|Photo Credit: canucksarmy.com|
His parents, Marty and Ida, put him in hockey at the age of 4 and he would often be skating alongside kids as old as 8. Dan recalls many winters sharpening his skills on the backyard rink his dad made for him and eventually he would go on to win the minor hockey provincial championship with the Smithers Storm.
Dan would go on to be a major player with the team becoming their Rookie of the Year in 1999, 2 time Scholastic player of the Year, Most Dedicated and finally MVP for the team in 2002. In his years with Prince George he would be named the WHL’s best defenseman and player of the year as well as the CHL’s top defenseman. Hamhuis would also meet his future wife in the city.
In the 2003-2004 season Hamhuis made the Predators team right out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal on October 16th against St. Louis. During the lock out of 04-05 Dan played again for Milwaukee and then another 5 seasons with the Predators. In the 05-06 season he led all Nashville players in ice time and had a +11 rating. In the later years his role began to shrink with the emergence of young star defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
Dan helped the Canucks win their first President’s Trophy that year. The next season they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals although he suffered a sports hernia in the first game. He has traveled to Haiti on behalf of the NHLPA’s charity work there and also partnered with Manny Malhotra to have a playground built for Edmonds Community School which serves under privileged children in the Burnaby area. Dan continues to play for Vancouver with one year left on his contract.
|Matt Duchene responds on Twitter to Dan’s quote: “Amazing quote from a current @HockeyCanada teammate... Couldn't be more true”|
Dan’s year in Milwaukee (2002-03) was difficult but turned out to also be a major turning point for him in his faith. There he met and was challenged by the team chaplain named Iggy Cofaro with Hockey Ministries International. Dan recalls that Iggy reminded him, “ That growing up and knowing about God was not good enough. He painted a vivid picture of Jesus’s love for us through…the cross. This ...inspired me to live the way Jesus taught and demonstrated for us.”
Dan went on to say “I was actually kind of mad at him ( Iggy ) for giving me that message, because I was pretty comfortable where I was at, sorting picking and choosing where I wanted to be a Christian or not… (but) that’s when I really started to grow as a Christian”
|Prince George Citizen|
On personally phoning the Cougar’s draft picks to inform them of their new team, Hamhuis says, "We all kind of thought [at the draft in Calgary] that would be a neat way to start it off and make those kids feel important…It is a big deal that they're part of this and part of our franchise.”
Dan Hamhuis has represented the Province of British Columbia, his country, his teams and his faith in an excellent manner over his long career - and for all of this I tip my hat to him.
Sources & Further Reading:
The Hockey News: http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/thn-in-sochi-why-the-2014-gold-medal-mens-hockey-team-is-canadas-best-ever/
The Vancouver Sun: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Iain+MacIntyre+Canucks+defenceman+Hamhuis+still+working+approach+with+video/10293082/story.html#ixzz3hur6Hmgb
Prince George Citizen : http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/sports/hamhuis-deepens-his-p-g-roots-1.1019763
"Toward the Goal: Stories of Faith, God & Hockey" Cathy Ellis copyright 2012 Hockey Ministries International