Finishing his lengthy NHL career against the Canucks with a Stanley Cup victory in Vancouver in front of family and friends ranks right at the top of Mark Recchi’s hockey memories. Seattle and Vancouver Hockey Insider caught up with the Kamloops Blazers co-owner as his club finished up hosting the 2023 Memorial Cup this past weekend.
He grew up above the banks of the Thompson River, played for the Blazers, and after a Hockey Hall of Fame playing career still spends his summers back home in BC.
“We showcased Kamloops, that’s what we wanted, we wanted to show people what Kamloops is all about and how great a place this is,” Recchi told us on the Memorial Cup’s last day. “We came up a little shy in the hockey part, but everything else, people are leaving Kamloops saying this was an amazing event.”
The Blazers finished fourth in the tournament behind the semi-finalist Peterborough Petes, the finalist Seattle Thunderbirds, and the champion Quebec Remparts.
Recchi can empathize with falling just short in a major junior hockey race. His two Blazers teams in the late 1980’s couldn’t get over a hump called the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Tigers not only came out of the Western Hockey League in both 1987 and 1988, they won the Memorial Cup both years as well.
While Recchi’s Blazers featured future NHLers Rob Brown and Greg Hawgood, the Medicine Hat club was stacked, led in part by a kid named Trevor Linden. The future Canucks captain scored two goals in the 1987 Memorial Cup championship game about a month after his 17th birthday. He followed that up with a 110 point season, a 2nd straight Cup title, and became the 2nd-overall pick in the 1988 NHL Draft behind Mike Modano.
“We had a great (WHL) series with them, they had a great team, we were proud of how we kind of got it, but we were just a couple of games shy of getting there,” Recchi recalled. “They deserved it, they went on to win.”
Big Series Vs Canucks
Recchi would go on to have the more distinguished NHL career, finishing with 577 regular season goals and 1,533 points. After his 2nd full season in the league he helped the PIttsburgh Penguins win a Stanley Cup in 1991 with 34 points in 24 playoff games.
The following winter near the trade deadline he was moved to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a 1st-round pick in a deal that included current Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet coming the other way. “Tock” would get his one Cup as a player with the Penguins in 1992.
That small hockey world.
In 2006 “Recks” would get Stanley Cup number-two as a trade deadline rental for the Carolina Hurricanes, contributing 16 points in 25 playoff games.
Five years later he’d get another.
After 22 seasons in the NHL, Recchi finished back on top of the hockey mountain at the expense of the Vancouver Canucks. Traded to the Boston Bruins from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the winter of 2009, Recchi retired after winning his third career Stanley Cup in 2011, able to skate with the chalice in front of family and friends in his home province.
As we mention in the interview below, Recchi became the oldest player to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final game at the age of 43. He actually had three of them during the Final, two of them in a pivotal Game-3. Recchi actually led the Bruins in scoring against the Canucks during the series.
Recchi played the 8th most regular season games in NHL history and stands as the 13th all-time leading scorer. He was inducted into both the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.