It is not hard to find critics of the Vancouver Canucks’ owners. You can start with any of the general managers and presidents who have worked for Francesco Aquilini’s family, although getting former senior employees to talk on the record may be difficult, complicated by ongoing career aspirations in the National Hockey League.
The Aquilinis are highly-involved local owners who, at times, pay too much attention to what people outside their hockey operations department think of them and their team – in a market going into its 50th year in the NHL and still aching for its first Stanley Cup.
The Canucks haven’t won a playoff series since losing the 2011 Cup final. The current team has missed the playoffs four straight seasons.
This makes the Aquilinis’ – Francesco, Luigi’s eldest son, is the managing partner – three-year contract extension for general manager Jim Benning both surprising and impressive.