A class act, a true professional and a gifted accomplished player!

These may sound like clichés but the words describe the now retired Dan Hamhuis to a tee.

Being from Smithers and without a big ego, Hamhuis does not crave the spotlight but understands being a successful NHL player comes with immense media attention.

He has been straight forward with reporters, giving thoughtful answers and not hurried one-liners so he could be done quickly.

Hamhuis is the type of person that respects fans to a point that he will put his fork and knife down while eating his dinner to sign an autograph on the spot.

He understands that just because he worked extremely hard it was a privilege and not a right to play in the best hockey league in the world.

Being proud of his Christian faith and blessed with drive, desire and enormous talent he (and his wife) have been willing to share in their good fortune.

While with the Vancouver Canucks in 2012, Dan and Sarah donated $100,000 to Ronald McDonald House in BC.

Let’s try to put the 37-year-old’s brilliant 16-year career in the NHL in perspective.

Since its inception in 1917-18, only 337 players have played at least 1,000 NHL regular-season games.

With a total of 1,148, Hamhuis is not only on the list but is in the top half, tied with ex Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Borje Salming for 148th.

The former PG Cougars captain and CHL top defenceman (2001-02) is also in the elite company having won an Olympic gold medal (2014 in Sochi) and an appearance in the Stanley Cup final with the 2011 Canucks.

“That Olympic one might be number one. I mean that was such a cool experience to go over there and I brought my wife with me and we were able to take in a lot of the Olympics experience watching other events. Being apart of that Team Canada squad was awesome” said Hamhuis in an interview with Brendan Pawliw of mypgnow.com one day after announcing his retirement.

After he was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the first round, 12th overall in 2001, Hamhuis played his first six NHL seasons with the Predators.

When the opportunity arose in 2010 to return to his home province he did not hesitate, signing with the Canucks.

“It was a really special run of six years there starting off with that run to the Stanley Cup finals taking it to Game 7 with a great group of guys and it was so much fun playing in that city – it was unfortunate not to win that last game. That run goes down as one of the highlights of my career.”

Following the disappointment of Vancouver not re-signing him after the 2015-16 season, Hamhuis would play two years with the Dallas Stars before finishing his career with two more years back in Nashville.

He never got a chance to participate in the 2020 playoffs as Nashville went out in the qualifying round losing 3-1 to Arizona.

Hamhuis admitted in a special 54-minute Cat Scan podcast this week how difficult it was to watch the four post-season games against the Coyotes from the sidelines, knowing he was healthy enough to play in what has turned out to be his final season.

Although he would love to continue to compete at the highest level, Hamhuis, as difficult as it might be to accept,  has started to come to grips that father time has caught up to him.

“The last couple of years we kind of knew that it was going to be probably sooner than later because of the age of my kids and the family situation. Going into this year, we had the sense this was probably going to be the last year but didn’t want to close any doors on it.”

There may not be another player from Smithers, (population 5,351) that will enjoy the success Hamhuis did.

After playing single A hockey in his hometown, Hamhuis headed to Prince George where he thought he would be playing with the Spruce Kings but the Cougars were so impressed they invited him to their camp where he would be a mainstay for the next four years.

“At the time when making the jump I didn’t think much of it, I was just kind of eyes wide open and before you know it I was playing for the Cougars and went on with it. Looking back on it, it was incredible the jump from single-A to the WHL and that first year making the team was a major accomplishment.”

“Year two on the Cougars I kind of took on a significant role and then by year three I just continued on with that trajectory and I set myself up to make the World Junior team and got drafted by Nashville in the first round and then that fourth year I felt like I had taken another step.”

The 2001-02 season for Hamhuis included him being named top defenceman in the WHL and CHL and a silver medal performance with Team Canada during his second year at the World Juniors.

As a member of the EdgePro Sports Group that purchased the PG Cougars in 2014, he will now get a chance to spend more time watching the team, perhaps giving them a hand when called upon.

“To see a few home games in Prince George is something I am looking forward too,” mentioned Hamhuis.

His immediate future is to remain where he is most comfortable.

“We really like the community here in Smithers with lots of great friends and family and we like the activities it provides. There has been so much uncertainty over the last six months we just thought that being up here in Smithers and getting the girls signed up in school here would be a better start for our family now.”

He has travelled many parts of the world, but for Dan Hamhuis, in the early days of retirement, there is no place like home.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK

Good. The referees can’t tell what I’m saying.

*Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets on what it is like coaching with a mask on

After over 130 students tested positive, along with 5 staffers, the University of North Carolina abruptly stopped ALL in-person classes. This might be a bad omen for college football if ACC players were actually expected to attend classes.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The 2020 CFP National Championship Game featured LSU and Clemson. With all of the major conferences shutting down, is it possible that the 2021 Game could feature Hofstra and Slippery Rock?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Seattle cut Kemah Siverand after the rookie cornerback was caught on video trying to sneak a woman — dressed in Seahawk players’ gear — into the NFL team’s hotel. That’s what you call disguising your coverage.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman reportedly paid his ex-wife $1.75 million as part of their divorce settlement. Probably the biggest hit he’s ever taken in the pocket.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca