Vancouver Canucks prospects hit the ice at Rogers Arena this weekend, hoping to impress team brass and earn a shot in the NHL for the team's 50th anniversary season.

In a perennial September rite of passage for long-suffering fans, hope springs eternal at the dawn of training camp.

"We're super optimistic. We like some of the changes that have been made,” said supporter Terri Martin, who attended Sunday’s open practice with her family. “And I guess being a Canucks fan, you kind of have to be a little bit optimistic."

Among the players taking part in the prospects camp, only defenceman Quinn Hughes is a lock to make the opening night roster. He's looking to build on success from a brief five-game stint with the NHL club in March and April after his U.S. college season ended.

"I just want to be able to contribute and help the team win,” said Hughes. “I want to be a big part of that and that's what my goal is."

Vegas oddsmakers have the Canucks as 40-1 longshots to win the Stanley Cup, an unlikely scenario this season, so the team is counting on a series of 50th anniversary special events to draw fans to Rogers Arena.

"We bought an 11-game pack this year,” said Martin. “I think one of them was the Alex Burrows Ring of Honour game because I'm a huge Alex Burrows fan."

History aside, a strong nucleus of young talent has the chance to chart a future that could spare the next generation of Canucks fans the despair long-time supporters know so well.

A number of children attended Sunday’s practice sporting Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser jerseys.

"I like Bo Horvat the best,” said Ryan Burewal, who thinks his favourite player should be named captain, something his younger brother Jordan agrees with.

With the enthusiastic optimism of true Canucks fans, the brothers believe this is the year the team overcomes several consecutive dreadful campaigns to finally return to the NHL playoffs.