By Collin Gallant on July 19, 2014.
Derek Dorsett is said to be one of those player who’s more popular in a home jersey than away; a gritty agitator who you love when he’s in your own dressing room, but not so much when he’s on the visitors bench.
The theory will be put to the test this fall when the former Medicine Hat Tiger — and one-time scourge of the Vancouver Giants — puts on a Vancouver Canucks jersey in the lower mainland.
“I think they’ll warm up,” said Dorsett, fresh off an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and back in Medicine Hat to take part in Friday’s Tigers alumni charity golf tournament.
“I just have to go, play hard, play the same way I played against the Giants, and the Canucks, and I’ll get them on my side.
“I kind of get it wherever I go.”
Dorsett, acquired by Vancouver last month from the New York Rangers, became Public Enemy No. 1 for Giants fans during the 2007 WHL league finals and Memorial Cup.
He scored the only goal in a Tigers round robin win over the Giants in the Memorial Cup tournament that the home-side eventually won.
Before that there was an ongoing edgy feud with Kendall McArdle that began with a fight off the faceoff in early games and reached its peak when Dorsett was suspended for biting McArdle’s gloved hand in a face-washing scrum.
With the Canucks out of the playoffs at the time, all of hockey-crazed Vancouver keyed in on Dorsett as some sort of ghoul.
Former Tiger bench boss, current Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said will be forgiven in the lower mainland if Dorsett brings the style of game that made him a favourite of junior hockey fans in Medicine Hat, and NHL fans in Columbus and New York.
“People’s opinions change just like the player who you hate on the other team, they’ll love him when he gets traded,” said Desjardins.
“He’s not afraid to go hard and that’s how we want him to play.”
Dorsett and Desjardins were among about 40 former Tigers alumni who took part in Friday’s golf including Curtis Valk, who recently attended Canucks prospect development camp in hopes of securing a minor league tryout contract.
“It felt good, the workouts went well,” said Valk.
Along with Dorsett, the rebuilding Canucks under new president Trevor Linden and coached by Desjardins have also picked up former Hat scoring leader Linden Vey from the Los Angeles Kings.
“It was a good fit with those two and we’ll see how it works out,” said Desjardins.
Also in the fold are former Tiger Hunter Shinkaruk as the team’s first round draft pick in 2013. Sinkaruk, whose 2013-14 season ended with hip surgery, also appeared at the Canucks camp with Valk.
“The problem with that level is that there are so many great players. It’s tough,” said Desjardins. “Both (Valk and Shinkaruk) looked really good at camp.”
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