The Lower Mainland has numerous ice hockey teams, including the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), the Abbotsford Canucks (AHL), and the Vancouver Giants (WHL).
The Vancouver Canucks play at Rogers Arena at 800 Griffiths Way in downtown Vancouver. The Abbotsford Canucks play at the Abbotsford Centre in Abbotsford. The Vancouver Giants play at the Langley Events Centre in Langley.
Ice Hockey in Vancouver
Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada, and Vancouver has plenty of love for it too. The Vancouver Canucks are the most well-known sports team in the city, but they aren’t the only hockey team around.
There is also the long-running Vancouver Giants who play in the WHL, one of the three top junior leagues that are part of the CHL. As well, new in 2021/22 is the Abbotsford Canucks, who are the minor-league affiliate for the Canucks and play in the AHL.
Tickets to see the Giants and Abbotsford Canucks games are cheaper than the Vancouver Canucks, as they’re not at the highest level of play. That doesn’t mean that it’s not fun to go out and support those two teams, however! They give you the opportunity to support players who could one day play in the NHL and the majority of them (especially on the Giants) are Canadian!
The seasons for all three of these teams are very similar. During normal years the NHL and AHL seasons both go from October to June while the WHL season goes from September to May. See below for details on all three of these Lower Mainland teams.
The Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are the longest-running hockey franchise in the area. They entered the NHL in 1970 since 1995 have played at Rogers Arena downtown (before that they played at Pacific Coliseum). They have not won a Stanley Cup but have won two Presidents’ Trophies and made the Stanley Cup Finals three times.
Tickets can get expensive, especially when the team is good. They can cost up to hundreds of dollars depending on where you’re sitting, and the cheapest ones are often around $50. If you can’t make it out to the arena, all of the Canucks’ games are broadcast on TV and radio by Sportsnet. You can also watch designated Hockey Night in Canada games on CBC.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020/21 season, the Canucks finished last place in the North Division in a disappointing season further marred by a massive COVID outbreak within the team. Early in the 2021/22 season the Canucks fired both coach Travis Green and General Manager Jim Benning, replaced by Bruce Boudreau and Jim Rutherford, respectively.
For more information check out our article on the Vancouver Canucks.
The Abbotsford Canucks
Up until 2021, the Vancouver Canucks’ minor league affiliate was the Utica Comets, a team based in New York state. Abbotsford used to have a team known as the Heat (which was an affiliate of the Calgary Flames), but they left in 2014. In 2021, however, hockey returned to the city when the Utica Comets were relocated to Abbotsford and became the Canucks. They play in the AHL, which is the minor league directly below the NHL.
The affiliation between Abbotsford and Vancouver means that players in the Canucks organization too old for junior hockey but not quite ready for the NHL play for the AHL team. The Canucks play at the Abbotsford Centre and tickets start at around $25, with the most expensive costing around $80. You can watch all the Canucks regular season games on AHL TV for $65 for the whole year.
The 2021/22 season is the first in franchise history. The old Abbotsford Heat never made it to the conference finals, so the Canucks will look to be the first professional team in the city to do so.
To learn more visit the Abbotsford Canucks website.
The Vancouver Giants
The Giants were founded in 2001 as the 5th BC team in the WHL. Up until 2016 their home rink was Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, but since then they’ve played at the Langley Events Centre. The WHL is a junior league, so all the players on the team must be between 15 and 20 years old. There is a maximum of two non-North American players allowed on each team as well.
The Giants have won the Ed Chynoweth Cup (champions of the WHL) once, in 2006, and have won the Memorial Cup (champions of the entire CHL) once, in 2007. Tickets to see the Giants range from around $20 to $45. You can listen to the games on Sportsnet radio, or watch them using the WHL Live streaming service. WHL Live costs a little over $100 for the full season.
The 2020/21 season was only 24 games long, and the Giants only played the other BC teams. They finished 2nd in their division, but unfortunately the playoffs were cancelled for the second year in a row. Hopefully the 2021/22 season ends better.
For more details click Vancouver Giants.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Sports Teams
- Vancouver Entertainment
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities