If you’re checking your ‘Things-to-do’ list, the Trail Smoke Eaters games should be at the top this holiday season.
The Smoke Eaters have a number of festive events planned for the upcoming matches and all carry one simple theme over the holidays – the season of giving.
“The Smoke Eaters organization is extremely excited for the upcoming December home games,” said Corporate Sales and Events Manager, Allison McCarthy. “We have been busy planning a month of great promotions, intermission contest fun and bringing in the holiday spirit to game night.”
The Smokies Teddy Bear Toss and Re/Max Christmas Toy Drive goes on Saturday when they face the Penticton Vees. Fans are encouraged to bring a stuffy, or warm socks, toques, or gloves to throw on the ice after Trail scores its first goal. The collection of gifts will be shared by the Columbia View Lodge, Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre, Rosewood, Poplar Ridge, Inner-city school program at Warfield, and Sanctuary.
McCarthy says volunteers will hand out plastic bags for the toys, or fans can bring their Teddy-Bear-Toss gifts in plastic bags so they don’t get damaged on the ice.
And in the spirit of the holiday season, Re/Max All Pro Realty will set up by the Spud Shack and collect toys and donations with all proceeds going to the Salvation Army and Fruitvale Community Chest to make the holidays a little brighter for local kids. Fans who donate will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Smoke Eaters prize pack.
The Smokies intermission will also highlight the Re/Max Roll for a Full House Yahtzee.
But if you had to pick one game, the Dec. 19th Welcome Wednesday game between the Smokies and Wenatchee Wild is one not to be missed.
Not only will $4 from every ticket purchased at the Smoke Eaters box office go to a non-profit group of your choice, but the Smoke Eaters will honour Greater Trail’s First Responders with free admission, and it will also be a homecoming for a very special guest.
“We’re going to have Craig Cunningham, the Tucson Roadrunner captain present at the game,” said McCarthy. “He’s going to do the ceremonial puck drop.”
All proceeds from the puck toss will go to the Warfield native’s All Heart Foundation that Cunningham started during his recovery from a sudden cardiac arrest suffered on the ice before an AHL game on Nov. 19, 2016. Emergency Responders saved the professional hockey player’s life, and Cunningham along with Dr. Zain Khalpey began the foundation in an effort to predict sudden cardiac arrest through smart technology.
Cunningham has also donated a signed Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins jersey for raffle.
On Dec. 21, Trail plays the Merritt Centennials, with a ‘Home for the Holidays’ mega 50/50 to highlight the night. The prize pot will start at $4,760, the amount that went unclaimed in a September 50/50 draw. Game night sponsor Ferraro Foods will bring back its Flinko contest, and the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be blasting VH Sport Christmas T-shirts from the T-shirt cannon.
“We have lots going on, but it’s going to be great.”
Trail played the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night, but the score was unavailable at press time. The Smoke Eaters next home game goes on Saturday against the Vees at 7 p.m.