For all the work they do making a difference in their communities, Daniel and Henrik Sedin really are from Sweden with love.
The two veteran Vancouver Canucks will be awarded honorary degrees from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) June 1 for the citizenship, sportsmanship, civility, respect, and care they demonstrate both on and off the ice in their adopted province of B.C.
“I’m a Canucks fan, and it goes without saying the Sedins are exceptionally skilled players whose leadership, talent and hard work give the Canucks an edge that is unparalleled,” said KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “But what people may not know about the Sedins is that they demonstrate the same integrity and selflessness off the ice through their service to their communities, and in particular to children in those communities.”
Former teammate Trevor Linden, now president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, says the brothers epitomize the culture of the Vancouver Canuck organization.
“I have known Daniel and Henrik for over 16 years and have always considered them great examples of what it means to be true stewards of the game,” said Linden. “As servant leaders both on and off the ice, Daniel and Henrik have helped cultivate a culture of winning and giving back to the community that resonates now and will continue to positively impact the next generation of players and leaders.”
Originally from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, the Sedins were drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Today, Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks all-time in a number of statistical categories including games played, assists and points. Likewise, Daniel Sedin leads the club in franchise goals, powerplay goals, overtime goals, and game-winning goals.
The Sedins’ leadership skills and professionalism have been recognized around the NHL for a number of years. In 2016, Henrik Sedin was awarded the King Clancy Trophy given annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to the community. That same season, Daniel Sedin, while named an NHL All-Star for the third time in his career, graciously spent a portion of All-Star weekend helping to open 30,000 square feet of space at a newly renovated Nashville Inner City Ministry as part of the 2016 NHL All-Star Legacy Initiative.
The Sedins support a brigade of more than 50 charities, most notably the Canucks For Kids Fund, the Canucks Family Education Centre, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the YWCA, and BC Children’s Hospital, where they made a $1.5 million donation in 2010.
The Sedins also created their own charity—Sedin Family Foundation—which was established by Henrik and his wife Johanna, and Daniel and his wife Marinette Sedin to celebrate people, recognize achievement and address the needs of families and children. The foundation works with schools, community groups and social service agencies to identify needs and find creative and unique ways to make a difference for children and families. It makes annual gifts to programs that support children’s health and education with a focus on family wellness.
The Sedin Family Foundation supports Clubhouse 36, in partnership with the Surrey School District and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. Launched in 2015, Clubhouse 36 was made possible in part by the financial support and connections of the Sedin Family Foundation. It provides consistent, connected and professionally operated programming for at-risk and vulnerable Surrey students. The program runs for four days a week at three inner-city elementary schools with full-day programming during spring and summer breaks.
One of the objectives of Clubhouse 36 is to allow students to try a wide variety of new activities, develop new passions and interests, and to consider new goals for their future. Participants gain life skills, confidence, leadership abilities, and academic learning, enhancing the possibility for these students to pursue post-secondary education—something many would not have considered possible before entering the program.
In January, the Sedins were the subject of a case study on “servant leadership” in the academic journal Interchange. The study, which included interviews with Vancouver sports media and Canuck leaders, concluded the brothers are “well-prepared athletes whose civility and respect define them,” and “cultural carriers for the Vancouver Canucks and its legacy for good.”
“We are proud to present these degrees to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and now count them among our alumni as they are examples of everything that is good in people,” added Dr. Davis.
Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Members of the university community and the community at large are invited to nominate candidates. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, prominent people in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally or globally.
By Corry Anderson-Fennell