BC Children’s Registered Nurse Victoria Groff and her partner, Chris Clute belted out "O Canada" before the Canucks kicked off their game against the Montreal Canadiens.
“It was a really amazing experience to be able to sing for the Canucks,” Victoria says. “It was kind of weird though because the stadium was empty. It was a very unique opportunity.”
The evening was part of a salute to frontline workers in the NHL hockey coronavirus-abbreviated, regular season.
“What they’re doing is really great – highlighting frontline workers for this season,” says Victoria. “I think that’s really important. There’s been so many people who have worked so hard this year to make sure that their patients are safe and their families are safe. Especially at the beginning, every day, we were hearing different information and having to adapt.”
Victoria is a registered nurse in the respiratory ward of BC Children’s, and Chris is a leader at a before- and after-school care kids program at the YMCA and also a singer in a Vancouver-based music duo.
“I have previous experience singing for the Vancouver Canadians a few years ago, doing anthem singing,” Victoria told Global News. “Chris creates and makes his own music with a production duo named Sound of Kalima. Basically, one of my colleagues messaged me a few weeks ago. She had a connection with the Canucks and asked me if I wanted to sing the anthem and I said ‘Yeah, of course I want to sing for the Canucks!’ I asked Chris if he wanted to sing with me because we love singing together.
“We spent one night singing 30 to 40 times and we sent in our submission and they liked it!”
Victoria works on a medical unit designed with one unique pod of beds that can be sealed off from the remainder of the unit to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases like COVID-19. She works with children fighting severe mental health issues as well as lung, endocrine, metabolic and renal diseases.
“I think our hospital has done a really good job at being flexible and adaptive and trying to do our best to protect our patients and our families,” says Victoria.
Chris has been busy at the YMCA as what was once pre- and post-school care turned into full-time daycare for children of essential workers when the pandemic broke out. He says it’s been a challenge to allow children to play, while maintaining physical distancing.
“The start of the pandemic was sure very hard for a lot of kids,” Chris told Global News. “They were not able to see their friends. The start of the school year was a pretty hectic time for me, but also a very happy time for them. They got to see their school friends.”
The couple had such a good time singing at the game, they’re hoping to one day make a repeat performance.
“Maybe they’ll invite us back. That would be really great,” Groff told the Vancouver Sun.
That same night, Peace Arch Hospital Registered Nurse Amanda Kopchia and her husband, John, also sounded the traditional pre-game siren.
Watch Victoria and Chris sing acapella at the game and be interviewed on Global News: Frontline workers sing national anthem at Canucks home opener, January 21, 2021, Global News
Read the Vancouver Sun story: Front-line workers help Canucks face off for 2021 home opener, January 21, 2021, G. McIntyre Vancouver Sun