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Vees ready to reward fans, set all-time attendance record March 22 at 'Feed the Valley Night'

For the first time since the pandemic, the Penticton Vees have experienced a moderately mortal regular season. Sure, they're still one of the best teams in the entire BCHL. With this organization, that always seems to be the case.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

It's just that in 2023-24, they haven’t dominated quite as much as they usually do. And that sentiment alone shows just how good this team has been in recent years.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

Recently though, the Vees have been putting it all together. Coming into Friday night's affair against the resurgent West Kelowna Warriors, for example, they'd won six in a row. Then, in a game where they never held a lead at any point during regulation time, they ultimately pulled out a gutsy 4-3 victory on a Thomas Pichette OT marker.

<who>Photo Credit: Tami Quan<who> Scene from Friday night victory

With the win, Penticton clinched its 12th consecutive (!!!) Interior Conference Division crown and assured themselves of home ice advantage throughout the Interior playoffs.

Even in last night's narrow 2-1 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the Vees were in charge. They outplayed, outchanced and outshot (38-21) their opposition.

But the league title is still up for grabs. The Vees trail Coastal Conference leading Surrey Eagles by five points. If they're able to eliminate that gap in their final four games, all of which are in the friendly confines of the SOEC, they'd grab home ice advantage in the Cup finals too, should they make it that far.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

All of this to say that unlike the last two seasons, the local squad's final home games still have meaning.

But perhaps none more so than next Friday's affair versus the Merritt Centennials. That’s the night the product on the ice will be challenged for supremacy by the product off it.

<who>Photo Credit: Penticton Vees<who>

It’s the 12th annual Valley First "Feed the Valley Night," an evening when fans are asked to bring stuff with them to the rink – stuff like non-perishable food items and/or cash donations. All of the above will then be handed over to the Salvation Army's awesome Food Bank.

And this year, says Vee's Director of Broadcasting and Communications Fraser Rodgers, is more critical than most.

"Food security is such a concern right now in our community and right across BC," said Rodgers, a guy who seemingly never takes a day off. "The Salvation Army is in dire need of donations, both non-perishable and monetary donations. With cost of living and inflation issues, it’s almost at a breaking point for them right now.

"Al Madsen with the Salvation Army just told me they spent $10,000 last week on food, just to get enough for their hampers. And they need that weekly."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

But this year, the Vees are delivering a substantially enhanced Feed the Valley Night – an evening where giving generously is just one of numerous incentives.

And when it's all said and done, the team hopes to have set an all-new league-wide attendance record and made a few of its fans quite a bit richer in the process.

"So on a night where we're trying to maximize both financial and non-perishable donations," said Rodgers, "we're also trying to pack the arena. We want to break the BCHL attendance record. Chilliwack did it last year with a crowd of 5,008. But we can break that.

"We can fit 5,100 people into the building. And it we do that, it means more donations for the Food Bank too. So everybody wins."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

According to Rodgers, the Vees attracted its biggest crowd ever during the 2022-23 "Pink the Rink" anti-bullying night. It was 4,778. So he figures they're not far off.

But wait. There's more.

For starters, the team is offering a "guaranteed" 50/50 jackpot of $10,000 on March 22. Indeed, tickets to that 50/50 are available online right now, right here.

As well, fans who donate a minimum of three non-perishable food items or five bucks can enter to win a "Vees Ultimate Playoff Experience" package that includes a suite for ten people at the first playoff game on April 5, a $200 food and beverage credit, an autographed Vees jersey, a visit from team mascot Harvee and assorted swag.

There's even a perk designed just for businesses. If any business brings ten or more people to the game as well as ten or more non-perishable food items, they can enter to win two corporate passes for the 2024-25 season.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble<who> Scene from 2023 Cup run

And as if all of the above isn’t enough, the team is also offering 12-ounce draft beers at just five bucks apiece.

All of the above goes down during the Friday, March 22 contest versus the Merritt Centennials. Game time is 7 pm at the SOEC. For more info and/or to buy tickets (adults are $19, seniors are $17, local kids and students under 18 are free) go here.

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