When the West Kelowna Warriors hit the ice Friday night in the first of three straight games against the Vernon Vipers, there will be more on the line than just two points.
The Warriors will wrap up a month-long campaign to raise money and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society with its annual fundraiser game.
“This year we are doing things a little differently,” explained Warriors’ director of business operations Andrew Deans. “The players and coaches are doing Movember, we’ve done a poster that will be for sale and we have a raffle going on. The whole idea is to have as big of an outreach as we can. We want to create as much buzz as we can to draw out the fans and help the cancer society.
So far the Warriors have raised close to $6,000 in its month long campaign, already more than what the club was able to raise in its cancer fundraiser last season.
Warriors’ captain Max French, who has been out of the lineup for six weeks, has spent plenty of that time out in the community drumming up support for the Warriors’ fundraising efforts.
The 20-year-old West Kelowna native says the work in the community has been a good distraction while he rehabs his injury.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said French, who is targeting a Dec. 7 return to the lineup. “To have something like Movember we can get the team involved and were raising money so it’s a great way to get really strong community involvement. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been able to be out in the stands during our games and promoting our efforts as much as I can.”
Friday night’s game kicks off three straight games against the Vipers as the teams will also play Saturday in Vernon and then next Friday back in Royal LePage Place, when French may return from injury.
The Warriors enter the weekend in a heated battle for position in the BCHL Interior. At 10-7-1-6, the club is one point behind second place Merritt and just four points ahead of sixth place Trail.
French says it’s important to have good results against the Vipers, who enter the weekend three points behind West Kelowna.
“Playing them three times in a row it’s like a playoff series,” said French. “You have to send a message early. Uou have to get a great start and really focus on staying consistent.”
The Warriors are expecting fellow 20-year-old Brett McKinnon to be back in the lineup for Friday night’s game.