Between playing on the ice, and scouting from the press box, Thomas Gradin has been a member the Vancouver Canucks for over 20 years. As a scout he was instrumental in bringing Mattias Ohlund, Alex Edler, and the Sedin twins to Vancouver, and was inducted into the Ring of Honour in 2011.
Through his time with the Canucks, Gradin became familiar with Canuck Place, and the teams strong commitment to community involvement, so despite a busy summer schedule preventing him from training for the event, Gradin was a top participant in the 2014 Canuck Place Adventure Race.
“I am always happy to help Canuck Place in any way I can,” Thomas said. “We have been very fortunate to have a healthy family and I know others have not been as lucky. My playing days are long over but giving back is important to me.”
An avid runner, Gradin thought his strongest leg would be the trail run, but he surprised himself by being the top kayaker in the race – despite having never used the style of kayak supplied by event partner EcoMarine.
“Once I got used to steering it was easy,” said Gradin, who had spent previous summers on older kayaks in Sweden. “I loved the setting on the ocean right in Vancouver harbour. The mountains and the ocean liners are the backdrop and as a race course, it doesn’t get any better.”
Gradin wasn’t much more prepared for his bike leg – he had to borrow one from old friend, Mike Penny, and rode it 4km to Jericho Beach before the race even started.
So with zero training time, and borrowed gear, why did Gradin show up to support Canuck Place?
“Going out and participating in the Adventure Race and having fun, getting fit and giving back to children and families in BC is a win-win,” he said. “I really enjoyed seeing all the other competitors and we all shared a common goal to give back to this amazing organization that has been caring for BC’s kids for over 20 years.”
We have to agree.