The Canucks’ newest defensemen, Jason Garrison, started his career with the Nanaimo Clippers under the helm of head coach, Bill Bestwick in 2003. He played two seasons with the Clippers, tallying 29 goals and 60 assists for a total of 89 points in 109 games.
“In the 04 championship playoff year, he played 30 minutes a night,” recalls Bestwick. “Once he got the confidence and conditioning there was no stopping him. And of course, he perfected his shot from that point and was a feared shooter.” Bestwick says Garrison was a great kid and deserves his success.
Garrison started playing hockey in Whiterock, BC. Since then, he’s been through early morning practices, hard work and long days and they’ve paid off. He feels his years with the Nanaimo Clippers and the closeness of the team helped him get to where he is now. “Great guys, great staff and a great fan base made for a huge two years of learning,” he says.
Garrison says it was always a dream to make it to the NHL. “I never thought my dream would come true, but it did and it came upon me really quickly.”
In 2005, he left the Clippers for three seasons with the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and in 2008 went on to play for the Rochester Americans in the AHL and their NHL affiliate team, the Florida Panthers. He played a total of 5 seasons with the Americans and the Panthers and scored his first NHL goal on March 3rd 2010 versus the Philadelphia Flyers. This year he broke a record for the team with the most goals scored by a defenseman in a single season.
This past summer, he signed a six year $27.6 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks and says simply, “it felt great.”
He says that becoming an NHL player takes hard work mixed with patience. He also thinks it’s important to block out the negatives and keep in the positives.
“Believe in yourself when no one else does,” he says, “and always stay true to who you are.”
– By Tali