This year’s version of Powell River Kings will be focusing on connecting with the community.
Marketing and promotions director Corinne Williams said that after restricted BC Hockey League (BCHL) seasons resulting from COVID-19, the team wants to become fully reconnected with hockey enthusiasts, hopefully resulting in many fans taking in home games during the season.
The Kings are playing exhibition games at 6 pm in Chilliwack on September 10 and 2:30 pm in Langley on September 11. Fans can watch the contests on BCHL TV, as well as any other games that will be played this season, according to Williams.
She said the team is moving forward from the restrictions that were part of COVID-19.
“We have a lot of changes and we are very excited; we have new staff and a whole new team, with some of the same players,” said Williams. “Our goal this year is to really reconnect with the community. We couldn’t operate as a hockey team without the community support and so we really want to get back out in this community.
“This also means supporting some other groups that we can help out with. The team and the organization are going to be doing a lot more community-related activities.”
This year’s marketing will involve some fun activities, such as Williams dropping a puck off at a local business, and if people find it, and tag the team, they can win tickets to a game. If people are new to town, they can send some information and their first Kings tickets are on the team.
Williams said occasions such as birthdays and group packages are also in the works.
The season ticket drive is also on and if people purchase their tickets before September 16, their names will be entered to win a game-worn home jersey. Efforts are also being made to involve the community through society memberships, which provides members the opportunity to vote at the annual general meeting.
Williams said that this year, FreshCo has jumped onboard, and every time the Kings score a goal at a home game, $10 gift cards will be won.
The hockey team is trying to enhance the game night atmosphere, so the Kings will be conducting fan interviews, and legacy fans, who have been committed to the team for years, will be recognized.
“We wouldn’t be here without legacy fans,” said Williams.
The team’s program booklet is changing, so it will now be different every month.
Williams said the team is facing some challenges. The cost of everything has gone up with inflation, such as equipment, meals, ferries and travel. The more people who attend Kings games, the easier it will be to bridge some of those challenges, she added.
With the organization, staff and players, the Kings are a team, said Williams.
“That’s huge for us,” she added. “At the end of the day, what is super-important is that we appreciate the community, and the players realize how blessed they are to have such good community support. For the boys, this is their future. Hopefully, we can get the stands filled.”
Williams said the team is working with Tla’amin Nation and will be doing a team-building session with cultural heritage manager Drew Blaney. She said the Kings will be making some video footage that will be aired at the beginning of all home games so there is more than a PA announcement that the game is being played on Tla’amin’s traditional territory. The team is also planning to sell wooden noisemakers from Tla’amin with all of the funds going back to the nation.
Williams said the team has been working hard in the lead-up to the start of the season.
“We are hoping to ice a great team this year,” added Williams.
“Our players are a really polite young group of guys and that’s really rewarding to see.”
The team is still looking for billet families; four players require placement.
Kings’ first home game is September 23 against Nanaimo Clippers. Interact Club of Brooks and the Rotary Club of Powell River will be hosting a tailgate party, starting at 5 pm. It will be a barbecue by donation.
Williams said the prospect is really exciting. Another tailgate party has been booked for the final game of the season, with the Warren Behan group taking care of it.
Williams said advertising is still available and if anyone wants to offer feedback or procure group tickets, they can contact her at 604.485.7550, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m really excited about this year,” said Williams. “Things are really good. We truly appreciate all of the community support, volunteers and sponsors that we have. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Kings and Clippers meet again on September 24, also at Hap Parker Arena, with puck drop scheduled for 5 pm.