For the first time in nearly a decade, the Lakehead Thunderwolves are producing hockey cards.
The cards, sponsored in part by Tbaytel and Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, will feature each player on the 2013-14 squad, plus a prevention message aimed at teaching youngsters the value of fire safety.
Thunderwolves Hockey executive director Jason Mallon said hockey cards have a long history with the sport and it’s something the team has wanted to do for some time.
But it wasn’t until they found some sponsorship dollars that it made financial sense.
“It’s just a great program. We’re excited and we’re fortunate enough to be able to launch cards. It’s been since 2004-05,” Mallon said.
He added the cards are another way for the players to connect with the community, noting many of today’s players grew up watching the Wolves as youngsters.
Now it’s their turn to give back.
“They look up to the Thunderwolves. Even my daughter, who’s been to a game, that’s who she looks at as the big team. So it’s great for kids. We’re going to get out there and into the schools with our players. We’re going to be out at Fort William First Nations Arena this weekend at the Robin’s tournament, with a couple of players and Anthony (Stokaluk) from the fire department handing out some cards there,” Mallon said.
Young fans will also be able to pick up a free set of cards at the Thunderwolves’ Feb. 15 game, the regular-season finale, against Waterloo.
It’s a great chance to get a good message across to youngsters too, Mallon added.
“That’s the big thing. Fire prevention and tips, if you can just stop one (fire) from one of these messages and talk to the kids about that (it’s worked). That’s why we’re going to go into the schools and talk about fire prevention.”
That suits Deputy Fire Chief Greg Hankkio just fine.
“Fire prevention and public fire safety education is really the first line of defence in our goal as a fire service to reduce the number of preventable fires within the community,” Hankkio said.
“Our hope is that it will be taken that much more seriously in the community.”
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