Perogies, pogos and smokies have regularly been part of the fair for the Fort Frances Lakers, but this year they’re taking it up a notch as they take over the running of the fair’s beer garden as well, with the proceeds going to help with team expenses and their community engagement efforts.
General manager Luke Judson says the team has been a regular feature at the food pavilion for a few years now.
“Our board and volunteers have always run a food booth there and have done really well at it,” Judson said. “It’s kind of a good kickoff to the season to get out there in the community and get some local players out there.”
This year, the Lakers were offered the opportunity to add the beer garden to that, and Judson says it will go towards helping the team financially.
“The funding helps with our travel, with meals on the road with our ice time, some equipment, sticks and whatnot,” Judson said. “This year is probably different from other years in that all the coaches are volunteering, so nothing is going to us, it’s all for the kids.”
The Lakers are making a concerted effort this year to be more involved with the district and community as a whole.
Earlier this summer, they announced an initiative that will see them visiting area schools and reading to local students and have also been present at events like the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women march that took place at Rainy River First Nations.
The team also ran the beer garden for the Canada Day Celebrations in Emo earlier this summer.
Things are ramping up for the community-run team as they prepare for puck drop in September. The Lakers will hold a youth development camp at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre from Sept. 13-17 for players in U9 to U15 Judson says that camp is filling up quickly. Anyone interested can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lakers main camp for their own players runs from Sept. 8-10 and Jr. A-aged players can register for that as well by contacting the team, registration is $160.
The team’s last pre-season fundraiser will be a golf tournament at Heron Landing Golf Course, on Saturday Sept. 9. Interested four-person teams can contact the Heron Landing Pro Shop to register at (807) 274-5678. The first 36 teams to pay their $500 entry will be accepted.
Judson says taking on both the food booth and beer garden will make for a busy time at the fair, but says it’s important for the team to be involved.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend for us,” Judson said. “But I think it’s important that we’re out there in the community. If we expect people to support us at the arena, we need to support things in our community too.”