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Rock Partner with Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund for Home Opener

December 6, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Toronto Rock News Release

Oakville, ON - The Toronto Rock are proud to announce a partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) for the team's home opener on Saturday, December 16 against the Saskatchewan Rush at Air Canada Centre.

The Toronto Rock will donate $1 from every single game ticket sold to the team's December 16th home opener against the Saskatchewan Rush to the Downie Wenjack Fund. In addition, representatives from the DWF will be active on the concourse at Air Canada Centre on game night accepting donations, selling merchandise and most importantly raising awareness.

With the recent passing of Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie, different pockets of Canada mourned the loss in different ways and the lacrosse community is no exception. This partnership will give the lacrosse community a chance to honour Gord's memory and also raise money for the Downie Wenjack Fund and support Gord's wish for people to 'do something'.

"Reconciliation is not something we can do alone as Indigenous people. Gord challenged all of us to 'do something' and we are thankful to Toronto Rock for doing just that," said Sarah Midanik, program director of the Downie Wenjack Fund. "Through this opportunity, thousands of people will know more about Canada's history and we hope they too will be inspired to 'do something' to further reconciliation in Canada."

The mission of Downie Wenjack is to encourage reconciliation between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people in Canada. With truth and understanding of our shared history and working to build positive relationships, the fund strives to create social and systemic change in our communities.

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord Downie's legacy he wanted to leave in Canada, and embodies his and his family's commitment to improving the lives of Indigenous persons. In collaboration with the Wenjack family, the goal of the fund is to continue conversations beginning with Chanie Wenjack's residential school story, and to aid our collective reconciliation journey through a combination of Awareness, Education and Action.

Prior to the game, Gord Downie's brother Patrick Downie will address the crowd at Air Canada Centre and educate the fans in attendance about the Downie Wenjack Fund and its goals.

The music of the Tragically Hip is a staple in the locker room and pre-game warmup of every lacrosse team in the country. Rock goaltender Nick Rose took on a project to secure a custom Toronto Rock version of the signature hat that Gord wore throughout the Hip's final tour from Lilliput Hats. The hat will act as the Rock's player of the game, awarded in the locker room after a win to the team's top player.

"We are always looking for new ways to keep the team tight knit," explained Rose. "After the game, we hand out an item to a player who has put the team on their back that night. In the past it's been a firefighter's helmet or a hard hat, something I'm sure fans have seen a lot of other sports teams do as well. After watching the Tragically Hip documentary with some of the other guys on the team, we started brainstorming a bit and after seeing the hats, we thought it would be a perfect fit. Gord and the music of the Hip mean so much to so many guys in our locker room and lacrosse players across Canada."

Following the season, the Rock will auction off the custom player of the game hat with all funds raised being donated to the Downie Wenjack Fund. Later this week, the hat will be unveiled on the Rock's social media channels.

For more information about the fund or to donate, visit downiewenjack.ca or connect on social @downiewenjack.

Toronto Rock season and single game tickets are on sale now. For more information, please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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