Young fan Andrew Williamson

Victoria Grizzlies lend visual hand to PTSD group

A partnership between the Grizzlies and Wounded Warrior will see game-worn uniforms go up for auction this month.

The co-founder of Wounded Warrior Run BC believes awareness surrounding post traumatic stress disorder has improved since the organization was created.

The Victoria Grizzlies are doing their part to help Allan Kobayashi and others ensure that trend continues.

For the rest of this month, the Colwood-based B.C. Hockey League team will wear special alternate jerseys that feature the Wounded Warrior logo on each sleeve and a slight alteration to the Grizzlies logo, with the words ‘Wounded Warrior Canada’ replacing ‘Victoria Grizzlies.’

“It’s a great organization and any time you can help someone like them it makes you feel really good,” said Grizzlies president Lance Black during the unveiling event at the McDonald’s Restaurant in Colwood on Tuesday night.

When hockey teams reveal third jerseys, they often emit a certain level of flamboyance. Black said that was simply not what they were going for with these designs.

“You see these outrageous, outlandish jerseys. We wanted to have a little respect towards (our) organization, as well as the Wounded Warriors and McDonald’s (the jersey’s corporate sponsor),” he said.

“I think what they came up with was a very nice blend of a lot of ideas. We’re very proud to wear them.”

Kobayashi was  part of a group that designed the jerseys, on which silent auction bids will be accepted throughout the month. The bidding will close at the start of the third period of the team’s Jan. 27 game against, fittingly, the West Kelowna Warriors.

Half of the proceeds from the auction will go to Wounded Warrior, with the Grizzlies receiving the other half.

“Having a big organization like the Victoria Grizzlies supporting this, I think it’s absolutely phenomenal. I think it speaks immensely to what’s actually happening with the awareness piece and how many people are actually jumping on board to help out,” Kobayashi said.

And while Kobayashi says awareness of PTSD continues to improve, he continues to see a need for more education.

“I think a lot of people hear PTSD and they automatically click in and assume. I think that a lot of people still define PTSD by what they wear to work,” he said, adding that many might assume PTSD only affects those in the armed forces and such lines of work as emergency responders.

“PTSD is defined by a person that witnesses a traumatic event, and that’s a big piece for me,” he said.

Tickets for the Grizzlies’ Jan. 27 game against West Kelowna will also be on sale at all West Shore McDonald’s outlets for a reduced rate of $10, with $5 from every sale going towards Wounded Warrior.

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