Brandon, MB. – Another Wheat Kings’ Q Country Sportsman’s Dinner has come and gone.
The event, which is held annually to raise money for the hockey club’s Scholarship Fund, attracted well over six hundred people Thursday night and featured Hockey Canada Chief Executive Officer Tom Renney, comedian Steve Patterson and Brandon born hockey broadcaster Daren Millard.
In addition to the dinner, the evening featured both live and silent auctions and among the high bids during the night included special packages from both the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers, signed jerseys from former Wheat Kings Matt Calvert, Mark Stone, Kale Clague, Travis Hamonic as well as a game worn jersey from Vegas Golden Knights’ Ryan Reaves and an exciting fly-in fishing vacation donated by Sunrise Credit Union.
The fishing trip for two to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in northern Manitoba, which was valued at close to $6,000, was purchased by Snap On Tools with a high bid of $4,600.
Community Futures Westman and Sunrise Credit Union purchased the Reaves’ jersey and the Winnipeg Jets package, which featured an autographed jersey from Mark Scheifele, for $1,250 each. Kal Tire purchased the Winnipeg Blue Bomber package for $1,200. In addition to Canad Inns suite tickets for a 2019 regular season game, the successful bidder took home a Matt Nichols autographed jersey.
Meanwhile Atom Jet Group and Pik a Dilly RV Centre were the evening’s Table Prize draw winners Thursday night. Atom Jet won a skybox suite to a 2019 Winnipeg Goldeyes’ baseball game while Pik-a-Dilly took home a Corporate barbecue for 12 from Montana’s Cookhouse.
The first Sportsman’s Dinner was held on May 2, 1959, featuring Father Athol Murray, NHL great Bill Mosienko and baseball player Lefty Gomez in the Brandon Armoury. A second one was held a year later, but the dinner was then mothballed for seven years until 1968. It’s been an annual event since.
While the dinner was originally a fundraiser for the community-owned team, it now helps the team fund its scholarship foundation. The team currently has 23 former players in post-secondary institutions. For each year a player is in the league, he receives a full year of tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to a post-secondary institution of his choice.
Since the program began in 1993, the WHL has contributed in excess of $19 million to graduate players. This season, WHL clubs will contribute over $2 million.
This year’s dinner was presented by TELUS, which in addition to its sponsorship of the event donated a $1,000 cheque to the hockey club’s Scholarship Foundation during the event.
On the ice, the Wheat Kings return to the friendly confines of Westman Place Friday night to host the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
Friday night is “Player Card Giveaway Night”, presented by Guild HMS Insurance and will feature a pre-game ceremonial opening face-off, in recognition of the 50th Tournament of Champions.
Tickets to the game are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com