The Prince George Cougars have two more home games in October, and they are billed to be good ones, on and off the ice.
The team has donated $50,000 to buy tickets for local heroes to the Saturday (6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (5:00 p.m.) games against the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers.
Community Heroes Weekend and our first Mega 50/50 of the year is THIS WEEKEND!
Mark your calendars and get ready for a weekend of excitement, camaraderie, and generosity as we come together to support our local heroes!
— Prince George Cougars (@PGCougars) October 16, 2023
A combination of other local businesses have combined for an additional 3,500 donated tickets.
These local heroes include first responders, northern health, search and rescue, teachers and more.
“Last year was awesome, it might have been one of the most entertaining games of the year,” Cougars Director of Business, Taylor Dakers, told Vista Radio.
The Cats won that game 6-4 over the Vancouver Giants, scoring 5 unanswered goals in the first period after the Giants opened the game with the first two.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) November 14, 2022
“If we could get a couple more of those games, that would be really nice,” he said.
A big draw for many fans this weekend will be the highly anticipated Mega 50/50 jackpot draw, which starts at a guaranteed $50,000 thanks to a donation from Wood Wheaton Supercentre.
“The people we work with do a really good job,” Dakers said. “They want to increase 50/50 sales, awareness of the game, awareness of the draw and the beneficiaries of that draw.”
The half of the jackpot that isn’t won by a lucky fan will go to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, the Firefighter’s Charitable Society, and RCMP Victim’s Services.
“The goal on the fundraising side is to build buzz, get people talking about the game and the beneficiaries. The higher that number goes, the more excited someone is to win, and from our side we get to help those organizations,” he continued.
50/50 tickets to these Mega Jackpot nights have been purchasable online for the last few seasons, but Dakers said the team has been happy to see the winners of the last four draws were all in the building when their ticket was drawn.
“To tell someone they just won around $72,000… it is pretty exciting to see someone walk away with a life changing situation like that.”
Sunday’s game will also have a tailgate party as well as a secret post-game surprise.
Dakers expects the CN Centre to have 5,000 or more people at each game as tickets continue to sell.
“Sunday particularly could get up there, could be 5,500, could be higher than that… I am not going to say the “s” word, but it has been talked about, there is potential,” he said.
The CN Centre’s capacity is a little under 6.000.
The Cougars hope the games on the ice match and exceed all the excitement off the ice.
The team is off to a hot start to the season, earning a 7-3-0-0 record through the first 10 games, firmly on top of the BC Division and tied for the Western Conference lead.
The WHL’s top three point scorers are all Prince George Cougars, and they have the league’s best powerplay (40.0%).
Their last game was on Friday in Kelowna, a 5-4 loss.
The Cougars will have had 8 days of rest between that game and Saturday when the last place Kamloops Blazers (1-6-2-0) come to town.
Medicine Hat (6-3-1-0) will be in town to complete the weekend on Sunday, lead by former first-overall WHL Entry Draft pick Gavin McKenna.
The 16-year-old rookie has 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points in 10 games.
For more information on Heroes Weekend, click here.