Agassiz local and organizer of Tulips of the Valley started creating this hyacinth mosaic to honour the Canucks, but upon learning about the impending retirement of Henrick and Daniel Sedin, devoted it to the twins and their contributions to Agassiz. Photo/Jacoba Schroevers

Retiring Sedin twins made big contributions to Agassiz

Tulips of the Valley pays tribute to players

The tulips have yet to show their blooms, but Kate Onos-Gilbert – the Agassiz local behind the popular Fraser Valley tulip festival, Tulips of the Valley – said within weeks they will be brightening up 20 acres of the Chilliwack land where she now runs the flower-filled spectacle.

After 10 years on Seabird Island land, Tulips of the Valley took a brief hiatus before returning in a new location in Chilliwack in 2017.

For now, the fields are lined with new additions – 17 varieties of sunny daffodils and over 10 varieties of fragrant hyacinths.

And there’s another addition, one dedicated specially for Agassiz and the retired Sedin twins of the Vancouver Canucks.

READ: Vancouver hockey fans bid fond farewell to Sedin twins

Onos-Gilbert used her bright spring flowers to create hyacinth mosaics, and made one specifically as a tribute to Daniel and Henrick Sedin, who in 2014, through the Sedin Family Foundation, provided equipment for Kent’s Community Recreation and Cultural Centre (CRCC) and contributed $50,000 towards building the Kent Elementary playground.

Two of Onos-Gilbert’s Agassiz-raised kids were attending the elementary school at the time.

“Me, being from Agassiz, and our festival having been in Agassiz, it just kind of fit,” said Onos-Gilbert.

“We had planned on making a tribute to the Canucks anyways … It was really quite opportune that the Sedins announced that [they were retiring] as we were creating this, so it worked really nicely that we could use it as a tribute.”

READ: Sedins bring cash, play ball hockey in Agassiz

In 2014, the famous hockey twins visited Agassiz after officially launching the Sedin Family Foundation and designating Agassiz as one of the first beneficiaries.

The pair signed jerseys, posed for photos, cut ribbons and even played a round of floor hockey at the CRCC with some locals.

“This goes to show the type of people they are,” school trustee Ron Johnstone told The Observer back in 2014.

“They are great role models for our youth. It’s nice to see professional athletes be something other than professional athletes; they are community contributors.”

Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven recalled being shocked by the famous players’ kind, humble demeanour.

“They really wanted to play with the kids!” he said, recalling the day the Sedins visited Agassiz.

“We cannot thank the Sedin Family Foundation enough for their generosity and investment in our community,” he told the foundation in 2014.

The Sedin Family Foundation supports community projects around B.C. that contribute to children’s health, education and family wellness.

Canucks fans said goodbye to the beloved players at their last home game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena April 5.

– with files from

Jessica Peters

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