A few years ago, Salmonbellies President and General Manager Dan Richardson received an email requesting a t-shirt for a loved one stationed in Khandahar. From there, he put together a plan to send some additional Salmonbellies merchandise and some lacrosse equipment to some soldiers overseas. The success and goodwill from Operation: Salmonbellie got him thinking about how the team could expand what they were doing.
“I thought we could do a much better job of supporting our Canadian Military,” explained Richardson. “I got the idea for Seats for Soldiers from Major League Baseball organizations that plan similar events.”
Through connections to the Royal Westminster Regiment, Richardson’s plan was put into action and the first of what has become an annual event took place last summer.
“We really embraced the idea of working with the Royal Westminster Regiment and showed that a local sports team can really produce a first class event in name of the Canadian Forces,” said Board Member David MacGrotty explaining the success of the event. “The ‘Bellies are very fortunate to have the support of all our sponsors, the WLA, the City of New Westminster, all branches of the Canadian Forces and, most of all, the fans who came out to show their support in a big way.”
Like last year, the event will feature military displays, bands and bagpipers throughout the night. All Armed Forces, Legion Members, Veterans, Cadets and their families will get into the game free and partial proceeds from the night will be donated to The Military Family Resource Centre, which offers support for families of soldiers who are serving overseas. The players will be wearing camouflage jerseys specially designed for the event and, in the off season, goaltender Matt Roik’s mask was painted as a permanent tribute to soldiers past and present. If you’re planning to attend, please wear red to show your support for the Salmonbellies and for Canadian Troops.
The Seats for Soldiers event will take place TONIGHT (June 3rd) at Queen’s Park Arena when the Salmonbellies play host to the Victoria Shamrocks. In addition to all the military related special events, lacrosse fans will also get to see the top two teams in the WLA play for first place. Game time is at 7:45 and the first 500 fans will get RBC Thundersticks at the door.