Former Vancouver Canucks standout and longtime North Shore resident Dennis Kearns has a new home as of this week: the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Kearns was one of six athletes, four builder-coaches, two teams, two pioneers, one media member and one W.A.C. Bennett Award winner formally inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony June 1 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Kearns, born and raised in Kingston, Ont., was a late bloomer who didn’t make his NHL debut until age 26. That didn’t stop him from putting together an outstanding 10-year NHL career, all with the Canucks, as well as playing in two world championships with Team Canada.
Kearns was never drafted by an NHL team but found a home in Vancouver starting in 1971, only the second season for the Canucks following league expansion the year before. Kearns was in the lineup on opening night for the 1971-72 season and never looked back.
He totaled 31 goals, 290 assists, and 321 points in 677 regular season games to set a club record for points by a defenceman. That record stood for nearly 30 years until it was broken by Mattias Ohlund and later Alex Edler. Kearns is still tied for third all-time in scoring for Canucks defencemen with Jyrki Lumme, and remains second all-time in assists by a Canucks defencemen behind only Edler, who broke his mark in 2020.
His team record of 55 assists in a season stood for 45 years until it was broken by Quinn Hughes in the 2021-22 season. Kearns earned the Babe Pratt Trophy as the top defenceman for the Canucks twice in his career, and his play led The Hockey News to dub him the “Dennis Potvin of the West.”
Kearns and his wife Lynn have lived on the North Shore for nearly 50 years, with Kearns embarking on a second career in the insurance business. He is also a member of the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. His inclusion in the BC Sports Hall of Fame is the “crème de la crème,” Kearns said in an in-depth feature on him produced by Hall of Fame curator Jason Beck.
“This is such an honour,” said Kearns. “It’s an honour not only for me, but for my wife and my boys and my grandchildren, my teammates. It’s a huge, huge honour. We’re very, very moved.”