The Canucks won’t be lacing up to play at Rogers Arena for at least two weeks and likely much longer, putting at risk roughly $1.2 million in donations that flow from the hockey club to charities such as Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
To help fill the gap, veteran Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa and a roster of his pro hockey pals—dubbed “Bieksa’s Buddies”—will play a charity game against the University of B.C. men’s hockey team.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. Oct. 17 charity scrimmage at Doug Mitchell Sports Centre go on sale Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m.
Joining Bieksa are Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, Max Lapierre, Cory Schneider and 2012 Stanley Cup champion and former Canuck, Willie Mitchell.
“We understand that there are many people impacted by the NHL lockout and we know charities such as Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Canucks Family Education Centre and Canucks Autism Network need funds to continue operating their programs,” Kevin Bieksa said in a statement released by UBC.
“These organizations do great work for our community. It is important for my Buddies and I to lend a hand and with the help of the UBC Thunderbirds. We have the perfect opportunity to do so.”
Net proceeds from the game will benefit Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Canucks Autism Network and the Canucks Family Education Centre.
Annual charitable support from Vancouver Canucks funds 14 to 25 per cent of the operating cost of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice said Debbie Butt, the director of communications and marketing for the hospice.
“They’ve been a huge partner. Frankly, on a year-to-year basis, they’ve been a very committed partner,” she said, noting not-for-profits are vulnerable to financial shifts. “There are market crashes and there are lockouts.”
To continue clinical care, palliative services and support for families, Butt said the hospice will have to seek other sources of funding at a time when they are building new facilities in Abbotsford.
“They were actually really very helpful because they let us know a long time in advance that there was a possibility of a lockout,” she said.
For 17 years the Canucks have supported the hospice, which is located in Shaughnessy and provides pediatric palliative care for dying children and supports approximately 400 B.C. families annually. The hospice offers end-of-life care for children and teens with progressive, terminal illness as well as respite for families, pain and symptom management for young patients and bereavement services for siblings and parents.
For tickets for the Bieksa Buddies charity game against the Thunderbirds, visit ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000.