VERNON - The last puck will drop at Vernon’s Civic Arena tomorrow night exactly 80 years to the day the facility opened. It will be a city icon farewell full of fun, excitement and a touch of retro.
The Vernon Vipers and the Prince George Spruce Kings will go head-to-head tomorrow, Jan. 6, in the final junior A game at the arena which is slated for demolition this year.
The sold-out retro game will also serve as a fundraiser for the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society.
“We wanted to recognized the Civic Arena in its last year of operation,” says Dean Francks, director of business and fund development for the society. He also hopes to raise awareness and some cash for the society.
A silent auction will have fans bidding on retro wooden hockey sticks the Vipers will use in warm-up. The sticks will have a commemorative Civic Arena decal on them. The team’s jerseys for the night will also be up for auction.
Todd Miller, executive vice president of the Vernon Vipers Hockey Club, says fans can expect some different expectations to abide by during the big game.
“Due to the number of people who are expected for this game, the City of Vernon has allowed fans to bring in outside food for this game only,” says Miller. However, no beverages will be allowed in, and no alcohol will be served at the event.
“Anyone attempting to bring in an outside beverage will be turned away at the door or asked to get rid of the drink.”
There will, however, be several local food trucks on site for fans wishing to purchase food during the wait to enter the arena. There will be a concession inside with limited food items for sale.
Vipers season ticket holders will be granted first access at 4 p.m. Those holders can only reserve the number of seats that they have season tickets for.
General admission tickets will be allowed access to the arena starting at 5 p.m. All seating is general admission with no reservations.
It won’t be known if any additional tickets will be available to the general public until about 5:30 p.m., says Miller.
“Once we know how many of the season ticket holders have attended the game we will have an idea on how many additional tickets may be available.”
Fans wanting to attend who do not have tickets are encouraged to be at the Civic Arena by 5 p.m. game day and be prepared to pay cash.
Puck drops at 6 p.m., with a number of players representing Vernon minor hockey and junior teams being honoured before the game. These include former NHLers Aaron Volpatti, Brent Gilchrist, Jerred Smithson and Ed Johnstone.
Vipers head coach Mark Ferner will be dressed in 1930s attire. The Vipers will wear senior hockey team Vancouver Lions’ cream and maroon jerseys with a big V on the front, Civic Arena patch on one shoulder and Vipers patch on the other. The Lions played the first hockey game at Civic 80 years ago.
The Civic Arena ice surface is being replaced with a twin sheet at Kal Tire Place, home of the Vernon Vipers. It is slated for opening this fall.
For more information on tickets or the event, contact the Viper office at 250-542-6022.
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