The 100 Mile House Wranglers are working on becoming more consistent with engaging in the community. On Jan. 27, they organized a street hockey game in the back parking lot section of Save-on-Foods.
“That was fun… It was kind of cute to see the guys working with the locals. There were lots of young kids running around shooting pucks,” said Dale Hladun, the general manager of the club.“It was well attended and we’re quite happy.”
Kim McCoy, director of billeting, wasn’t sure how many kids came to slap the puck around with the Wranglers but was also very happy with how the street hockey game went.
Greg Aiken, the organization’s vice-president, was also at the scene and firing the t-shirt cannon, something he does every home game at the arena.
McCoy said the idea came together after a recent letter to the editor was published in the 100 Mile Free Press about an incident pertaining to the District of 100 Mile and some kids playing street hockey.
“We were just talking about and we thought why don’t we get the Wranglers out and have a big street hockey game and that’s how it happened,” she said, mentioning that the Wranglers were free on Jan. 26.
Both Hladun and McCoy mentioned how cold it was. The coach said he couldn’t get over how some of the kids weren’t wearing any toques, while McCoy said all the kids were having fun running around but the parents and volunteers watching probably felt the chill.
Both also said everyone looked like they all enjoyed the event, despite the cold.
The street hockey game was only part of the Wrangler’s community engagement, which has been ongoing for the past couple of months with them singing carols during Christmas as well as trips to South Cariboo elementary schools to read and play floor hockey with the students.
“I just wanted to help out with the association to get some community involvement and have the boys go into the school,” said Renee LaRochelle, a billet mom who volunteered to helps facilitate the players’ trips to schools.
“I think our community supports the Wranglers through their season and I feel like it’s really important for the Wranglers to be immersed in the community they are living and playing… I brought the Wranglers into 100 Mile Elementary last week. The kids just cheered. So many of the players are perceived by the kids as role models and kind of like their heroes, so I think it gives the children an opportunity to connect.”
The team went to Forest Grove Elementary School on Jan. 30 and will be going to Horse Lake Elementary in the future.
LaRochelle said seeing the players and kids connect warmed her heart and it’s important for the Wranglers players to see the impact they have when they are visible in the community.
McCoy said what LaRochelle is doing is wonderful and has received many good comments from the principals and definitely want the players to come back.
She also added that the organization has been throwing around some more ideas for community engagement.
One of them according to McCoy, which isn’t concrete, was having a skills competition like they do in the NHL.
“There’s always ideas that we’re throwing around, it’s just a matter of having someone put it together,” said McCoy.