Nanaimo Clippers hosts thousands of students in franchise’s first school day game

Nanaimo Clippers hosts thousands of students in franchise's first school day game
Nanaimo Clippers faced off against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for the team's first ever school day game.

The Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo was full of students Wednesday as the Clippers hosted its first-ever school day game, giving kids the chance to cheer on their local hockey team.

Robb Hunter, Clippers director of business operations, said the goal was to give every kid a chance to see a hockey game.

Students from several schools across School District 68 were invited to take part.

In September, the school district asked the principals if this is something they would take part in.

“They had 3,700 ticket requests,” Hunter said. “Unfortunately were weren’t able to handle all the ticket requests and so we had to do a bit of a lottery and get as many kids into the building as we possibly could.”

The arena has 2,300 seats and a capacity of 2,500 with standing room.

Hunter said some of those seats were already allocated to season ticket holders, but well over 200 of them volunteered to turn their tickets back in so “we could put a school child into their seats.”

The franchise was a little shocked to see how popular the field trip opportunity was with the schools.

“Apparently hosting a field trip where the kids get to yell and scream the day after Halloween is a massively popular thing with teachers,” Hunter laughed.

Lisa Frey, Cilaire Elementary School principal, said the day after trick-or-treating and lots of treats can be a difficult one in the classroom.

“People are appreciating that opportunity to get to come to a game and be loud, cheer everybody on, see friends and other schools here as well,” she said.

About 90 students from Cilaire Elementary attended the game.

“Many of them haven’t been to a Clippers game before so this is really exciting for them to be here,” Frey explained.

A few Grade 6 students who spoke with CHEK News said they were very happy with the chance to get out of the classroom for a day.

“I think it’s a great experience actually,” Anahita Nasri said.

Kaitlin Edwards explained that “it’s pretty cool.”

The Clippers hope to make the school day game and annual event going forward.

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