Wenatchee Wild Boosters and the Awesome Work They Do
Inside the Town Toyota Center, fans cheer on their Wenatchee Wild as the Junior 'A' hockey team looks to make a run in the BCHL playoffs. Among the passionate fan base is a group of people who promote the team in their community efforts, both on and off the ice.
A big part of the team's success is the work of the Wenatchee Wild Booster Club, an organization in its second year with 75 members and four officers: President Walt Kursave, Vice President Buz Elshire, Secretary Shari Alexander, and Treasurer Cara Tuck.
They play huge roles promoting and providing charitable activities and programs along with raising funds for the benefit of the Wenatchee Wild organization. The booster club also explores ways to provide support for the players.
"We just finished buying six portable, inflatable ice tubs for them to take on trips. They always need some kind of cooling device for some of the guys with bruises and tenderness. So, we picked up six of those with air pumps to give to the boys." Kursave said.
For road trips, the booster club provides goodie bags filled with cookies, beef sticks, fruit chews and other snacks.
"It's been a wonderful experience for us and the guys. They've got to know who some of the patrons are, their fans, and they really do seem to appreciate it. The coaches have mentioned too that it's really a good thing for them. Some of the bus trips are kind of long." Kursave added.
The non-profit also provides scholarships for the players, but the gratuity along with the goodie bags and ice tubs require a lot of time fundraising and running various programs.
At some home games, a $5 donation gets you five pucks to throw out onto the ice during second intermission for a chance to win money and prizes. The club also runs a raffle called 50/50 where half of the proceeds go to the winner and the other half to the club to benefit the team.
A number of fans also contributed to a season long raffle ending with Denise Pflugrath, a Wild fan from day one, taking home the big prize: a custom-made fire pit crafted by a donor.
Sponsorships also play a crucial role in the fundraising effort. As vice president, Elshire spends a fair amount of time looking for sponsors.
"I really like going and talking to people and telling them what we do and they're more than willing to support us." Elshire said.
As the date approaches for the club to vote for new officers and members, the future looks bright for the club.
"We're looking to recruit younger kids. Well, younger kids compared to me, you know, in their 40s 50s 60s." Elshire said. "We've been very lucky. Probably 95% of our sponsors have resigned and we've added quite a few more this year."
If you would like more information about the club or how to become a booster, here's a link to their webpage.
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