An Open Letter to Francesco Aquilini

By: Trent Leith / November 20, 2021  

Dear Mr. Aquilini,

I am writing to you, not to throw stones or call names, but to beg you to make some much needed changes to the Vancouver Canucks. As you know, maybe better than anyone, Vancouver is an incredible hockey market with some of the most passionate fans the sport has to offer and unfortunately, they have been broken. 

We all saw the passion in 2011 during the run for the Stanley Cup as fans flooded the streets to watch the games. We see it after wins in the playoffs when Scott Road turns into a party. Sadly though these fans have been led on, and gaslit by you and the management that you have put in place. 

When Jim Benning was hired in 2014 he said “I’m not a patient person. We expect to win because we hate losing. I can’t watch losing hockey. I can’t.” 

One of those statements was true, and one was not. Benning is in fact not a patient person, he’s shown it time and time again trading picks to go all in on teams that were not ready to be a contender. The second statement was that he can’t watch losing hockey, and well, clearly he can. 

It has been eight years of losing. Benning has done almost nothing but lose and sometimes his decision making honestly makes you think that he prefers it. You could argue that the Canucks were a winning team in the bubble, and it could be equally argued that even then, they were not on track to make the playoffs. Shy of changing the rules of the league to allow the Canucks a second chance to qualify, the Canucks were to be on the outside of the playoffs looking in once again. 

It’s no longer time to preach patients yet again, the fans have been patient. The fans have sat through eight years of being told the team is almost there. The fans have continued to buy jerseys and tickets despite seemingly endless losing, but the management team that you have put in place has done nothing but accelerate the rebuilding process time and time again and it has never worked. 

You are bleeding fans, and as an owner of a product that means so much to those in and out of BC, you have an obligation to do everything you can to help lead this team to success. Your legacy as a professional sports team owner is on the line. Your paying fans and season ticket holders are on the line. 

It’s time to make a change. It’s time to hire a GM with a fresh perspective. It is time to take your hands off the wheel and it’s time to let your new general manager manage. 

You have a team with lots of incredibly talented players. You have a core that with the right help, could become a winning team. As a fan, I beg you to make the changes necessary to salvage the team before it’s too late. It’s time for fundamental change in this organization. 

From, Trent Leith