The Neepawa Natives Junior ‘A’ hockey team is planning an expansion of two very successful projects from last year, while also launching a brand new initiative.
Neepawa Annual Sports Dinner
Last year, the team partnered with the Town of Neepawa to sponsor the annual Sports Dinner. This year, with the Town’s blessing, the team has taken over the organization of the dinner, with extensive help from Ann Kuharski and the Yellowhead Centre. For 2016, the club is planning to do the dinner in a big way. Calgary Flames superstar Lanny McDonald has been booked as the guest speaker. The dinner will be held at the Yellowhead Centre on Saturday, Oct. 15***. Tickets are $75 per person. It’s expected that the dinner will be a sell-out affair.
***Revision*** A scheduling conflict has required the change in date of the Sports Dinner to Saturday, Nov. 5th.
Harvest for Hockey
Last year, the Neepawa Natives launched the Harvest for Hockey project, where several individual farmers dumped some grain directly from their combines into a big truck and the grain was sold on behalf of the team. Harvest for Hockey raised over $11,000 for the team. The Neepawa Natives are looking to expand that project this year by not only repeating last year’s effort, but by also setting up accounts at local grain elevators so farmers can allocate some grain to the Neepawa Natives account. More details are coming soon on this project.
Billet Sponsor program
A new initiative this year is the billet sponsorship program. One of the team’s largest expenses (over $50,000) is the $2,100 per player per season billeting costs. Each year, the Natives receive huge support from businesses for advertising sponsorships. The billet sponsorship program is an opportunity for hockey-minded individuals to help sustain a good hockey experience and a good family style billeting environment for all the players; young men who come to be part of Neepawa from all across Canada. So far, four people have stepped up to provide a billet sponsorship. The team needs 25 in total and is asking for six post dated cheques for $350 per month to cover the monthly billet costs for one player.