Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/20/14
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My Kind Of Team The Vancouver Canucks became the talk of the NHL last week thanks to a crowded crease featuring Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, but off the ice the organization was simultaneously demonstrating a wealth of excellence that earned less attention. Far from distracted by a goaltending controversy, our beloved organization has been busy making the world a better place during this short start to the season. While the latest NHL lockout has soured the relationship between fans and league owners, the Vancouver Canucks continue to prove they’re more than a brand of entertainment. Cory’s story Cory Schneider may have regressed to the “backup” position in recent weeks, but that didn’t deter young Anneke Oskam from choosing the name Cory when making the decision to transition to life as a male. The 16-year-old goaltender chose “Cory” after collecting a hockey card of Schneider’s, and as he told Canucks.com the name just stuck. “Around the time I started collecting Schneider, it was time to pick a name. I went through a handful: Will, William, Matt, Matthew, none of them really felt right, then my mom suggested Cory and I started using it around the house. It felt very right. Cory felt very right.” Which is where the Canucks come in: to celebrate Cory’s 16th birthday the Canucks invited the young role model to take the January 23rd opening skate with his namesake and the rest of the team. Not only would young Cory have the opportunity to skate with some of his heroes, he would use the appearance to come out to his own teammates through a heartwarming story posted on Canucks.com. Zack Kassian approves of his team’s work in the community. While Cory Oskam’s appearance during warm-up may have surprised his teammates with the Britannia Hockey Academy, it stands as just the latest act of humanitarianism courtesy of the Canucks. As fans may remember Manny Malhotra, Jason Garrison, and Fin the mascot all walked in the Vancouver Pride parade alongside the You Can Play team this summer in what was a major step towards sports franchises everywhere embracing equality. Leaving a legacy As Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy pointed out during the summer, the Canucks took a bold step over the summer by marching. “This wasn’t just a few players deciding to go on their own; this was an organization sending out a full delegation, making a statement against intolerance in sport as a franchise.” The team didn’t just allow their players to promote equality in the community, they actively participated in progress. The Canucks’ enthusiasm towards positive change has become the redeeming quality of an organization marred by riots, lockouts, and tragedy. Since the loss of Rick Rypien the Canucks have also become a driving force in support of improving mental health across Canada, and continue to do so by providing help for those in need through awareness campaigns, hockey camps and self-help websites. In 2012 the Canucks launched Mindcheck.ca to help those suffering from mental illness, providing over 50,000 self-assessment quizzes to people in need. This season the Canucks and the rest of Canada’s NHL teams will host a special game night as part of the Hockey Talks initiative, encouraging dialogue and awareness to mental health issues and treatments. Regardless of the arena, the Vancouver Canucks continue to promote equality and progress for their entire organizational community. Following another greed-fueled lockout hockey fans may remain bitter towards the team they love, but for Canucks fans the Orca continues to symbolize excellence in both hockey and society. So consider your team gear guilt-free this season Canucks fans, despite another lockout the organization continues to embody excellence both on the ice and in the community, and that’s something I’m willing to support with a few dollars at the team store. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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