Canucks: Rick Tocchet makes hospital visit the night before Blues game

Rick Tocchet is a true people person. He visited former Blues player Kelly Chase in hospital on Wednesday evening.

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One thing we’re coming to learn about Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet: he cares about people.

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Since being hired in Vancouver last January, Tocchet has spoken openly about his players and companions, showing a high level of emotional intelligence about the needs of others, about how he can support those around him.

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He’s big on talking, on learning from others, on doing what he can to understand people. The way the players on the Canucks talk about him, it’s clear he’s made a deep and personal connection with his players.

And it’s clear his list of friends around hockey is long, which isn’t a surprise the more we learn about his positive and supportive personality.

The latest example of this: Tocchet spent hours visiting Kelly Chase, former St. Louis Blues enforcer and radio broadcaster, in a St. Louis hospital Wednesday evening, a day before Tocchet’s Canucks were to take on the Blues in the first game of a seven-game road trip.

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Chase has been battling cancer for some time and in a picture he posted Thursday morning on X, formerly known as Twitter, Chase was looking to show how Tocchet’s visit was boosting his spirits. Known for sporting a long mane of hair, Chase’s head is now shorn close, a sign that he’s undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

“You have a real friend that will spend four hours in a hospital room the night before a game on the road. First Class Tocc. All around winner,” Chase wrote.

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“He really cares,” Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told Postmedia Thursday morning.

Learning about how much Tocchet cares about people has been an impressive thing, I noted to Rutherford.

“I am sure. I experienced the same thing 11 or 12 years ago,” Rutherford replied.

Last month, ahead of the Blues’ Hockey Fights Cancer night, Chase shared a message with Blues fans:

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