Dwayne Gretzky moves New Year's Eve charity show to virtual as COVID-19 cases spike

·1 min read

TORONTO — New Year's Eve will feel a lot like 2020 for Dwayne Gretzky fans as the Toronto cover act scraps its annual in-person charity concert for the second year in a row.

The band known for covers of ABBA, Bruce Springsteen and Queen says it's decided to move this year's show to the virtual world "amidst growing concerns about the Omicron variant."

Originally the pop-rock act hoped to mark their 10th year of fundraising for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health by playing Toronto's new History concert venue.

But as COVID-19 cases spike, they decided to return to livestreaming from their studio space, as they did last year on New Year's Eve amid an Ontario lockdown.

The 2021 show will be available for free through the band's website DwayneGretzkyband.com with 50 per cent of net proceeds donated by viewers going to CAMH.

Dwayne Gretzky says last year's livestream drew 152,250 unique visitors from across the world and raised more than $42,000 for the cause.

Ticketholders for the cancelled in-person show will be fully refunded in the coming weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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