Orphans in Nigeria are rooting for the Canucks after being introduced to the concept of ice hockey by local volunteer Monty Raisinghani.

Orphans in Nigeria are rooting for the Canucks after being introduced to the concept of ice hockey by local volunteer Monty Raisinghani.

Surrey engineer brings Canuck fever to Nigeria

40 orphans made a banner cheering on the Vancouver Canucks during the playoffs.

Canuck fever has hit Nigeria.

A Surrey engineer is spreading the love for the Vancouver team as it works its way through the playoffs.

Because of his volunteer work, Monty Raisinghani was chosen by the city last year to carry the Olympic torch. He’s working in with a French company called Total, building an oil processing platform off the coast of Africa. On weekends, he works with orphans at the Light of Hope Orpanage in Nigeria.

He recently chose to show them some YouTube video clips of the Vancouver Canucks at work.

“I thought ‘hey, with the playoffs coming, why not spend the day and talk about hockey and watch YouTube clips,’ ” Raisinghani said. “It’s been awesome, these kids are really receptive to it. It’s something that’s totally new to them.”

They’d seen field hockey before, but were gobsmacked at seeing the event on ice.

“You can’t bring ice down here, but we’re going to be playing street hockey down here,” Raisinghani said.

The 40 kids chose to make a banner, rooting for the boys in green and blue. And amidst the written cheer, they drew jerseys for themselves, with their favourite number and some text about their life dreams.

Indentical six-year-old twins Faith and Destiny wrote down their favourite number as three. It was their dream of having their mother come back to be together as a family again.

The single mother couldn’t take care of them, so she sent them to the orphanage with a promise that she would come back and get them when she could support them.

Raisinghani has been in touch with some local organizations. One is sending hockey sticks, another is sending white towels to wave.

He’s currently working to get kids from Canada to mentor the orphans.

“If every student had one child that they keep in touch with, that would be huge for them as they grow,” Raisinghani said.

Anyone looking to participate in the mentor program can email Raisinghani at info@elitevancouver.ca

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com