By Keith Lacey
The Sudbury Wolves are teaming up with Sudbury and area businesses to encourage students to do better in school.
The hockey club, business owners and all four Sudbury school boards have partnered in the Adopt-A-School program revealed Tuesday.
The program is designed to encourage elementary and secondary school children to excel in the classroom and be rewarded with free Wolves tickets.
The business owners will increase their community profile, get media and public recognition and the Wolves will increase ticket sales and help educate a new generation about how good major junior hockey can be.
The Ontario Hockey LeagueÂ?s Ottawa 67Â?s implemented a similar program last season with outstanding results and many other OHL teams are jumping on board, said Blaine Smith, Wolves vice-president of operations.
All four Sudbury and area school boards are excited and looking forward to participating, said Smith.
Â?The beneficiaries are the kids because they are the ones who will be awarded with tickets for their achievement and effort in school,Â? said Smith.
Business owners who get involved will purchase at least 10 seasonÂ?s ticket packages and Â?adopt a school of their choiceÂ? in the Sudbury area.
The business can donate a minimum of four packages of season tickets or as many as they want to their adopted school. Once the schools receive their tickets, the business can distribute the other tickets to employees, family, customers or whoever they want.
School administrators will reward students with free tickets to Wolves games for outstanding accomplishments in the classroom or other school projects.
The businesses not only generate community goodwill and show a commitment to young people, but they will also improve their profile, said Smith.
All businesses will be recognized by having signage posted inside each school; signs will also be displayed inside the Sudbury Arena and businesses will be recognized in game programs and the media.
The Wolves are also committed to having players attend schools involved in the program when time permits.
Â?IÂ?m not going to sit here and deny this isnÂ?t a way to benefit the hockey club,Â? said Smith. Â?But itÂ?s also a great promotion for businesses.Â?
The Wolves sold 2,500 season-ticket packages last season and hope to increase that to 3,000 if the Adopt-A-School program is as successful as the partners anticipate it will be, said Smith.
The program is a Â?significant additionÂ? to many other community programs involving the team and its players, said Smith.
Gord Ewin, director of education for the Rainbow District School Board, said having all four school boards involved is very encouraging.
ThereÂ?s no doubt many students will go out of their way to improve in the classroom if the reward means being able to receive free Wolves tickets or perhaps getting to meet Wolves players, said Ewin.
Many young students look up to junior hockey players as role models and this program will encourage them to improve in the classroom, he said.
Tony Nutt, who owns two local businesses, said heÂ?s been a corporate sponsor with the Wolves for many years and heÂ?s very excited about the new program.
Â?I encourage fellow business owners to get involved,Â? he said.
Any business owner interested in the program can contact the Wolves office at 675-3941.