Just days after he was named the new captain of the Vancouver Canucks, Quinn Hughes paid a visit to the West Kelowna Fire Department Friday.
Hughes and a group of Canucks executives were in town to thank local firefighters for their efforts through B.C.'s worst wildfire season on record, and to announce the team's $250,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross BC Wildfire Appeal.
“We can never say thank you enough to the fire departments for their courage through this horrific wildfire season,” said Jim Rutherford, Canucks President of Hockey Operations.
“To be here with Quinn, and to hear their stories, reminds us all of how important these brave people are to families across B.C. The fact that we are in the Okanagan this weekend at the Penticton Young Stars event allowed this all to happen today.”
During his visit, Hughes met with West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund and local firefighters at the fire hall, and even donned the full firefighting gear.
“As many know, my grandfather was a New York City firefighter for more than 30 years,” said Hughes. “Hearing stories from him and my family undoubtedly had an impact on me growing up, so when Jim asked me if I wanted to be here today, I was honoured to be asked.”
A video from the visit was posted on the Canucks social media.
“[My grandpa] is really proud that I'm in the NHL but he still says it's not too late to take the fire test,” Hughes told a group of firefighters during the visit.
Brolund said the visit was appreciated.
“The last four weeks, we've struggled to recover. The men and women of this department paid a price, their families paid a price,” said Brolund. “Being able to have a few moments of laughter and some camaraderie really meant a lot to us today.”
Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 8, the Canucks held an online auction where fans could bid on “once-in-a-lifetime experiences and prizes.” The auction raised $72,621, and the team's ownership and the Canucks for Kids Fund increased their total donation to $250,000.
“We are so pleased that our fans and our community came together at a time of great need,” said Michael Doyle, President of Canucks Sports and Entertainment Business Operations.
Canucks Captain Quinn Hughes and team executives visited the West Kelowna Fire Department to show appreciation for their extraordinary efforts to protect their community.— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) September 15, 2023
Thanks to #Canucks fans’ bids during the Wildfire auction, topped up by team ownership and the… pic.twitter.com/5iIg7slCjV