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CEO Dean Linden cycling in France to raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada


Ninety-four-year-old Canadian Second World War veteran returns to Juno beach for the first time with Trevor Linden to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Nearly a year after leaving his role as president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, Trevor Linden is focusing on humanitarian concerns, including the 2019 Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride.

Linden, along with his father Lane, and brothers Dean and Jamie, joined 130 cyclists for the 600-kilometre ride from Dieppe to Juno Beach in Normandy to commemorate Canada’s contribution to the liberation of Europe from the Nazis, and raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada.

Trevor spoke to Postmedia News from Port-en-Bessin, Normandy, in France where the group of cyclists was resting for the night.

“I’m riding with my two brothers and my dad who is 76, with a group of 125 mostly Canadian veterans. It’s a ride that raises money for basically PTSD treatment of soldiers,” Trevor said.

Trevor, an avid cyclist, said: “I spent a lot of time on planes in my 20-year hockey career, and I’ve always been fascinated by history. To be able to see this area with this particular group is pretty special.”

The ride began in Dieppe, where on Aug. 19, 1942, 5,000 Canadians joined 1,500 allies in a beach raid where 3,367 Canadians were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

The cycling group continued through Calais, Amiens and to Falaise in France, visiting significant battlefields before ending June 6 on Juno Beach to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and Operation Overlord.

Trevor said he has been particularly honoured to travel the route with 94-year-old 12th Field Regiment veteran gunner Russell A. Kaye, who participated in the Juno landing. It’s Kaye’s first time returning to the area, said Trevor, and his recollections underscore the sacrifices young Canadians made. Some 14,000 Canadians from the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade landed on the beach on D-Day — 359 were killed, 584 wounded and 131 captured.

Trevor said Canadian flags fly in many of the French towns, and local Canadian war cemeteries are beautifully kept.

“Wherever you go in this region, the Canadians are viewed very positively, so it’s very special,” he said.

Each stop along the way has had an impact, Trevor said. On Tuesday, the group cycled to France’s Ardenne Abbey, where 18 Canadian prisoners-of-war were murdered, and a memorial stands.

“It’s been a great opportunity to observe and learn, and to raise funds to help our current veterans to get the support they need and go on to live successful, happy lives,” Trevor said.

So far the ride has raised nearly $700,000 of its $750,000 goal.

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