A street that Vancouver Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis once called home is being renamed after him.
The north end section of First Avenue between Toronto Street and Dogwood Park was renamed Dan Hamhuis Way at a special city council meeting Thursday afternoon.
“It's a really big honour to have a street named after me,” said Hamhuis. “I've always been really proud to be from Smithers and to represent our city in all my hockey travels. I'm grateful for what Smithers has given me too . . . as well as the great people in the town who have volunteered so much of their time to allow young athletes to pursue their dreams of playing professional [hockey] or in the Olympics.”
Hamhuis said he has fond memories of the street he grew up on and the nearby Dogwood Park.
“It was the perfect little dead-end street for playing road hockey,” he said. “From what I remember and what my parents tell me, I was out there every day — in the summer playing roller hockey in my shoes and in the winter, putting my winter boots on and playing out there as well.”
Hamhuis said the hours spent playing street hockey helped him achieve his dreams of playing in the NHL.
“A big part of why I was successful is the time and skill development I was able to have out there,” he said, adding that him and his family still find time to work out at the track.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach said the gold-medal-winning Olympian has been a role model for young athletes and has helped significantly in the effort to build the new arena.
“It's something that has been talked about for 20 years and he kicked off the fundraiser with a very significant personal donation and he's been a real leader in the fundraising campaign,” said Bachrach. “I don't think we could ask for a better ambassador for Smithers.”
Coun. Bill Goodacre played hockey with Hamhuis' dad, Marty, briefly and said Hamhuis is still idolized in the town.
“He's a hometown hero,” he said. “There isn't a kid in this town who doesn't know who he is.”