Our Dinner Date with
Matt Cooke and Andrew Cassels

As members of the Canucks Booster Club, we were all invited to the Annual Players Dinner at Planet Hollywood on February 26, 2000.  It was a VERY exciting evening. Here's a few different views on what went on at the dinner!

Jodi's Story
    Ever year, about the same time, we have a GREAT Canuck encounter! Last February it was the Carnival with Dave, and now it's the Players Dinner!  Helena tried her hardest not to tell us who was going to be there, but we all guessed right.  Well, one of the two... Matt Cooke and Andrew Cassels!  Andrew was a real sweet guy and when he talks to you, he looks you DIRECTLY in the eye. No matter how many people are sitting between you and him, he'll find a way to get that eye contact! But the real story here is Matt.  Pam and Jennie picked me up from work and we headed downtown.  When we got there Jen and Michelle had saved a table already, table #4. We each got numbers for prizes and I got 22, but only cause Jennie took my #24... :)  The number ended up being a lucky one cause it's Matt's number!  After the players were introduced, they drew numbers to see what tables they'd be sitting at.  What number does Matt choose? Why #4 of course!!! Our table wasn't completely full, but we let Matt sit next to Jen's friend Jason, so he could "protect" Matt from us girls.  Matt was kinda shy at first, but tried to join in on our conversations and spark new ones as well.  My favourite part of the evening came when I wanted a refill on my drink. I'd been trying to get the waitress' attention for about 10 minutes and she was standing behind Matt. He asked me if I wanted him to ask her for me, which I did, so he said "Excuse Me". And what does she do? Picks up an empty glass and walks away! Totally snubbing Matt! The look on his face was priceless. Another funny Matt moment came when we went to sing Helena Happy Birthday. Matt all of a sudden turns around to face Andrew and starts pretending like he's doing a little strip number! Too funny.
    After dinner, the boys went up to the front and we had a little Question and Answer period. I asked a few questions, mainly cause Helena was too shy to ask so she got me too! My question was "Who do you room with on the road?"  Andrew rooms with Markus Naslund (who he says in the funniest, silliest guy), and Matt rooms with Peter Schaefer (who's pretty quiet and likes to watch in-room movies).  Helena got me to ask what they're most memorable moments [on the ice] were. Andrew said it was his first game with the Montreal Canadiens in which he scored his 1st NHL goal. Matt said he had 3 :)  The first was the World Junior Championships in Finland in which they won the gold medal, his second was his 1st NHL game last season (where he did NOT score his 1st goal) and his third WAS that 1st NHL goal, which took him 43 games and just happened last month! After the Q&A we went and had group pictures. Andrew sat right next to me :)  And finally they signed a few autographs before they left. Sunday was a game night, so they weren't allowed to stay out too late :)
    All in all it was a VERY fun evening and I can't wait for next year's Player's dinner!

Meeko's Story
I flew out for the weekend to go the Canucks Booster Club player dinner.. and it was worth the price of
airfare!
    Helena kept us in suspense as to who the players would be, although at the game the night before our main guess was Matt Cooke... we were right! Matt Cooke and Andrew Cassels were the players that appeared for the dinner. We had no idea that Andrew would be one of them, although through members who were sitting at his table we learned that while on other teams he always went to dinners, etc. with booster club members.
    When we arrived we were given the option of choosing which table we could sit at, the choice was between 1 and 4. I figured why not go for 4.. since that's the number that Hedican wear's for the Panthers. It turned out to be a good choice, as this was the table that Matt Cooke drew so he had the pleasure of dining with us (well it was a pleasure for us anyways).  He was saved from totally being surrounded by girls by Jen's friend Jason who sat next to him on his right side (no one was on the left). Jennie sat opposite of him, so that must have been interesting.. but you can read about that in her encounter.
    We asked him questions throughout the dinner, including mine which was can you give Jason some
pointers on getting his first NHL goal (which Cookie just did recently). He didn't really say if he would.. lol. But we told him that we started the first goal pool, and Jen included the fact that we were going to start one for him, but then he scored his first goal =)  Also Matt mentioned that he lives in Richmond, that came up when Jen was talking about how its long distance for her to all some places around Vancouver. Another interesting tidbit is that Matt was almost signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his contract (or something that effect) was never sent in to the NHL. They were talking to the guy on CBC at the time who did the contract, so Matt said we could thank him for the reason he ended up with the Canucks, although he honestly told us that he'd like to play for Toronto, the main reason being is that he is from Ontario. Cookie was not drafted the first year he entered the draft, it took a second try before the Canucks drafted him. After the dinner there was a question and answer period. Some of the questions included who they room with on the road. Andrew answered with Markus Naslund, who he said is a pretty funny guy, and not the quiet guy he appears to be. Matt rooms with Peter Schaefer, who he said is a quiet guy who likes to hang out in the hotels and get room service and in-room movies. Another question was how they got there start in hockey. For Matt he started skating at the age of 2, and he wanted to play in the NHL ever since. Andrew was 4 when he started.
    Overall the dinner was a success, although the players had to leave at 8:30 since they it was the night
before a game. We got group pics taken with them, and they signed autographs quickly just before they left.