The Trail Smoke Eaters are always looking for viable fundraising vehicles to help drive up the bottom line, but a couple recent initiatives have been both pleasant and welcome surprises to the Smoke Eater faithful.
With a suggestion from long-time fan and Smokie supporter Angelo Anselmo, the team took inspiration from the hardcore frenzied European fans that wave the scarves frantically at soccer matches, and ordered their own version from a manufacturer in England – a custom-designed Smoke Eater scarf to help motivate the masses.
While the Team scarf is ubiquitous in European soccer stadiums, Anselmo first noticed it at a Western Hockey League game.
And indeed they did.
Thanks to the Annable resident’s efforts, the original order of 12-dozen scarves promptly sold out and a fresh batch is on the way.
“If I had any idea it would work like that, I would have probably ordered the next batch earlier,” said Smoke Eater president Tom Gawryletz. “Angelo came to me and wanted to go through the crowd, and he sold pretty much everything we had left.”
Since the sell out, Anselmo is already getting a jump on the next order, canvassing the crowd and local businesses, and, as of Saturday, had already close to 50 scarves spoken for in the upcoming shipment.
“We try to do a little bit extra to help the team,” said Anselmo who along with friend Ron Maitland are avid supporters and believe the scarves will make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.
“I spent $80 on them already, and I still need more,” said Maitland.
While the initiative may not make millions, seeing local fans take ownership of a fundraising campaign like the Smoke Eater scarf sales is a positive and valued contribution to the club.
“He went around the rink and that was his donation to the hockey club, and he did a good job,” said Gawryletz. “It’s a fundraiser and anything to make a buck helps.”
In addition, the Smoke Eaters fourth annual Steak and Lobster Ice Breaker dinner gets served up on Saturday at the Trail Memorial Centre in the Cominco Gym.
The dinner also invites patrons to take part in the $1,000 reverse draw, as well as silent and live auctions, and enjoy live music courtesy of Randy Emery and EmeRson.
It is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Smoke Eaters and, so far, ticket sales have exceeded expectations.
“It looks like we’ll probably be close to sold out,” said Gawryletz. “We thought if we hit 200 we’d be happy with everything that’s going on this month, so we’re pretty happy. But I don’t think we’ll turn anybody away, don’t get me wrong.”
Tickets are $50 single and $90 per couple and can be purchased at Re/Max in Trail or from any Smoke Eater board member, or at the Smokie game Friday night, when Trail hosts the Vernon Vipers at 7:30 p.m.