Soldiers and hockey players team up to support organization close to Don Cherry 

Soldiers, hockey players During their nationally broadcasted game against the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 19, the Edmonton Oil Kings were donned in their one-of-a-kind Don Cherry-inspired jerseys to raise funds and awareness for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. 

The jerseys are at the heart of the second Re/Max presents WHL (Western Hockey League) Suits up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation campaign. 

To unveil their unique jerseys, the Oil Kings partnered with members of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). 

“The link between hockey and this Regiment spans almost the entire history of our existence. From inter-unit competitions on rinks in Europe during the Second World War to dropping the puck on the frozen Imjin River in Korea, to running in 50-degree heat on dusty floors in Afghanistan, hockey has served to forge team spirit and heighten the morale of our soldiers.  We embrace hockey because it is a physically and mentally taxing sport that, through friendly rivalry, embodies our commitment to supporting the total wellness of our soldiers,” said LCol.  Jordan Schaub, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI) during the unveiling ceremony that took place Monday, January 14. 

Along with members of the Charlie Company, the photo shoot and unveiling ceremony included two Light Armoured Vehicles. 

Considering Don Cherry’s enthusiastic support for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Oil Kings decided to involve the military in their special unveiling. 

“We wanted to show an alignment with the Oil Kings and the CAF and do something fun for our military too, to be part of something different,” said Daniel Troiani, director of business operations for the Edmonton Oil Kings. 

The Oil Kings continue to build on their already existing ties with CFB Edmonton. Last year members of the team visited the base to train for “a day in the life of a soldier.” 

“We are happy to support the Oil Kings with this event and appreciate the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Canadian public whom we serve.

“Don Cherry has always been a strong supporter of the Canadian Armed Forces, and his dedication to the promotion of support to our troops has had a deep and lasting impact. We are all proud to be here in support of the Oil Kings’ partnership with Don Cherry and the Kidney Foundation,” said Schaub.

The jersey itself featured player’s nicknames on the name bar, instead of their last names. Instead of choosing from one of the four base designs offered to the WHL, the Oil Kings decided to design their own jerseys. It draws on Don Cherry’s “Coach’s Corner” suits for inspiration. 

“We wanted to offer just a bit of a different look than what we’ve had in the past,” said Troiani. 

The jerseys were worn on the Edmonton Oil King’s game against the Calgary Hitmen. The special event not only promoted the Kidney Foundation of Canada but also paid tribute to Don Cherry. Fans were able to bid on the limited edition jersey. One hundred per cent of proceeds are donated to local Kidney Foundations. 

Awareness of organ donation is something that hits close to home for the Cherry since Don’s son was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 15 that required a kidney transplant. 

“Remember, you have the opportunity to do one last grand gesture at the time of your death. It makes you wonder why everyone hasn’t registered to be an organ donor like I have,” says Cherry on the Kidney Foundation website. 

Since their partnership with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, there has been a 13 per cent transplant increase nationwide. 

Last season, WHL teams were able to raise $265,000, making it the largest public awareness campaign for organ donation. 

This year’s campaign runs until March. To donate to the Kidney Foundation of Canada click here.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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