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Chilliwack to open Chilliwack Chances

Chances gaming centre will be officially open to the public on Nov. 3.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Chances gaming centre will be officially open to the public on Nov. 3.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

It’s somehow fitting.

Iconic Canadian band Chilliwack will be rocking the house Nov. 2-3 in Chilliwack for the grand opening of Chilliwack Chances community gaming centre.

Lead singer and guitarist Bill Henderson and the boys will perform in the dining area of the brand-new gaming facility on both nights.

“We thought having Chilliwack would be appropriate for the opening,” Howard Blank, vice president of Great Canadian Gaming told The Progress.

“Not only is the name greatly symbolic, but also their music truly hits every demographic in Chilliwack.”

Most of band’s hits were in the ‘70s and ‘80s, which was their heyday, like ‘My Girl’ (Gone Gone Gone), ‘Whatcha Gonna Do,’ or ‘Fly At Night’ or ‘Baby Blue.’ Many remember the licks of ‘Crazy Talk’ and ‘Lonesome Mary,’ too.

Singer-songwriter Bill Henderson is from Vancouver, not from Chilliwack, as some would assume.

Henderson’s been quoted nonetheless in past interviews saying he’s proud of the cultural heritage of the name, which has roots in the halq’meylem language of the Sto:lo.

It’s a place name referring to the Chilliwack, or Chil-KWAY-uhk tribe; sometimes defined as a Coast Salish term meaning “going back up” as in upriver from the mouth of the river, or “quieter at the head.”

Here’s what Rolling Stone had to say, according to the Wiki entry: “At their best, Chilliwack was the finest Canadian rock band, outrocking BTO and outwriting Burton Cummings. But a lack of consistency kept it from international success.”

Whatever.

The Band, and Henderson, 67, with his busy solo career and other musical projects, keep bringing it — consistently.

But whether it was the fans listening to the tunes on the hit radio, or their parents, the band’s catchy sound has become integral “to our Canadian Culture,” said Blank.

“What a perfect opportunity,” he said.

Henderson and the band, are friends, he added, and have previously performed New Year’s Eve at The River Rock Casino, so it made sense to book them in this case, he said.

“We’re offering the show in our restaurant area,” he said. That means the audience has to order something to eat to be served a drink, since it’s a food primary licence.

“We hope we’ll be able to accommodate as many people as possible that opening weekend. And not just people who want to see Chilliwack specifically, but also for those Chilliwack residents, who are going to be so proud of their new premiere entertainment destination.”

Great Canadian Gaming is cognizant of the strong history of community support of bingo by local community groups.

“We recognize the history of bingo in Chilliwack, with one of the highest grossing bingo facilities in the province. So we’re making sure it’s there, but we’re also adding on options. There will truly be something for everyone.”

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