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Richmond couple, frontline workers, singing at Canucks’ home opener

By Don Fennell

Published 2:45 PST, Wed January 20, 2021

A Richmond couple will usher in the Vancouver Canucks’ 2020-21 home schedule tonight.

Victoria Groff and Chris Clute, both frontline workers, will marry their gifted voices to sing O Canada prior to the NHL game between the Canucks and Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Arena.

“We are unbelievably honoured for this chance to perform for the Canucks,” Groff says. “I think I can speak for both of us when I say how excited we are and our families are about this opportunity. This past year has not been easy for my family, especially when I lost my aunt to cancer in August, but something that really kept me going and gave me hope that things would get better was always will be music. I wish she could be here to watch, but I know she’ll be cheering for us in spirit as she loved our music and the Canucks.”

Wanting to recognize and honour the dedication and sacrifices of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canucks offered the gig to Groff and Clute—a registered nurse at BC Children’s Hospital and a team leader at YMCA respectively.

“A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues, Katrina, messaged me and asked if I would be interested in singing the anthem for the Canucks,” Groff explains. “She knew I had prior experience singing for the (Vancouver) Canadians and thought I’d be a great fit. I asked Chris if he’d want to join in a duet and of course he said yes.”

They practiced the song about 30 or 40 times that night, she says, finally figuring out a duet version with harmonies, recorded it, and sent it in for consideration.

Both stellar athletes growing up in Richmond (Groff in softball and Clute in hockey), they first met about 11 years ago in high school, when both competed against each other in RichCity Idol. Neither won, but Groff says it was such amazing experience as teens.

“Then back in the summer of 2019, I was asked by a friend to sing at her wedding,” Groff says. “Seeing as I didn’t have a ton of personal experience performing and had just started learning guitar, I reached out to Chris and asked if he’d be interested in performing as a duo. He agreed, and we started practising once a week for the wedding.”

Unfortunately with pandemic, the wedding was cancelled and they weren’t able to perform. But, says Groff, “I think both of us feel like through that loss we gained something better–a partner who we connected with, and who has the same type of love for music.”

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