Newly minted Vancouver Canucks Captain Quinn Hughes paid tribute Friday to firefighters in the Okanagan, which has been ravaged by wildfires that destroyed homes and forced thousands out of their homes.
Hughes brought a $250,000 team donation to the Canadian Red Cross and he and Canucks executives visited the West Kelowna Fire Department to thank firefighters for their efforts.
Hughes, who was named the 15th captain of the team on Monday, said he was honoured to represent the team.
“As many know, my grandfather was a New York City firefighter for more than 30 years,” said the Florida-born defenceman. “Hearing stories from him and my family undoubtedly had an impact on me growing up so when (Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford) asked me if I wanted to be here today, I was honoured to be asked.”
West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said Quinn’s presence was a morale booster.
“To have Quinn visit the firehall meant so much to our team and lifted our spirits at an important time,” he said in a statement.
Hughes and the Canucks team were also in town for the 10th annual Young Stars Classic in Penticton this weekend.
The donation was funded by an online auction that raised about $72,000, with Canucks ownership and the Canucks for Kids Fund contributing the rest.
“We can never say thank you enough to the fire departments for their courage through this horrific wildfire season,” said Rutherford. “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.”
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