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Wearing their Canucks pride

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Paper and plastic are two things most people try to recycle, but Canucks jerseys? Fans typically cling to them for dear life.

Vancouver is guilty of having changed sweaters a few times over the years and to some, it’s current jersey or nothing at all. The vintage look just isn’t for them.

The Canucks recently used that mindset to their advantage in running a promotion through the Canucks Team Store where fans were encouraged to bring in their gently used jerseys in exchange for a 40% off a new replica.

The campaign ran at the beginning of the season and in September alone 587 jerseys were brought in for charity with the majority being the burgundy and blue Canucks jerseys.

Seeing as how quite a few Canucks fans throughout British Columbia aren’t fortunate enough to have any jerseys at all, the Canucks turned around and donated all the second-hand sweaters to remote schools throughout the province.

Head of the Lake School, part of the Lower Stl’atl’imx Tribal Council – a non-profit organization striving to enhance the ability and capacity of their communities to meet the challenges in its development – was a major benefactor of the jersey program receiving 50 sweaters for the students and community.

Located in Skatin, BC, on a reserve approximately an hour and a half down a logging road outside of Pemberton, Head of the Lake School is isolated in its surroundings. As teacher Sally Paddock pointed out, that can be a good and bad thing.

While the great outdoors gives students and the elementary and junior high school a vast, wondrous playground, being so remote means no telephone lines, only radio and internet communication.

More of Paddock’s students are Canucks fans than not, so just like the rest of the province, they’re constantly keeping tabs on the team any way possible.

On December 12, 2009, that wasn’t much of an issue.

Twenty students and staff members were invited to GM Place that night to watch the Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3. You’d have been hard pressed to find a more excited group of fans, each beaming with pride thanks to reused jerseys donated by the Canucks.

“For most of the kids, once they put on the jerseys, they decided they were never taking them off,” said Paddock, a Manitoba product in her first year teaching full-time, who looks after 15 students from grades four through 10. “They wear them to school, on the bus, playing with friends, everywhere basically.”

The students who attend the game, the majority experiencing NHL hockey live for the first time, were the ones that finished a set amount of school work by a specific time. Turns out teachers are telling the truth in saying that hard work pays off.

“Most of them don’t enjoy going to school really, but it’s a good place for them to be with friends and learn and having a reward like this was a great way to encourage that,” said Paddock, adding that she couldn’t get over all the smiles she was seeing from her students.

“It’s pretty fun to just let them be themselves here instead of having to control them. I’m enjoying being around them in this setting instead of in a classroom and you can tell that they love that as well.”

Head of the Lake School was one of nine BC schools that received donated jerseys from the Canucks; others included Little Prairie Elementary, Chetwynd; Alexis Creek Elementary/Secondary, Alexis Creek; Hartley Bay Elem-Jr Secondary, Hartley Bay; Wells Barkerville Elementary, Wells; Sk'aadgaa Naay Elementary, Skidegate; Hudson's Hope School, Hudson's Hope; Twain Sullivan Elementary, Houston; and Buick Creek Elementary, Buick.

In total 400 jerseys were donated meaning 400 fans can now display their Canucks pride like never before.

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