Vancouver sports stars and provincial rec leaders team up for families with autism

May 9, 2019

Vancouver, BC – For the first time in Vancouver sports history, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) will bring all five professional sports teams together with provincial sport organizations for an unforgettable family event. On Sunday, May 12th, from 1:00-4:00 pm, over 250 families living with autism (850 individuals) will hit the field at BC Place for the 7th Annual CAN Sports Day, sponsored by Centaur Products Sports Contracting, The DB Perks Group and BC Place.

As in previous years, professional players, alumni and mascots from the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Vancouver Canadians will lead activity stations at the multisport event.

New this year:
The Vancouver Warriors will join the fold alongside BC Rugby, British Columbia Golf, BC Athletics, Tennis BC, BC Lacrosse Association and Jays Care Foundation Challenger Baseball.

Confirmed athletes include:

  • Antoine Roussel & Manny Malhotra – Vancouver Canucks
  • Jake Nerwiknski & Brett Levis – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
  • Jordan Herdman & Claudell Louis – BC Lions

Professional sports heroes and community rec leaders alike will lead children, youth and young adults with autism in an unprecedented array of sports activities.

In addition to giving CAN participants a truly memorable experience, the hope is to connect hundreds of individuals and families living with autism to a greater range of community-based sports organizations and spark a lifetime of physical activity.

“Individuals with autism face many barriers for participating in community recreation,” says Stephanie Jull, Canucks Autism Network’s VP of Programs, Training and Community Engagement. “By uniting an entire community of BC sports leaders, we can work together to take individuals with autism off the sidelines and back into the field of play.”

Media are invited to attend between 1:15pm and 3:45 pm and are asked to enter through the East Gate entrance. Players and families will be available for interviews throughout the event.


Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs for individuals and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.

Founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners Paolo and Clara Aquilini, CAN’s vision is for every individual with autism to be understood, accepted and supported in all community spaces.

Lindsay Petrie
Director of Marketing
Canucks Autism Network