Fin turns 11
When author Robin W. Baird wrote Killer Whales of the World, a book exploring the natural history and conservation of whales, he left out a few important facts.
The 2002 hardcover is an in-depth look at the popular marine mammal, and while it is a wealth of information, it makes no mention of whale birthday parties and how they are, especially in this case, Fin-tastic.
Vancouver Canucks mascot Fin turned the big 1-1 Monday and his 11th birthday celebration was held at Canuck Place Children's Hospice alongside a group of Fin’s dearest friends. Lena, Stephen and Destiny, all Canuck Place kids, and family friends Tasia and Kazden, helped the most loveable mascot in the NHL blow out his candles.
Actually Fin took care of the candles himself, but the kids were there for him when it came time to eat the overwhelmingly delicious cake, graciously donated by Fratelli's Bakery.
There were streamers, signs, whale books, balloons, Poppy the Golden Retriever and a round of Pin the Fin on Fin, not to mention countless grins and giggles as Fin used the occasion to spread joy to children who need it most.
The anticipation of Fin’s visit had Canuck Place on pins and needles and the lasting impact is one of happy memories.
“To have Fin come here is absolutely remarkable,” said Margaret McNeil, CEO of Canuck Place. “You can just see how the kids respond as soon as he walks in the room with his sense of humour and his generosity and how he really brings the kids together. It’s a moment of celebration here in the house.”
It’s a yearly tradition that Fin parties at Canuck Place, one that is becoming increasingly popular every June 4th.
The children were more than prepared for Fin’s visit as after everyone sang Happy Birthday, he was handed a larger than life card, with well wishes from countless kids, and three gifts, all bundled together as one.
He shook the first before tearing it open. The laughter was contagious and deafening as Fin unwrapped a can of Clover Leaf chunk light tuna. Yummy.
Fin then proceeded to open the small, skinny package and it was a NO SMOKING sign. No, Fin doesn’t smoke, but he blows smoke out of his blowhole once and a while and that’s not permitted at Canuck Place.
The final gift, which he ripped into as if it were the can of tuna, was a photo of a whale jumping in the ocean. The inscription read: Happy Birthday Fin, Love Mom. Again, everyone had a great laugh.
Canucks forward Manny Malhotra made a surprise visit to the party, bringing with him sons Caleb and Isaiah. They were as amused by Fin as the other children and their parents were thrilled to meet Malhotra.
He signed autographs and posed for pictures, but made sure not to steal the spotlight from Fin. Malhotra is as big a fan of the mischievous mammal as anyone.
“Prior to coming here the team said it was really behind the community, but it wasn’t until I actually got here and saw what a big part of the community the Canucks are that I truly understood it,” said Malhotra.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of something like that. But it’s really all about Fin and seeing firsthand the joy that he has brought to the faces of my kids and so many kids around the rink and it’s fun to be a part of that.”
As the festivities wrapped up Monday, the streamers and signs came down, the balloons were tucked away for another day and Poppy took a nap.
All that remained was the book Killer Whales of the World, a reminder that orcas don’t party, let alone get down like Fin.