By Dale Woodard
Alta Newspaper Group – Lethbridge
Score a repeat award for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
As the Western Hockey League doled out its year-end awards earlier this month, the Hurricanes were named the winner of the Eastern Conference Business Award winners for the second straight season.
Winning this year’s Business Award for the Western Conference were the Seattle Thunderbirds.
“Through continued growth and innovation, the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club is the Eastern Conference recipient of the WHL Business Award. As the premiere sports and entertainment experience in southern Alberta, the Hurricanes have successfully executed new ventures in order to strengthen their roots with fans and communities in southern Alberta,” said the league in a press release.
The hiring of a Fan Experience co-ordinator helped to further establish the Hurricanes vision for an engaging game-day experience.
Implementation of intermission segments featuring skaters dressed in dinosaur costumes quickly became an online hit and convinced other WHL Clubs to follow the lead set by the Hurricanes.
The curation of the team’s digital content also became a focal point in their outreach efforts. Providing behind-the-scenes access of the players, the Hurricanes delivered unparalleled access to their players to build positive engagement. Along with the implementation of new ticketing software to make online ticket sales more accessible to fans, the Hurricanes saw growth in their number of season tickets sold as well as an overall growth in attendance.
The league added the Canes’approach to community relations has also benefitted the entire region of southern Alberta and further solidified the Hurricanes’role in the region.
In addition to contributing over $163,000 to local communities and organizations, the Hurricanes placed their focus on extending their community outreach beyond Lethbridge’s city limits.
Executing initiatives in rural communities such as Coaldale, Magrath and Raymond, the Hurricanes provided presentations on leadership, anti-bullying, financial literacy and concussion awareness. They also connected with the rural communities through attending minor hockey practices, helping to build positive skills on and off the ice.
The WHL Business Award is presented annually to the WHL member Club exemplifying a connectedness with their community through giving back while also providing fans with an unforgettable game-day experience.”
Last year, the Hurricanes lost out to the Everett Silvertips for the WHL Business Award. The winner this year will be announced May 6.