Salmonbellies’ Seats for Soldiers Night

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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.

Bellies are back for more: 2010 WLA season begins tonight

First practise on the new floors at QPA

Tonight, historic Queen’s Park Arena will open its doors for the first time this season as the Royal City’s beloved Senior Salmonbellies lacrosse team will be playing their home opener. Returning to the wooden floor for the first time since their heart-wrenching, game seven, overtime loss in last September’s Mann Cup series, the team is fresh and ready to start over in their drive for the 25th championship in club history.

New West will play host to the Langley Thunder beginning at 7:45pm. These two teams last met in round one of the 2009 Western Lacrosse Association play-offs when the ‘Bellies knocked the Thunder out in four straight games.

The 2010 season began for the ‘Bellies on Friday when they took to the road and beat the Lakers 9-3 in Burnaby. Since then, many of the team’s star players have returned from their off-season commitments of playing in the National Lacrosse League and in colleges and universities all over the continent. It is anticipated that the squad will be completely reunited by June 1.

Tonight is New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Appreciation Night. Every minor Salmonbellie who comes to the door in uniform will be admitted for free along with their family. (Langley minors in uniform will also be let in for free.) Tickets, for those without a uniform (or a NW minor) are available at the door. The Barn will open at 7pm and the first 500 fans in the door will receive a ‘Bellies magnet courtesy of ReMax Advantage Realty.

Come out and support the most historic team in lacrosse, your New Westminster Senior Salmonbellies, as they kick off their 121st season!

Carly Rigby is a New Westminster resident and Salmonbellies social media maven and is the voice behind @salmonbellies on Twitter.