While the Hazelton Wolverines didn’t have the best season on the scoreboard and with the overall stats in this year’s CIHL, behind the scenes the team has continued to grow. Despite the lack of wins and some hard fought games, throughout it all the people and the local businesses of the Hazeltons have stood behind their hockey club. Without a doubt, the largest sponsor from the start, and again this year, was the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs according to Wolverines Executive member Jessica Mikolaycyzk.
“They have been a big supporter of the team since its inception and have stood by while we have been building this team,” she explained. “Without their support and that of other sponsors the viability of the team wouldn’t be there. One thing that is really great about the Chiefs is they recognize that the team is an important part of the town and to the kids.”
That full support has not been lost on the players either and defencemen Brad Sebastian said they appreciate everyone making it work.
“It’s really good to know that you have the kind of support like that from the Chiefs and to have people that believe in us,” he said. “They have been there through all our ups and downs and it is good for the guys to know that they are always there for us no matter what.”
Not only were the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs a big sponsor of the team, they also bought the jerseys again this year and Mikolayczyk said she would be surprised if any other team in the league had that kind of support.
“It’s nice to know that the Chiefs are 100 per cent behind building and growing this team,” she said. “I can’t think of any other CIHL team that gets the level of sponsorships that we get from the them.
“It’s something they should be proud of. They really step up to the plate and with people like Sadi Mowat who is a member of the board of directors who we were very honoured to have come up and have her photo taken with the team. It’s just another way that they are showing our team that they have their support. “
In addition to the Chiefs, there were other sponsors this year like the Bulkley Valley Credit Union and several other small local businesses. Yet, there was another unique level of support this year and that was the donation of the new mascot “Wolfy” by the 2010 Hockeyville Committee.
“There was some funds that we were able to allocate to creating the new mascot, Wolfy and he will be a big promoter for the team in the future,” Mikolayczyk explained. “He will be out and helping people and kids get excited all year long and he will be attending special events such as Pioneer Day.”
The creators of Wolfy even tell a wonderful story to the children of how the mascot came to be part of the team. It starts by explaining how the little baby wolverine started his life with his family in a cave in the heart of Gitxsan Territories. That his mother watched over him as a new generation began and how he grew up playing with his siblings and learning about survival in the woods. As an important addition they also tell of how Wolfy worked hard and never gave up and even when he would lose a battle, he would go back an practice hard to be the best he could be. Wolfy told the youngsters that he thinks education, family and having fun are all important in order to be successful. In closing, his story tells of how he came to be the Hazelton mascot after seeing “how everyone worked together to achieve their goals.”
Organizers promise that Wolfy will continue to not only be a mascot for the hockey team but also something for the young and young at heart to enjoy at future games and events.
“He was a huge hit with the kids this year and we went to all the schools,” Mikolayczyk said. “Regardless of the season, the fans have stayed true, the kids love our new mascot and we are working hard to build a team for the future.”