Mike Downie, left, co-founder of the Downie Wenjack Fund, holds a goalie mask custom designed and painted as a tribute to Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack. Mike Downie and Victoria Royals general manager Cameron Hope were at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday to unveil the mask, to be auctioned off as part of a variety of team activities raising money for the fund. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria Royals giving a boost to fund inspired by Tragically Hip singer

Downie Wenjack Fund recipient of funds raised starting at tonight’s WHL game vs. Seattle

DON DESCOTEAU

Victoria News

Thousands of Greater Victorians felt connected with The Tragically Hip by attending concerts at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre over the years.

The arena’s anchor tenant, the WHL’s Victoria Royals, are strengthening that connection further with a fundraising venture that got underway at last Friday’s game against the Seattle Thunderbirds and runs for the next few weeks.

Mike Downie, brother of late Hip lead singer Gord Downie and co-founder with him of the Gord Downie/Chanie Wenjack Fund, was in town that day to help promote the fundraiser.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity in the country right now for non-Indigenous Canadians to become more aware of Indigenous lives, to try and move the needle and create a more inclusive country,” he said.

The fund began life a year ago and emerged from Gord Downie’s The Secret Path project, which included an album, graphic novel and animated film, all about the escape of Aboriginal youth Wenjack from a residential school and his subsequent death before he could get back home. It was a way to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to “keep the conversation going” on Indigenous issues, Mike said.

He and other volunteers with the fund were “blown away” when the Royals reached out to ask if they could help.

“With Gord, the association with hockey is just so obvious. This is a rink that Gord started many tours in; started other tours always in Victoria, so it feels really good to here,” Downie said.

A custom-designed goalie mask created by Travis Michael is to be auctioned off on CHL Auctions.

The Royals previously installed a sign board at rink level to help raise awareness, and proceeds from the sale of all of last year’s game-worn jerseys will be donated to the fund.

“When someone like Gord Downie, who we all had a great deal of respect for, says that he cares about something, I think it does wake up a lot of Canadians …,” said Royals general manager Cameron Hope. “It’s just a matter of taking those small steps that we can take to raise awareness and try to inspire people to educate themselves about Indigenous issues in their own communities.

“It’s a simple thing … to just ask people to care. I think Canadians, by and large, care for one another and if you give them a reason to care about an issue and challenge them to educate themselves about it, I think they will.”

For more information about the fund, visit downiewenjack.ca.

Gord DowneyVictoria RoyalsWHL

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island this week

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Sibling squirrels in recovery after sap situation leads to tail amputation

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

(BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
Vancouver Island may not know final election results on Saturday night

Uncertainty stems from high number of mail-in ballots

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

This photo of Wood Elementary School was taken in 2016. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
COVID-19 case reported at Wood Elementary School in Port Alberni

Date of potential exposure was Monday, Oct. 19

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

Documents obtained by Esther Callo, co-founder of FOVH, through a Freedom of Information request that shows an eight-metre easement, to make way for a housing development, that spans 192 metres across the grounds which makes the promised eight-lane track impossible.  (Provided by the Friends of Vic High)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

RCMP are looking for information on the identity of these two individuals, pictured at the Fisherman’s Wharf Dock on Oct. 16, 2020 at approximately 1:30 a.m. Photos supplied by Campbell River RCMP.
RCMP looking for alleged ‘dock pirates’

Thefts, lines cut from Fisherman’s Wharf on Oct. 6.

Nanaimo RCMP arrest man with axe in downtown park. (File photo)
Man seen with axe at Nanaimo park, numerous RCMP officers respond

Incident happened Friday evening at Maffeo Sutton Park

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Most Read