Ryan MacEachern, owner and operator of Port Alberni Boston Pizza, and Mike Roberts, ADSS Athletic Director, unveil the new Armada Athletics van outside of Boston Pizza on Monday, Nov. 6. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

ADSS Athletics Department unveils new passenger van

Funds came from Armada Athletics Department benefit concert series

The Alberni District Secondary School Athletic Department has unveiled their newest 15-seat passenger van to transport student athletes.

The purchase came about as a direct result of the Athletic Department’s Benefit Concert series this year, which took place in the ADSS auditorium in the spring.

This is the school’s fourth van. They now have two 15-seat vans and two 24-seat busses.

The difficulty, said athletic director Mike Roberts, is that Port Alberni is a one high school town, so athletic tournaments take place in other towns. High school athletes have to travel over the hump frequently, which can be costly.

“We try to reduce costs for the parents,” said Roberts. “We have 400-500 athletes that use those buses on a regular basis.”

The benefit concert series was put on partly because of a partnership with Port Alberni Boston Pizza. Owner and operator Ryan MacEachern said he had been working with the school for a sponsor wall in the gym.

“[Mike Roberts] started to share with me how much cost there is in transporting students,” said MacEachern. “I came up with the idea of using the auditorium as a theatre.”

The first Athletics Department concert series had 12 sponsors and two sold out events. With the funding raised by the concert series, the Athletics Department was able to purchase a new van that will be available for many years.

“It was a total success,” said MacEachern.

Some of the fundraised costs also go towards maintenance of the school-owned vehicles. “Even in the winter months, they’re taxed,” said Roberts. “We try to keep them safe and operational for the kids”

MacEachern said he hopes this will be held on an annual basis. The next concert series will take place on April 7 and 8, 2018, and will feature Elton John & Billy Joel: A Tribute to the Piano Man, and Heroes of Rock Round 2 with Paul Laine.

MacEachern grew up in Langley, and he was impressed when he moved to Port Alberni with the community’s support for the local high school.

“We were blown away with the culture of the school,” he said. “Totem made us really want to be a part of the success.”

Boston Pizza held a gathering for last year’s gold level sponsors on Monday, Nov. 6 to unveil the newest van.

“We just want to say thank you to the people of Port Alberni,” said Roberts on Monday night.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com