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‘It was completely heartwarming’: A good old hockey game for Lethbridge Hurricanes fan – Lethbridge


A Lethbridge Hurricanes superfan who spent an hours strolling to and from video games every time he might afford a ticket is now a proud season ticket holder because of the staff, a scout and the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

Invoice Vanderleest is a large sports activities fan, however attending video games wasn’t all the time an choice.

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A couple of years in the past, he was utilizing the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen and dealing with the town’s Clean Sweep Program, a program devoted to giving those that want work a job, whereas maintaining the streets of Lethbridge clear.

“I do loads of strolling. I stroll on a regular basis,” he stated. “I’d stroll from downtown all the way in which right here. Minus 30 beneath. However generally I’d take the bus again, on an actual chilly night time.”

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Invoice Ginther, govt director of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, met Vanderleest 4 years in the past. He had heard concerning the lengthy walks Vanderleest would tackle sport night time, and puzzled if there was something the Hurricanes might do.

In 2019 he planted the concept within the Hurricanes’ heads. However in 2020, the season was postponed as a result of pandemic and video games weren’t taking place.

“Very first thing this season I used to be right here and stated. ‘Hmm, what about that ticket?’” stated Ginther. “And naturally it didn’t take very lengthy as a result of the Hurricanes workers have been very prepared to do that.”

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Tamara Nelson is an account govt with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. She stated companies, and even people, will purchase tickets and donate them to the membership to offer out to individuals who wouldn’t usually have the ability to attend a sport.

“We thought it was a extremely, actually nice alternative for us to assist somebody out in our neighborhood,” she stated. “And that’s actually essential to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is giving again to our neighborhood.”

Todd Hassan, a scout, purchases a season ticket yearly for the membership to offer away.

This yr, that ticket went to Vanderleest.

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“I used to be a bit of bit in tears,” Vanderleest stated. “I used to be joyful, ? Very joyful.”

“It was only a excellent match,” stated Ginther. “[Vanderleest] desirous to be right here at each sport and never with the ability to afford that, and now he can come.”

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The Hurricanes hosted their residence opener towards the Calgary Hitmen on Oct. 1. Ginther went to the sport, and made certain to cease by to see Vanderleest.

“The very first thing I keep in mind [Vanderleest] saying is, ‘I’m going to take a seat on this seat each sport,’” Ginther stated. “Yeah, that felt good.”

Nelson additionally remembers seeing Vanderleest sitting in his seat in the course of the sport.

“It was utterly heartwarming,” she stated. “I’m emotional simply speaking about it. He’s very well-known by our season ticket holders as a result of he’s attended so many video games over time.

“So a lot of them had come as much as me after to say how they liked to see Invoice in his personal seat.”


Photograph of Vanderleest on the Lethbridge Hurricanes residence opener.


Fb/Lethbridge Soup Kitchen

Ginther posted a photograph of Vanderleest on the sport on the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen Fb web page. It’s acquired over 300 likes. So, Ginther made one other submit. He figured if Vanderleest was going to each sport, he ought to have a jersey.

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Minutes after posting, Public Picture Co. supplied to purchase the Hurricanes jersey.

It’s the primary hockey jersey Vanderleest has ever owned.

“I really feel like I’m one of many gamers,” he laughed, wanting down at his jersey. “No no, I’m simply joking.”

“It’s little issues like that that we are able to do within the lives of people that don’t have what we do,” stated Ginther. “It makes an enormous distinction.”

Right this moment, Vanderleest doesn’t attend the soup kitchen. He has a spot of his personal and is working.

“I’m all the time happiest when individuals don’t come again,” laughed Ginther. “And what I imply by that’s that they’re now unbiased. They’ll have their very own lives, their very own properties, their very own house.”

For those who’re keen on buying a ticket, or season tickets, to be donated to a charitable group, name the Lethbridge Hurricanes office.




© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.





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