The Vancouver Canucks announced their 2020-21 player and fan hero awards before the final home game of the season on Tuesday

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It’s not a big surprise that rookie Nils Höglander has wowed fans this season, even if they have not been able to witness his play in person.

The Swedish rookie came with a reputation for hard-nosed hockey and an elite set of hands that he uses to pot all manner of goals. He didn’t disappoint in his first season in North America and the fans took notice, clearly, as they voted him the Canucks’ most exciting player for the 2020-21 NHL season.

He highlighted his win in Tuesday’s matinee vs. the Calgary Flames with a late first-period goal.

Höglander’s win highlights this season’s list of the annual team awards, which also featured Bo Horvat named the team’s MVP, Quinn Hughes the team’s best defenceman and Tyler Motte being handed a pair of awards, named the team’s unsung hero as well as the Henrik and Daniel Sedin Award for community leadership.

The team also honoured a group of front-line workers, handing out awards for their work in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bryana and Matthew Thacker are the the Fan Hero MVPs, recognizing them as “individuals making an exceptional difference.”

Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes reaches for the puck as it bounces off the glass after being shot around the boards during the team’s final home regular season game at Rogers Arena against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Hughes was named the club’s top defenceman for this season.
Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes reaches for the puck as it bounces off the glass after being shot around the boards during the team’s final home regular season game at Rogers Arena against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Hughes was named the club’s top defenceman for this season. Photo by DARRYL DYCK /The Canadian Press

Bryana is a respiratory therapist who works in an intensive care unit while Matthew is a paediatric registered nurse who also teaches at BCIT. They’re both former competitive hockey players who still play — when it’s safe — in recreational leagues.

Senior activity worker Jen Gendron won the Fan Hero unsung hero award, recognizing the efforts of essential services workers. She has been working full-time since the beginning of the activity to keep residents occupied and entertained — often by making gifts for other vulnerable people in the community — while they’re not able to leave their facility or receive visitors.

Registered nurse Prabhjot Dhillon is the winner of the Fan Hero best defenceman award, recognizing health-care workers and first responders.

She’s been working with seniors who are suffering from physical problems related to COVID-19 while also offering support to those who are struggling with their mental health because they haven’t been able to be visited in person by family.

And Mary Choi and Steve Lee, owners of Mountain Market in North Vancouver, are the Fan Hero most exciting players, recognizing the work of small businesses to help the community.

Along with offering a safe place to shop for essential items, they’ve been making flower arrangements that can be given as gifts to front-line workers as well as offering bouquets to 2020 graduates at Argyle secondary, who saw their graduation ceremony cancelled because of the pandemic.

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