As the province introduces incentives to try to entice people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a local business has started its own campaign to convince hesitant people to get the jab.
Earlier this week, the Brandon Wheat Kings started a draw for team-related prizes that can only be entered by showing proof of vaccination.
Participants have the chance to win one of four prizes: a $1,500 donation toward any youth sports registration, a Traeger wood pellet grill worth $1,000, and a Wheat Kings birthday for five, a pair of season tickets or 10 luxury suite tickets.
Those leaving their vaccination appointments at the Keystone Centre supersite or who have already gotten one or more vaccine doses just need to pop by the team’s store at the venue and show their vaccination card or proof of vaccination to get an entry ballot.
The team has also worked out a deal that lets the Wheat Kings advertise inside the supersite.
Recent visitors to the site may have noticed a screen set up in the post-vaccination waiting area showing highlights from the Wheaties’ recently concluded season, which they came out of the Regina hub as East Division champions as well as information on how to buy tickets.
According to Branden Crowe, the team’s play-by-play voice and director of digital sales and strategic marketing, the Wheat Kings were looking to find a way to encourage locals to get vaccinated.
"Realistically, for the Brandon Wheat Kings to have fans back in the building in the fall and have a regular season, it’s going to be largely based on vaccine percentages in the province," Crowe said.
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"This kinda was a way to tie it all together. If you’re a Wheat Kings fan and want Wheat King hockey back and want to be able to sit in your seat and cheer on the team, this is one of the paths to get there, so why don’t we give you a little bit of incentive? Come to the team store, show that you’ve got it and enter your name into the draw."
Crowe added that the campaign is also a means to get people to bring the team to the forefront of their minds again after not playing a home game for more than a year due to the pandemic.
"The province gets some positive messaging from us in encouraging people, and we also get people thinking about hockey again," Crowe said. "Which is something that during this whole thing not a lot of people have thought about, and rightfully so. There are more important things in the world than junior hockey, but this kinda gets people maybe thinking about it again and thinking about getting back to normal and taking in a game."
The exact date for the draw hasn’t been finalized, but it will be sometime in September before the regular season starts.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark