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Kirk Mclean, Live 2 Give and Mt. Kilimanjaro

Captain Kirk visits high school students from East Vancouver’s Streetfront Alternative program.

By Harold Cecchetti

For the sixth consecutive year, Canucks Sports & Entertainment held their annual Live 2 Give Day this past Thursday. With Rogers Arena offices closed down, staff members had the opportunity to volunteer their services towards a variety of initiatives within the community. Among the 130 Canucks employees and 12 local charities that participated, goaltending alumnus Kirk McLean was front and centre, visiting high school students from East Vancouver’s Streetfront Alternative program.

Operated out of Britannia Secondary School, Streetfront is an alternative education initiative for students who struggle in the mainstream system. The program offers at-risk students, ranging from grade eight to ten, a new and adjusted learning environment with a focus on outdoor activity.

In addition to their core academics, Streetfront students go backpacking, canoeing and tackle full marathons with their instructors. These aren’t your typical high school PE field trips. And as if completing a 42-kilometre run wasn’t enough of an accomplishment for the youth at Streetfront, the program has just recently been approved to take 18 students on a climbing trip to East Africa.

Final destination? The Tanzanian peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro – all 5,895 metres of it.

So when the Streetfront instructors needed a Canucks representative to visit their Britannia location, the organization dug deep and asked their former netminder – he who endured the 24-game grind of the 1994 playoff run – to speak to the students on behalf of the team.

With clear relevance to both the academic and physical tasks at hand for Streetfront’s youth, McLean spoke of the hard work and mental strength that was required of him in his 16-year NHL career. Despite the adversity that NHL goaltenders inherently face, McLean parlayed his passion and dedication for the game into two Vezina Trophy nominations and a Game 7 appearance in the Stanley Cup Final over the course of his 11 seasons with the Canucks.

In addition to speaking to the entire Streetfront classroom, McLean had the opportunity to interact with each individual student, signing autographs and leaving them with timeless memories.

By the time Streetfront youth reach grade eleven, they leave the program with renewed self-esteem and confidence, preparing them to be successful students in their last two years of high school. As the current students begin to train for new pursuits ahead, they can undoubtedly draw from McLean’s career for inspiration. And with Captain Kirk venturing on his own new paths as a restaurateur and active member of the Alumni Association’s charitable endeavours, he too can draw inspiration from these students he rubbed shoulders with on Live 2 Give Day.

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