The Best Inaugural Season Moments: Opening Night
With the dust of Abbotsford's playoff efforts being settled, it is time to close the door on the Canucks' Inaugural Season in the AHL. However before the calendar flips to 2022/23, how about a trip down memory lane? Over the next two weeks, memorable moments from the team's inaugural campaign in Abbotsford will be highlighted in this series.
So let's start where it all began. Opening night.
October 22nd, saw the return of AHL hockey to Abbotsford, having been without a team since 2014. The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Henderson Silver Knights in their fourth game of their inaugural campaign, and their first at home. Having gone 1-1-1 in their opening three games, Abbotsford returned from their California road trip ready to be embraced by their home fans for the first time. And the city rolled out the red carpet for the players. Literally.
The party on the plaza kicked off a special night for the Organization, as well as the Fraser Valley as a whole. Despite being limited to 50% capacity at the Abbotsford Centre, the noise from the 3,500 in attendance certainly made up for it.
Justin Bailey got on the end of a stretch pass from Abbotsford native Noah Juulsen, and buried the first Canucks goal at the Abbotsford Centre in team history. John Stevens added to the scoresheet later that night as well, but 60 minutes wasn't enough to decide it.
The game went into overtime, and it became the storybook ending to the night that Abbotsford had hoped for. Justin Bailey came barreling down the left flank, before feeding the puck to a streaking Madison Bowey. Bowey's out-stretched stick was just enough to poke the puck over the shoulder of the Silver Knights' net minder, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Months of planning, rewarded in a split-second thanks to Bowey's winner. It was a historic night in Abbotsford, one that would be talked about and will continue to be talked about for some time to come.
"I took a moment at the end of the game to take a look at the crowd," said Head Coach Trent Cull about the atmosphere at Abbotsford Centre on Opening Night. " I thought the crowd was really good for 50% capacity. They were a great group, very vocal."
That special night will live long in the memories of those there to witness it, so it was only right that this series started at the beginning. Be sure to check back daily to relive the moments and the stories that made up this remarkable inaugural season.