VANCOUVER -- Tonight's NHL contest at Rogers Arena between the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks is the intersection of many careers and storylines.
Ten Canucks have played games for Winnipeg's old AHL team, the Manitoba Moose. Vancouver has two Manitobans, Aaron Rome and Dale Weise. Jets' forward Tanner Glass went to the Stanley Cup final with the Canucks last spring.
And for their only meeting of this regular season, both teams will be wearing helmet decals remembering Rick Rypien, the former Canucks and Moose tough guy who signed with the Jets last summer but then committed suicide before training camp began.
"When you have a loss, time heals all wounds" said Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks defenceman who was Rypien's former teammate. "I still think about him, keep in touch with his family, talk to his mom and his brother a lot still. I still look at the sticker on our helmet before every game and say a little prayer.
"He's still in my mind, obviously.
Cory Schneider, who will start in goal for Vancouver tonight, expects Rypien to be on many folks' minds tonight.
"I'm sure people in the crowd will be remembering him," Schneider said. "His close friends, like Kevin, think about him all the time and those of us who played with him and knew him well, it's tough to think about because it's so sad."
In trying to help something good come out of something bad, Bieksa has been front and centre in B.C. in helping the reorganization of www.mindcheck.ca, a website backed by health-care organizations and school divisions designed to help young people identify and understand mental distress, and get help dealing with it.
"We've had a great response right off the bat," Bieksa said. "So far I've been getting a lot of feedback through Twitter, the people at the website, about people thanking me that they've used the website to (get help). I've even had a couple of extreme emails where people say that the website helped saved their lives.
"You don't know if it's true or not but it seems like it's helping people."