Mike Downie, shows off the illustration of late brother Gord Downie’s final tour hat worn with The Tragically Hip, on the back of a goalie mask to be auctioned off by the Victoria Royals as part of a variety of team activities raising money for the Downie Wenjack 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

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.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Man flees Bay Centre after daytime sexual assault in downtown Victoria

The suspect physically and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl shopping with a friend

Chinese New Year takes to the streets of Victoria

Hundreds brave chilly temperatures to usher in the Year of the Dog

Storm snuffs out lights on Saanich’s Ten Mile Point

Environment Canada wind warning calls for a brief “respite” before winds of up 90 kilometres resume

Sidney fire fighters get their first truck back

After years of neglect, the truck is running just fine

Sidney’s taxes going up this year

Town calls increase “modest,” represent a $34/year jump for the average household

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

School shooting unfathomable to Saanich student

Claremont Grade 10 student reflects on the carnage inflicted on U.S. schools

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Most Read