O’LEARY – The manager of the Prince County Warriors admits some of her excitement in seeing the team win the P.E.I. Major Bantam AAA Hockey League championship last weekend turned to panic, when she realized the team had just two weeks to raise all the money needed to fly the team to Torbay, N.L., for the Atlantic championship from April 5 to 8.
Bonnie Wood said her panic was short-lived, however. A parents meeting was held Wednesday at the O’Leary Community Sports Centre while the players were out on the ice for the first time after defeating the Charlottetown-based Central Attack 3-2 in a winner-take-all Game 5 of the best-of-five championship series Saturday night.
Wood said Hockey P.E.I. had already arranged the flight for whichever team won the Island title, but it is up to the team to cover the cost.
Wood said the Warriors did have some funds set aside from 50/50 draws and admissions throughout the year, but she said it is still going to require considerable fundraising to get the 25 team members, including 19 players, to Newfoundland and Labrador and to provide accommodations while they’re there. She said everyone was onboard to help with the cause, and other hockey teams in the area are providing them with fundraising opportunities. The Warriors will be guests at the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals’ playoff game against the Campbellton Tigers on Friday night at Eastlink Arena, and the team will have a booth available where they will be able to sell tickets on a gift basket.
Then on Sunday evening, a group pf parents and players will have a table set up Sunday night during the junior C playoff game in Tignish.
Wood said arrangements are also being made for players to bag groceries at grocery stores from Summerside to Tignish while accepting donations towards their Atlantic championship appearance.
Our goal is to get the whole team there at no cost,” said Wood. She added that parents, and anyone else accompanying the team to Newfoundland and Labrador, will be responsible for their own expenses.
The Warriors scored twice in the final three minutes to edge the Attack in the deciding game, played at MacLauchlan Arena on the UPEI campus. All of the Prince County team’s wins in the final were on the road, and they never trailed the series. They rebounded from a 2-1 series deficit to defeat the Eastern Express 3-2 in the best-of-five semifinal.
In addition to helping with fundraising, Wood said the players are committed to regular practices right up until they leave for the regional championship. They fly out of Halifax on April 4 and will have a practice in Torbay that evening.