Categories: Local SportsSports

Surrey Eagles’ ticket drive aims to help Peace Arch Hospital Foundation

The Surrey Eagles are enlisting their fans to help them support the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation.

Earlier this month, the South Surrey-based BC Hockey League team announced that if 500 season tickets were purchased for the 2018/19 season, the organization would donate $50,000 to the foundation.

The team has about 200 current season-ticket holders, Eagles’ general manager Blaine Neufeld said. There’s been “100 per cent ” renewal of those ticket holders for next year, he told Peace Arch News, leaving about 300 left to go.

The idea for the ticket drive and donation came about earlier this season, Neufeld said, as a way to thank the community for its renewed interest in the team. A few seasons ago, the junior ‘A’ hockey club was mired in a pair of historically poor seasons, and season-ticket numbers dropped into the low double-digits.

Now, however, the team is competitive and just a few weeks away from its first playoff appearance in four seasons.

“It’s something we’re pretty excited about. The community is starting to get behind the team again… and we just thought, ‘How can we use this hype to help the community?” Neufeld said.

“If the community is willing to get behind us, why wouldn’t we be willing to pay it forward?”

As an added bonus, anyone who buys season tickets before the BCHL playoffs begin in early March receive tickets to the first two Eagles’ playoff games.

Currently, the Eagles are in fourth place in the Mainland Division, and have had a playoff berth locked up since late January.

While Neufeld admitted that such a donation would cut into the team’s profits, it was a no-brainer for front office and owner/president Chuck Westgard.

“Chuck is all about community. It was very natural for him to automatically say, ‘Yes, let’s do this,’” Neufeld explained. “Junior hockey teams do not (usually) make money, so maybe this does into into what would be some profit, but this is a community team, and this team doesn’t survive without the community.

“Our billets, our volunteers, our fans, sponsors – that’s what makes up this hockey team. So why wouldn’t we turn around and help it, if we could?”

Nick Greenizan

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