There’s no hidden secret behind what propelled Henrik Sedin and twin brother Daniel to the elite of the hockey world during 17 NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. They showed up everyday, put the work in, and always searched for ways to improve.
“We never looked at ourselves as being good, we always looked at all the other top players in the league, so that really made us push,” said Henrik. “That’s been a real secret to our success, never being satisfied.”
This quiet determination leading by example served Henrik well in his eight seasons as Canucks team captain and transformed the Sedins from struggling prospects to the two greatest Vancouver Canucks in history and two of the greatest hockey players to ever play in British Columbia.
Born in the small northern Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik Henrik grew up playing soccer and hockey alongside Daniel. They rose to play for MoDo, the town’s senior hockey team, and in 1998-99 were co-MVP’s of the Swedish Elite League. Drafted 3rd overall in 1999 by Vancouver, Henrik went on to become the Canucks’ all-time leader in games played (1,330), assists (830), and points (1,070).
Playing with skill and vision rarely seen anywhere, Henrik led the Canucks to back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he guided the Canucks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and finished second in playoff scoring.
The 2009-10 season proved Henrik’s greatest as he led the NHL in scoring with 112 points and was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. In 2011 he shared Sweden’s Victoria Scholarship as the national athlete of the year with Daniel. Twice he was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team and three times he played in the NHL All-Star Game. In 2016 Henrik received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and in 2018 he shared the trophy as co-winner with Daniel.
Internationally, Henrik twice represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics helping the Tre Kronor to Olympic gold in 2006. His resume includes three world championship medals: gold in 2013 and bronze in 1999 and 2001. He captained Sweden at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Though the Sedins knew nothing of Vancouver when they first arrived in 2000, the city became home for them and their families. They gave back to the community at every opportunity. In 2010 they donated $1.5 million to BC Children’s Hospital.
“When we first started playing with the Canucks, we realized it was very important to do those kind of things,” said Henrik. “There are families going through some tough, tough things. It’s easy for us to do. It’s never been a question.”
In perhaps the most emotional and exciting farewell in BC history, Henrik and Daniel turned back the clock in their final home game in April 2018, astounding the crowd with their playmaking one more time and finishing with a classic goal—#22 scoring from #33, of course—to win, fittingly, at 2:33 of overtime.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.