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Willie Mitchell offers to sponsor Vancouver Island teen 'muzzled' by soccer team

Freyja Reed has two great passions: soccer and wild salmon. That’s why the 14-year-old says she was shocked to discover her elite soccer team's newest sponsor.

Soccer association tells mother and 14-year-old goalie to stay quiet or find another team

Willie Mitchell, captain of the Florida Panthers, tweeted his support for Freyja Reed who was asked to stop speaking out against her soccer team's sponsor, a fish farming company.

An NHL star, originally from B.C., has stepped up to support a Vancouver Island teen who was "muzzled" after she spoke out against one of her soccer team's sponsors.

The captain of the Florida Panthers, Willie Mitchell, tweeted on Friday night he would sponsor 14-year-old Freyja Reed after she was told to stop protesting about the fish farming company who sponsors her soccer league.

Mitchell called Reed's case "outrageous" and said the ability to "speak up for what we believe in" is reason why it's a "privilege" to live in North America.

The hockey player, originally from Vancouver Island, is known for his interests in wildlife conservation.

Anissa Reed, Freyja's mother, said Mitchell has already taken the first step to follow through on his tweet — her daughter heard from him via a Facebook message on Saturday.

"Willie Mitchell is an awesome guy, a stand-up guy. A reflection of the B.C. coast for how he stands up for wild salmon and how he's reaching out as a professional athlete," said Reed.

While she hopes the league will take him up on his offer, she knows there are other factors at play.

"Anybody, would be honoured to have him as a sponsor," said Reid. "I would say yes, yes that's awesome, but that's not my decision to make."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lien Yeung

@LienYeung

Lien Yeung is a host and reporter with CBC Vancouver News. She has covered stories locally and nationally from Halifax to Victoria on television, radio and online. Find her on Instagram or Twitter @LienYeung or via email at lien.yeung@cbc.ca.

With files from Duncan McCue

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