‘Canucks Captains’ book brings back memories

Gary Beale worked on a memorabilia book chronicling the Vancouver Canucks’ captaincy.

Gary Beale worked on a memorabilia book chronicling the Vancouver Canucks’ captaincy.

For local photographer Gary Beale, working on a memorabilia book that chronicles the Vancouver Canucks’ captaincy over the years was both a welcome change of pace, and a challenge.

Most days, Beale is snapping photos of catalogue merchandise – outdoor clothing, stuffed animals, cast-iron bathtubs, and the like.

So when publisher Jason Farris pulled up to Beale’s Aldergrove studio several months ago with a truckload of hockey gear – collectible cards, game-used sticks and jerseys, and photos – it put a smile on his face.

“It was different,” said Beale, 58. “Jason comes in with all this memorabilia, lays it all out and says, ‘Here. Make some sense of this.’

“It was a bit of a challenge.

“Stacks of printed memorabilia, a bag filled with hockey sticks, that sort of deal.”

Beale’s camerawork graces the pages of “Hockey Play-by-Play – Canuck Captains,” a 32-page program-style book in honour of the local NHL club’s 40th anniversary. Images of memorabilia from 10 players who wore the ‘C’ for the Canucks – including Orland Kurtenbach, Don Lever, Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden and Roberto Luongo – are blended with photos of handwritten game notes from broadcasters Jim Robson and John Shorthouse.

Beale isn’t necessarily a hardcore hockey fan, but he was fascinated to flip through the play-by-play notebooks.

“Those guys, I don’t know how they do it,” he marvelled. “They’re doing the play-by-play, and they’re also jotting down all of those details at the same time.

“Leafing through those was pretty cool.”

Working on the Canucks book also triggered a flood of memories for Beale. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, he worked at a Vancouver studio that did the Canucks team photos.

“It took me back, some of those images I was working with,” he said with a smile. “I remembered shuffling lights around for some of those jobs.”

The book is available online at canuckcaptains.com and in-store at B.C. London Drugs locations. The cost is $14.99, and $4 from each book sold goes directly to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Canuck Place is currently raising funds for a facility adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

“It’s very gratifying to be able to work on a project like that,” Beale said.