Stan Smyl made an unusual commitment to his career by leaving his Alberta home at the tender age of 13 to play junior hockey with the Bellingham Blazers in British Columbia. He then quickly advanced to the New Westminster Bruins where he played three seasons of rock solid, two-way hockey.
By the time he was drafted 40th overall in the 1978 Amateur Draft, Smyl had fashioned himself as a feisty winger whose trademark was consistency. Standing only 5' 8" at best, he patterned his game on the solid work ethic of his heroes--Alan Stanley, Eddie Shack and Keith Magnuson. He was determined to prove that, in spite of his size, he was a heavyweight in achieving results.
During his first training camp, he caught notice as a determined body-checker. He quickly sought out the biggest man on the ice, Harold Snepsts, and clobbered him. The fallen giant recognized immediately that Smyl was the kind of player the Canucks needed. He took the rookie under his wing, commending him for the hit.
From 1978 until his retirement in 1991, Smyl served as a quintessential Canucks player. His career highlight came in making the Stanley Cup finals in 1982. The acrobatics of goaltender Richard Brodeur and the fans' tradition of swinging white towels in the air made for the most exhilarating series of his career. Unfortunately, the Canucks bowed out to the powerhouse Islanders.
Over the course of his 13 seasons in Vancouver, Smyl set all-time club records for games played, goals, assists, and points. He also holds the distinction of having served the longest term as team captain. The finishing touch to his on-ice career came when his #12 was retired by the Canucks in 1991.
Since leaving the ice, Smyl has remained with the club as an assistant coach.