Abbotsford hockey talents Jake Chiasson and Graham Sward are urging locals to donate blood and want to raise awareness about the importance of blood and stem cell donations.
The pair of current Western Hockey League players are hosting an event called Abbotsford Hockey Gives Blood at Tradex on Dec. 22 from 1 to 7 p.m.
Those interested can book their spot today at blood.ca/hgb.
Chiasson and Sward are player ambassadors for the Hockey Gives Blood non-profit society. HGB was founded in 2018 by a group of former hockey players wanting to give back. The Humboldt Broncos tragedy of 2018 helped motivate those players to do something in a time of need.
Other HGB ambassadors include current Abbotsford Canucks players Alex Kannok Leipert, Carson Focht and Jett Woo.
Chiasson currently plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings and was drafted in the fourth round by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2021 NHL draft. He played youth with the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association and then moved on to the Yale Hockey Academy where he excelled on the U15 prep team.
He collected 87 points in 57 games over two seasons with the Yale Lions and was then drafted by the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round, 15th overall of the 2018 Bantam draft. He’s off to a strong start this season with Brandon, collecting 20 points in 23 games.
He said he hopes Abbotsford residents take the time to donate blood.
“I really wanted to join this program to give back to my community and all the people who are needing blood and support this holiday season,” he told The News. “I felt it was a good way to use my platform to reach out to the people if Abbotsford to give a couple minutes of their lives this holiday season to have the chance to change someone’s life forever.”
Sward is a member of the Spokane Chiefs and previously played on both the Yale Hockey Academy and the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. He was chosen by Spokane in the first round, 17th overall of the 2018 Bantam draft.
The defenceman is off to his best season in the WHL, with 14 points in 18 games. Sward was targeted to be selected in the 2021 NHL draft, but was ultimately not chosen. He remains eligible for the 2022 NHL draft.