A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)

#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

An idea that started off as chatter between passionate hockey fans on Twitter took to the Lower Mainland skies on Wednesday, April 21.

A plane flying a banner which read #firebenning lifted off from the Pitt Meadows airport, and circled around Vancouver, as well as its surrounding areas.

The message is in reference to some fans’ displeasure with the way general manager Jim Benning is running the Vancouver Canucks.

Niqhil Velji, who regularly Tweets about the team, lives in Pitt Meadows.

He took video of the take-off.

“We are huge Canucks fans who love the team, but we’re questioning the direction of management and ownership,” he said.

READ MORE: Pearson, Sutter each score 2 as Canucks dump Maple Leafs 6-3

READ MORE: Canucks to return to play Sunday versus Leafs after COVID-19 outbreak

To express their concerns, a group member who goes by the Twitter handle UncleLaleet started a GoFundMe campaign to pay the $1,600 it costs to fly a banner over Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas for an hour.

“Canucks fans are demanding that the owners of the Vancouver Canucks fire Jim Benning and replace him with a management team that can build a Stanley Cup championship team immediately,” the fundraiser said.

“The city of Vancouver has supported this team for 50 years and we are not supporting this three ring circus any longer. #FireBenning.”

Support for the flying banner came quickly.

“I figured it was going to hit its quota,’ Velji said. “But I thought it was going to take a day or two.

“The fact it did it within hours was pretty incredible.”

Some thought the money could have been put to better use.

But Velji was quick to point out every additional dollar raised – after the sign was paid for – was donated to Canuck Place children’s hospice.

“Over $1,000 has already been donated to a children’s charity,” he said. “And more is coming in.”

The group’s antagonism towards Jim Benning isn’t personal, Velji insisted.

“If you look at columns from NHL writers who are analysing the performance of GMs, Jim Benning is a bottom five, or worse.” he said.

“He’s been the Canucks GM for seven years, and they have made the playoffs two times.”

While some fans of Benning argue he has done well with his draft picks in recent years, Velji noted he doesn’t think the GM will be capable of surrounding the young talent with the team mates they need to succeed.

“Canucks have a great young core, but it’s about adding the necessary pieces to supplement that core, he said, “And I know Jim Benning is not going to be able to do that.”


Is there more to the story? Email: ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Pitt Meadowsvancouver canucks

Just Posted

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Free boxes of fresh produce are currently being provided in Quesnel by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Northern BC thanks to a donation from West Fraser Mills. (File photo)
Fresh produce available for those in need in Quesnel

Donation allows Canadian Mental Health Association to provide free fruits and veggies

Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
WATCH: Kamloops bound convoy greeted by Canim Lake Band along Highway 97

Well over two dozen members of the Tsq’escenemc people (Canim Lake Band) showed up

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read