Thatcher Demko may be the Vancouver Canucks' number one goaltender now but he played three years in the backyard of one of their most bitter rivals, the Boston Bruins.
From 2013 to 2016, Demko played for Boston College in the NCAA. He committed to Boston College in 2012 when he was just 17 years old. But in 2011, Demko wasn't at Boston yet, so when the Bruins faced the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Demko wasn't cheering for the Bruins.
Just don't tell his teammates at Boston College.
"I remember watching the Stanley Cup Final," said Demko on Wednesday at the Canucks' first official media availability of the season. "I think I'd be in trouble if I had admitted it to my teammates, but I was kind of pulling for the Canucks at the time."
Why was a kid from California with dreams of heading east to play college hockey cheering for the Canucks?
"I'm a west coast kid," said Demko. "I was never really a Canucks fan growing up necessarily but they definitely captivated me during that run."
It didn't hurt that the Canucks had one of the greatest goaltenders of all time in between the pipes in Roberto Luongo
"He's a legend," said Demko. "He's a guy that I think everyone looked up to at the time."
Demko is eager to get back to the playoffs with the Canucks. His only playoff experience of his NHL career so far was in the bubble, with no fans in attendance. He knows from watching the Canucks' run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final that the experience in a full building will be a lot different.
"It's something that you dream of as a kid and to do it in a Canadian market, more specifically in Vancouver, it'd be unbelievable," said Demko. "Just watching the games on TV — you know, TD Garden is a great atmosphere but just seeing the white out [in Vancouver], I don't know, it was just something about that team."
Hopefully, Demko will be able to see the white towels flying in the stands after the 2022-23 regular season ends. He thinks they've got the team to do it this year.
"We're a group that if we do get in the playoffs — or when we do get in the playoffs this year — we're going to be a hard team to beat," said Demko. "I think we proved that last year, we were just so far behind the eight ball. The push that we were able to make trying to get in last year was really inspiring for the city and for our group to build confidence in those situations."