19 Stories: Nazzy's Suite 19
It’s no secret that Markus Naslund and his family were actively involved in the community for the duration of his time playing in Vancouver.
One of the most significant outreach initiatives that Naslund was involved in was that of his own charity suite, appropriately named Nazzy’s Suite 19. For six years the Nazzy’s Suite 19 program gave deserving BC kids the opportunity to attend and receive VIP treatment at Canucks home games.
In addition to getting tickets to the game in Naslund’s executive suite at Rogers Arena, children received dinner, snacks and beverages in the suite, a special in-game welcome on the big-screen, a visit from Fin, an exclusive Nazzy’s Suite 19 t-shirt, Canucks souvenirs and the occasional visit from Naslund himself – all completely free of charge.
In total, more than 3,700 children from all over the province were invited to Canucks games in Nazzy’s Suite. These were kids who were either struggling with their health or struggling to get by in other aspects of life and would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a Canucks game. This program would not have been possible without the personal financial commitment that Naslund and his family made, totaling more than $500,000.
“I know when I was young I loved going to games and watching my favourite team play, so being able to provide that opportunity to kids in BC was a great experience for me and my family,” said Naslund. “We were in a unique position to be able to give back and it was important for us to help make a difference in the lives of so many kids.”
More than 100 children’s charities were invited to bring their most deserving kids to experience Nazzy’s Suite over the course of the program. These charities ranged from Big Brothers Big Sisters of BC, Ronald McDonald House and the BC Epilepsy Society, to Developmental Disabilities Association, BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place, plus many more.
"Markus and his family have been great friends to all of us at Canuck Place - but most importantly to the kids and families here at the Hospice,” said Nancy Tardioli, Director of Community Partnerships at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. “The opportunity to share hockey with Markus in Nazzy's Suite has created treasured memories that Canuck Place families will forever cherish in their hearts.”
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was proud to take over Naslund’s charity suite when Naslund departed Vancouver in 2008, aptly re-naming the suite “Lui’s Crease Club.” Luongo continues to ensure that BC kids are given the special opportunity to attend Canucks games, honouring Naslund’s dedication to giving back.