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‘Big Tuna’ and ‘Mr. Sensitive’: How some of the Vancouver Canucks got their nicknames

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WATCH: Global News asked some of the Vancouver Canucks about their nicknames. One player wasn’t too keen about his – Jan 2, 2020

From Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion to Maurice “Rocket” Richard to “Super Mario” Lemieux, hockey has a long tradition of nicknames.

Too often, hockey nicknames fall prey to a familiar pattern — generally a variation of a player’s last name.

The Vancouver Canucks are no different. Elias Pettersson is “Petey,” Tyler Myers is “Mysie” and J.T. Miller is — you guessed it — “Millsy.”

A few of the current Canucks have more old-school nicknames, starting with Jake Virtanen.

The 23-year-old forward is known as Big Tuna, although he’s not exactly sure why.

READ MORE: How some Canucks players got their uniform numbers

According to Virtanen, the name was given to him by former Utica Comets teammate Wacey Hamilton, and for some reason, it stuck.

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“I’ve embraced it fully,” Big Tuna told Global News.

The same can’t be said for one of his teammates.

“That’s Mr. Sensitive,” Virtanen said, pointing to forward Brock Boeser.

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When asked about it, Boeser didn’t seem too keen on the name.

“That’s not a nickname,” he said. “Who said that, Stech [defenceman Troy Stecher]?”
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“I can’t chirp ’em on camera,” he added as he walked away. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

Stecher said Boeser had previously earned the nickname Sunshine.

Stecher says teammate Tyler Myers has been dubbed “Taco” — or rather “Tacko,” after Boston Celtics big man Tacko Fall — since the six-foot-eight defenceman towers over his teammates as does Fall, who stands seven-foot-five.

Stecher says players are getting more creative with nicknames, but names like Petey, Mysie, and Millsy haven’t gone anywhere.

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“Those names are still there,” he said of typical hockey nicknames.

“That’s what everybody calls each other on the ice. But then when you get in the room and you’re not panicking to call for a pass, you can call them what you want.”

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