The Vancouver Canucks’ signature fundraising event is hosted by the Canucks for Kids Fund. Every Canuck, their families, management, coaches and Canucks Alumni were in attendance.
The evening opened with players working tables at the Canucks Casino, dealing blackjack – ‘Canucks Bucks’ the currency of choice.
Cory Schneider sported a warm, welcoming smile as he dealt cards to a full table of appreciative patrons. When asked if he was as stingy dealing good cards as he is allowing goals on the ice, Cory deferred to the happy, well-dressed crowd at his table.
“You’d have to ask these guys. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but overall it’s a lot of fun. Just honing my dealing skills in case I ever need them. It’s awesome, - one of my favourite nights of the year, and they raise a lot of money for a great cause. We’re always happy to help out.”
In addition to the pre-wine and dine casino games, the mingling crowd perused long tables full of wares for the silent and live auctions.
Highlight items included autographed, game-worn jerseys and sticks from several NHL superstars. Other rare sports memorabilia was up for bidding; there was plenty to fulfill any sports fans’ wildest dreams. Special pins could also be purchased for a chance to win an $8500 Rolex watch.
TC Carling, Executive Director for Canucks For Kids Fund, elaborated on the event’s success.
“Last year was a record setting night for our signature event. We raised over $850,000 in net proceeds, and we’re back to hopefully have another successful night.”
“We’ve got lots of great live auction items, Manny [Malhotra] and Mike [Gillis] are going to have some fun with the mic, put our players into some embarrassing situations up there, hopefully get people to be very generous with their money.”
Cody Hodgson also manned a “funny money” blackjack table, which often had women outnumbering men three to one.
“It’s a great night. A lot of people helped us to get to where we are, so any chance we can give back, be part of this, we’ll do all we can.”
Hodgson had the table in stitches when he dealt himself a couple of aces, then proceeded to ‘split’ them, -an action normally reserved only for players. Tongue in cheek, he turned to a woman playing the hand, “It’s not allowed? Who says that?”
The atmosphere was truly top-notch, with several bartenders doing excellent Tom Cruise “Cocktail” imitations in front of a symmetrical formation of martini and wine glasses. The sprawling dining area was meticulously laid out, - everyone treated to a great view of the main stage.
Many took advantage of the photo booth area, where they had their photo taken with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as Manny Malhotra and Ryan Kesler.
This is the 26th year of the Canucks for Kids Foundation.