New Vancouver Canucks executive Patrik Allvin said Wednesday it was an “honour” to be the NHL’s first Swedish general manager.
In his introductory media conference, Allvin, 47, thanked the organization for “stepping outside the box” by hiring a European general manager, the second in the NHL, joining Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen, who is from Finland.
“It’s a big day for Swedish hockey and the European part of the game,” said Allvin, who appeared via Zoom to meet the media on Wednesday alongside president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, who was on a different Zoom from Vancouver.
Allvin worked alongside Rutherford while the two were with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Allvin over his 16 seasons working his way up from director of amateur scouting before he was promoted to assistant GM in November 2020. The move to Vancouver reunites Allvin with Rutherford, who served as Pittsburgh’s GM from 2014 to 2021 and led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and ’17.
When asked about the direction of the team, Allvin mentioned he wants to build up the Canucks’ depth among the prospect pool, an issue that has frustrated some Canucks fans in the past. He also talked of finding “ways to play a fast and skilled game,” which would fall in line with the approach of the more successful and entertaining teams in the league.
For his part, Rutherford said in his introductory comments that over the years the two spent working together in Pittsburgh, “I learned to respect him not only as a person but as a great hockey guy. I believe he’s a tremendous addition.”
Added Rutherford, “It’s a bit of a surprise that it’s taken this long” for a Swedish GM to be hired, but “now we’re starting to go in this direction.”
Next steps for Allvin, who moved to North America with his wife and two children in 2018, is to meet with other members of the hockey operations staff, get to know the players better, “to evaluate to see where we are” and come up with a plan for the coming trade deadline and draft. He is also interested in getting franchise icons, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, more involved in fostering a good culture withing the team.
Allvin, a former defenceman from Falun, Sweden, spent nine years playing professional hockey in North America and Europe before breaking into scouting with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002.
Rutherford was named the Canucks president of hockey operations and interim GM in early December after the club fired head coach Travis Green, general manager Jim Benning and several other front-office staff.
Rutherford added to his staff Monday, hiring former player agent Emilie Castonguay to be the franchise’s first female assistant manager.
He previously tapped former scout Derek Clancey to fill another assistant GM role, named Canucks legend Stan Smyl vice president of hockey operations and announced that Daniel and Henrik Sedin would continue in their roles as special advisers to the general manager.
Over his playing career, his first seasons in North America were from 1995-97, when he played for the Atlanta Knights and Quebec Rafales of the IHL, and for the Nashville Knights and Pensacola Ice Pilots of the ECHL. While in Europe, Allvin played for Arvika HC (1993-94), IK Vita Hasten (1994-95), Bodens IK (1997-98), Mora IK (1998-99, 2000-02), Leksands IF (1999-2000) and Sparta Sarpsborg (2000-01).
–with files from The Canadian Press