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Surrey's Arshdeep Bains called up to the Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' Arshdeep Bains waits for an on-ice session to begin during the opening day of the NHL hockey team's training camp, in Victoria, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Vancouver Canucks' Arshdeep Bains waits for an on-ice session to begin during the opening day of the NHL hockey team's training camp, in Victoria, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Surrey, B.C.’s own Arshdeep Bains has been called up to the big leagues, the Vancouver Canucks announced Friday.

The 23-year-old forward was called up to the NHL from the Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford at the same time defenceman Jett Woo was sent back to the AHL after joining the Canucks on their recent road trip.

Bains’ big break comes as forward Dakota Joshua is out with a hand injury suffered during a fight last week. “We might give Bains a chance to come up,” head coach Rick Tocchet told reporters at Rogers Arena Thursday. “Whether he plays or not, I think he deserves a look.”

“I think the minor league guys coming up here who have a chance to skate, with the pace, then they go down and they get a taste. I think it’s a great way to develop players,” he continued.

Tocchet brought up Bains again on Friday after practice, when asked if he would call someone up from the AHL during Joshua’s absence. “We’ll grab somebody, maybe a Bains or something,” he said. “I’d like to see him up and see how he does.”

The call-up became official later that day.

The B.C.-born forward is the top scorer on the Abbotsford Canucks. Bains is just shy of being a point-per-game player, having racked up 39 points in 42 games this season—nine goals and 30 assists. He was also recently named MVP at the AHL All Star Challenge.

“He's had a great season in the American Hockey League; he's earned this call up,” Canucks reporter and host of the Rink Wide podcast Jeff Paterson told CTV News.

“People want to see local guys do well,” he continued, adding that Bains chose his hometown team when he signed as a free agent in March 2022. “He’s talked about growing up watching the Canucks and here he is now knocking on the door of getting to play for the team that he grew up watching.”

Paterson added that Bains’ South Asian heritage makes his potential NHL debut all the more exciting—because you can count the number of hockey players of South Asian descent that have played in the NHL on one hand.

Now, whether Bains will actually get ice time during a game remains to be seen.

“The fact that he’s been called up is a great story, local kid who has earned his opportunity, but it's one thing to get called up, it's another to get into the lineup of a first-place team in the National Hockey League,” Paterson said.

The Canucks didn’t have a morning practice ahead of their Saturday night game against the Winnipeg Jets, so it’s unlikely Bains would be put on the ice without skating with the team first, Paterson explained. In addition, Vancouver currently has 12 healthy forwards, so barring any injuries Saturday or in the upcoming three-game road trip, Bains may not debut.

“If they get through this one healthy, then you know, he may have to be patient. That's usually the case for guys in their first NHL call-up,” Paterson said.

However, there will be lots of “tangible takeaways” for the homegrown athlete during his first stint in the NHL, however long it may be.

“It's just exposure to the best league in the world. It's about being in that environment,” Paterson said. He’ll have the financial perk of an NHL salary while he’s in the big league, and will get to practice with the best of the best. “There's a ton of value for Arshdeep Bains as a reward for him for all of his hard work.”

 

 

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