Fifteen years ago this month the Grande Prairie Storm logo was unveiled and the team was about to start its first year of existence in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.
Today, the team unveiled its 15th anniversary logo, created by Nine 10 Website & Brand Stylists.
“The logo represents the fact we just completed our 15th year as an organization and will be celebrating our 15th anniversary in the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the 2010-2011 season,” said Storm business manager Don Moon. “Those first 15 years went by pretty fast.
In the summer of 1995 we were in a panic to get the logo created, jerseys ordered and a team on the ice. It was exciting, but a lot of people were working hard to make it happen and a lot of people have been involved making it happen for 15 years.”
Since then the Storm has been one of the most successful Junior A franchises in Canada.
The team led the RMJHL in attendance in 1995-96 and hasn’t looked back topping the turnstiles in the AJHL every year since it joined the league in 1996. Over the last 14 years the team has also been at or near the top in attendance every year among all Junior A teams in Canada.
Success on the ice has also been a trademark of the team. The Storm finished first in the RMJHL and have never missed the AJHL playoffs, won two championships and over their first 14 years in the league and has the second-best points total among all teams since 1996-1997. Only
the Spruce Grove (St. Albert) Saints have more points than the Storm since 1996.
The team also hosted the most successful Royal Bank Cup tournament ever in 2004 and holds the record for attendance and profit from that event. Grande Prairie has also hosted two AJHL all-star games and holds the record attendance for that event.
This coming season the team will be saluting fans, players, volunteers and sponsors who have been instrumental in making the Storm a success.
“We have many people who have been season ticket holders since 1995 and we will be honoring many of those dedicated fans,” said Moon. “We also put together a selection committee and 15 times during the season
we will be honoring a player who was a fan favorite from each of the first 15 years. “Some of the volunteers and sponsors have also been with us for 15 years so we are going to recognize them too.”
The team is also working on some special “deals” based around the number 15 and the team’s first 15 years.
“Anyone who was born in Grande Prairie on the date of our very first game (Sept. 15, 1995) will be eligible for a family pak of season tickets and anyone who is celebrating their 15th birthday on any of our home games this year will be treated to a birthday party, including an introduction, at the game along with 15 game tickets.”
The team is also preparing a 15-puck on-ice shootout that will be held several times during the year with the ultimate prize being a vehicle at the end of the season.
There will also be other specials based around the number 15 as the season continues.
“The Storm organization has been very fortunate to have such great support in the community for the last 15 years,” said Moon. “It’s important to recognize that and what we are doing during the 15th anniversary celebrations is a way for the organization to show its appreciation.”
The team’s 16th season, and 15th in the AJHL, starts with fall
training camp. It opens next Thursday with fitness testing in the morning and a team function at Saskatoon Lake in the afternoon. On Friday, Aug. 27 players hit the ice for the first time at 8:30 a.m. in the Canada Games Arena. The on-ice sessions continue Saturday while on Sunday the annual Blue vs. White game goes at noon at the Games Arena.
The Storm host the Dawson Creek Rage in their only exhibition game on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Canada Games Arena. Season opener is Friday, Sept. 10 against the Sherwood Park Crusaders at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the exhibition game and season tickets are available at the Crystal Centre Box Office on 99 Ave. and 100 St. or by calling the Box Office at 780-538-0387.