It’s been in the works for weeks, but now it’s official: Daniel and Henrik Sedin are back with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Sedin twins retired from the NHL in 2018 and took a break from the hockey world for three years, instead focusing on their families, as well as running trail races and marathons. Now they’re back to bring their extensive experience and hockey knowledge to the Canucks’ front office.
The official title for the Sedins is Special Advisors to the General Manager.
It’s a similar path to the one taken by their former teammate, Roberto Luongo, with the Florida Panthers. Luongo was named special advisor to then-Panthers GM Dale Tallon in 2019, then was named the General Manager for Team Canada at the 2021 World Championships, where he won a gold medal.
For the Sedins, this is an opportunity to learn the ropes of the management side of hockey, which the press release from the Canucks makes clear.
“The Sedins will learn and support all areas of the team's hockey operations including player evaluation, development and communication from the amateur to NHL level,” reads the release. “They will work collaboratively with Abbotsford's AHL staff and coaches, participate in amateur and pro scouting meetings and participate in planning for the Draft, Free Agency and trade deadline.”
That the Sedins’ first listed responsibility is to “learn” seems pretty significant. Canucks fans shouldn’t expect Daniel and Henrik to immediately start making decisions and changing the course of the franchise. Adding further responsibilities beyond learning will likely be a gradual process.
Eventually, the Sedins are likely to want a larger role in management and one has to wonder how that will shake out in the future. Will they be co-general managers together? Will one be the president of hockey ops and the other the GM? Will Henrik be the general manager and Daniel the assistant general manager? If so, will Henrik jokingly call Daniel assistant TO the general manager?
In the release, Benning praises the Sedins for their “hockey intellect” and calls them “students of the game.” The release also includes quotes from both Sedins as they take their first step into hockey operations.
“We are grateful and humbled by the opportunity to contribute to the team we care so much about,” said Henrik. “The province and the fans care deeply about this team. As we've said, being part of the Canucks family has been the best time in our lives. It is an honour to be back, and we will do everything we can to learn and contribute to the success of this team.”
“When we retired, we always thought we'd like to be involved in the business side of hockey one day,” added Daniel. “There's a lot to learn, but we are excited and ready for the opportunity. This team has some of the best young players in the NHL and we want to do everything we can to support the group and achieve our goals.”
One area where the Sedins can immediately improve the Canucks’ front office is in communications. Both became very adept at speaking to the media in their time as players and getting their message across. Henrik, in particular, had a knack for spinning even the worst loss into a positive lesson the team could take from it.
Communication has definitely been an issue during Benning’s tenure as GM, so it will be interesting to see how frequently the Sedins are put in front of microphones in the coming months.