(Jay Wallace - Island Images/Victoria Buzz)

Earlier this year, we marveled at Griffin Outhouse’s new goalie mask, but on November 24, the Victoria Royals’ revealed two new goalie masks with even more significance.

Friday’s game against the Seattle Thunderbirds marked Downie Wenjack Fund Night, and along with special stickers on the back of each player’s helmet and limited edition merchandise, two custom-made goalie masks were made to commemorate the occasion.

Created by local artist Travis Michael – who has painted all of the Royals’ goalie masks since 2014 – the pair of masks pay tribute to Gord Downie’s past as an artist and goalie as well as reflect the story of The Secret Path.

One of the masks is being auctioned by the CHL, with all proceeds going to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.

Click here to place a bid on the limited edition mask

The second mask was presented in a pre-game ceremony to Mike Downie, the Co-Founder of the Downie & Wenjack Fund as well as the co-creator of the graphic novel and film, The Secret Path.

 

(Jay Wallace – Island Images/Victoria Buzz)

 

Downie, along with his late brother Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and artist Jeff Lemire, created the graphic novel and film to tell the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibway boy who died while running away from his residential school in October of 1966.

Mike Downie says Canada 150 “rang a bit hollow” 

Mike Downie Goalie Mask
Mike Downie holding one of the custom-painted goalie masks

“We all love watching a good game of hockey, we all love going to see a great band, but it’s also good to think a little bit when you’re out enjoying the entertainment. Just think a little bit about the country and how we can make it better,” Downie said before the game.

“We’ve just come through this 150-year anniversary, this celebration, and I think for a lot of people at different points it rang a bit hollow,” Downie said before the game. “I think there’s an opportunity for Canadians to recognize that we are not a young country. We’re based on a foundation that goes back thousands of years… We need to incorporate [that history] into our way of thinking.”

Downie Wenjack Fund Partnership to continue for years to come

Earlier this year, the Royals announced that they had partnered with The Gord Downie &
Chanie Wenjack Fund for the 2017-18 hockey season.

The Downie Wenjack Fund was established as part of Gord Downie’s legacy to bring awareness of the true history of Indigenous People and to generate discussion to forge new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

As part of the partnership, the team has already raised over $7,000 from various fundraising efforts, including the sale of Royals’ game-worn jerseys.

“I think in time – Gord said it would take a hundred years – it may, but I think the changes that we’re going to see in our culture and our society have already begun,” Downie added.  “I hope to see them continue because, in the end, I think we [will] end up with a better, more inclusive country.”

Victoria tallies pair of late goals to edge Seattle 4-3.

The Royals received a pair of late markers, which included Jared Legien’s game winner with 18 seconds left in regulation, as the club earned a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The two teams will face off again tonight at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.

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