryout agreement on Saturday. He also signed a one-year American Hockey League contract for next season. He had eight goals and 13 assists in 36 games with the Huskies this season.
The Canucks re-signed forward Vincent Arseneau to a two-year American Hockey League contract extension on Thursday, becoming the first player in franchise history to do so. He has six goals and five assists in 42 games this season. The 30-year-old is currently out with a lower-body injury.
Abbotsford has released defenceman Reece Harsch from their roster on Friday. He signed a professional tryout agreement with the team on Jan. 30 and played in five games.
FIRST STAR — ABB’s Spencer Martin (34 saves)
SECOND STAR — ABB’s John Stevens (two goals and a plus-1 rating, along with two shots)
THIRD STAR — ABB’s Jack Rathbone (three assists one shot on net, along with a plus-2 rating)