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

Gord DowneyVictoria RoyalsWHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay police seek suspect who broke into liquor store on Cadboro Bay Road

The incident happened at 2:50 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17

MISSING: VicPD seeks 33-year-old man last heard from in August

Scott Grier could have been travelling in Alberta, police say

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

B.C. to begin publicly listing COVID-19 school exposure events

Move follows weeks of criticism from parents, the public

Most Read