VANCOUVER, B.C. – Over $800,000 was raised in support of Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and BC families living with autism at the 14th annual Fishing for Kids Tournament at the West Coast Fishing Club in scenic Haida Gwaii.
This year’s milestone was achieved by a group of just 33 anglers, from business and community leaders across Canada. Special guests included Vancouver Canucks forward, Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks Coach, Travis Green, Vancouver Canucks Alumni, Kirk McLean, and CAN Founder, Paolo Aquilini.
Jake Virtanen reeled in the winning catch at 32.11 pounds during the two day catch and release event and donated the whole of his $200,000 winnings back to CAN.
Funds raised at the tournament will benefit Canucks Autism Network (CAN), a non-profit organization founded by Paolo and Clara Aquilini in 2008, with the goal of enriching the quality of life of BC families living with autism. Today, CAN is recognized as a provincial leader in the field of sports and recreation for individuals with autism, delivering over 500 programs annually to over 4,500 families.
“Every year I am amazed by the inspiring generosity of the Fishing for Kids participants and sponsors and this year was no exception,” said Paolo Aquilini. “When Clara and I first founded CAN, we wanted to increase autism awareness and enrich the quality of life of families living with autism in B.C. Today, our efforts go far beyond autism awareness. CAN’s ultimate vision is for a future where every individual with autism is understood, accepted and supported in all community spaces. This philanthropic fishing tournament plays an instrumental role in propelling us forward towards this goal.”
Special thanks to the 2019 tournament sponsors and supporters, including Title Sponsors, The West Coast Fishing Club and Vancouver Canucks, and Major Sponsors, Macquarie, Pacific Gateway Hotel, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Wheaton Precious Metals, Helly Hansen, Helijet and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. Over $8.1 million has been raised for Canucks Autism Network since the tournament’s inception in 2006.