Prince Harry Kicks Off Invictus Games Countdown with Ceremonial Puck Drop at Canucks Game

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, drops the puck for San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl, left, and Vancouver Canucks' Quinn Hughes during a ceremonial faceoff prior to an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Monday, November 20, 2023. The Invictus Games, founded by the Duke of Sussex, are scheduled to be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Duke of Sussex honors wounded servicemen and women at a Vancouver Canucks game, echoing a royal tradition set by his grandmother

In a moment of ceremonial significance and sporting spirit, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, graced the ice at the Vancouver Canucks game on Monday evening, dropping the puck in a lead-up event to the much-anticipated 2025 Invictus Games.

Amid the excited crowd at Rogers Arena, the Duke performed the ceremonial puck drop as the Canucks hosted the San Jose Sharks, in a symbolic gesture that honored the wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women who will participate in the upcoming Invictus Games.

The Duke, who is the founder and patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, attended the event with his wife, Meghan Markle. They were joined by a host of dignitaries, including local Indigenous leaders, British Columbia’s Premier David Eby, and Lana Popham, the Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sports.

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Harry emphasized the spirit of resilience and courage that the Invictus Games represent. “This event is not just about sports; it’s about the indomitable spirit of our servicemen and women,” he said, echoing the ethos of the Games.

The 2025 Invictus Games, scheduled from February 8 to February 16, will see their closing ceremony hosted at Rogers Arena. Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., are set to be the proud hosts of this international multi-sport event.

Prince Harry’s appearance at the Canucks game carries a touch of royal legacy. It was in 2002 when his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, attended a pre-season match between the Canucks and the Sharks. In a parallel to her grandson’s gesture, the Queen had dropped the puck in a ceremonial opening faceoff, watched by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, then-B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Prince Harry is thus the second royal to bring the regal charm to a Canucks game, intertwining the world of royalty with the high spirits of Canadian hockey.