Trevor Linden asked to carry Olympic torch

The Canadian Press

9/14/2009 6:11:10 PM

VANCOUVER - The roster of Canadian athletes set to carry the 2010 Olympic torch has added a hockey great who spent years playing for the NHL team hailing from the site of the Games.

Trevor Linden, who deftly handled a stick for the Vancouver Canucks - including as captain for seven seasons - said Monday he recently accepted the request carry the torch in the trek that begins in late October.

"(It) will be a huge honour and really be a real highlight for me," he told The Canadian Press while endorsing the new Electronic Arts' video game NHL 10 at a Vancouver Future Shop.

Though he doesn't yet know what leg he'll be running during the 45,000 kilometre cross-country trip, the retired hockey great said the invitation rouses in him much West Coast pride.

"(I) consider myself a real West Coaster and love this area and I think for Canadians, we're extremely proud of our country," he said.

"We're hosting the world here in a few short months, so it's going to be a lot of fun. And as I, being a Canadian as every Canadian is, we're looking forward to showing our beautiful country off."

Other athletes slated to carry the torch include NBA star Steve Nash from Victoria and Calgary golfer Stephen Ames.

Linden, who was affectionately nicknamed "Captain Canuck," played 19 seasons in the NHL. He also played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. He retired in June 2008.

The torch relay begins its trek in Victoria on Oct. 30. Over 106 days, it will make stops in every province and territory leading up to the lighting of the cauldron at BC Place.

The Games will be held from Feb. 12 to 28 in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., followed by the Paralympics from March 12 to 21.