Vancouver, BC - The Vancouver Canucks, Canucks for Kids Fund and Canucks Autism Network (CAN) are proud to host Autism Awareness Night at Rogers Arena on Saturday, March 30th when the Canucks take on the Dallas Stars. As an official launch into April as Autism Awareness Month and in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, the game will feature a number of pre and in-game elements to bring awareness and support to this neurodevelopmental disability. Highlights include:
- Family friendly Party on the Plaza from 5:00pm - 7:00pm on the Toyota Plaza outside Rogers Arena featuring family-friendly activities, giveaways and games
- 15-year-old Dylan Okimaw, who lives with autism, will sing both national anthems
- 25-year-old Ryan Chilton, who lives with autism, will join PA announcer Al Murdoch
- CAN Surrey Stingrays hockey team will play the mini minor game during the first intermission
- CAN decals on all Canucks player helmets
- CAN lapel pins on all Canucks coaches and broadcasters
- Additional blue lighting around the exterior of Rogers Arena (the internationally recognized colour of autism)
"We are thrilled to support comprehensive autism accessibility initiatives at Rogers Arena," said Stephanie Jull, PhD, VP of Programs, Training & Community Engagement. "Such initiatives will ensure that individuals and families with autism will be understood, accepted and supported at Rogers Arena events."
"The Canucks Autism Network has and continues to provide outstanding support and resources for individuals living with autism," said Paolo Aquilini, President, Canucks for Kids Fund. "The month of April and specifically World Autism Day on April 2 is a great opportunity to learn about the initiatives and programs CAN offers year-round."
Rogers Arena is proud to be designated an "Autism Aware" facility, with services and resources designed to support fans with autism as they attend Vancouver Canucks games, concerts and other events. Such services and resources include Sensory Kits available free of charge at each Guest Services location (containing noise-blocking earphones for loan, generously donated by Honeywell, a sensory toy, ID bracelet, a Visual Storybook, arena map and game-night timeline), as well as a Quiet Room for fans with sensory sensitivities (based on availability and by request). Video Storybooks, which help fans to better prepare themselves for what to expect while attending Canucks games, are also available on canucks.com and rogersarena.com.
In addition, more than 100 Rogers Arena Event Staff have received specialized training on how to recognize autism and how to best interact and communicate with those on the spectrum. These staff can be identified by their I CAN Help lapel buttons. The existing Fan Text line can also be used to dispatch a trained staff member in a situation involving an individual with autism.
About Canucks Autism Network
Founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners Paolo and Clara Aquilini, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs to individuals and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia. Last year, CAN delivered 501 programs across BC. CAN currently supports over 4,768 individuals and families living with autism and relies on over 650 dedicated volunteers and over 598 trained staff on an annual basis to deliver their sports and rec programs province-wide. Autism is characterized by difficulties with social communication, sensory sensitivities and repetitive behaviour, as well as a wide range of individual strengths, interests and abilities. An estimated 1 in 66 Canadian children has autism with more than 16,000 children and youth living with autism in British Columbia alone. Autism is almost five times more common in boys than in girls.