Langley’s most popular lacrosse team, the Vancouver Stealth, are going a little bit country this weekend.
The Stealth go head-to-head with the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday night, with the game starting at 8 p.m.
But the action at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) gets hopping well ahead of the game.
There’s going to be a country party in the LEC banquet hall from 6:30 p.m. to game time, and that comes complete with grub, music, and prizes – all for the cost of a $20 ticket at the door.
It’s not a fundraiser, said marketing director Trevor McManus.
But this pre-game event is intended to draw awareness to the annual Gone Country charity concert being held July 22 this year.
That’s is a one-day fundraiser hosted in Cloverdale by a pair of Langley boys – Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski – and their Twins Cancer Fundraising organization.
Last year, Gone Country raised $344,000, all of which was directed to the Canuck Place children’s hospice in Abbotsford.
So, this weekend’s pre-game event will be all about Gone Country and in keeping with the theme, it will feature a barbecue and music by country artists Danielle Marie, Dave Hartney, and Langley’s own Karen Lee Batten – who has been part of the annual Gone Country concert since its inception five years ago.
She became a part of the Gone Country family through a mutual friend, and said she now believes so strongly in the cause and so much in the twins, that she was happy to come aboard for this weekend’s show and any undertakings that advance their cause.
“Anything to give their event and their cause some exposure,” she told the Langley Advance.
“I think that every single person has had somebody who has had cancer. We’ve all been affected directly or indirectly by this disease,” Batten said, noting she lost her grandfather at age 67, and more recently a 51-year-old girlfriend who was a mother of two.
“I just feel really drawn to this [cause],” Batten said, noting that she’s asked to help out with dozens of charity project every year, but few have “hit home” like this one.
It’s not just the cause, she insisted, but the people involved in the Gone Country efforts – including those taking part in this weekend’s show.
“I know the [Ruscheinski] boys and I know their hearts… their intentions are so pure, and I can’t help but want to give and help.”
Fun continues through the game
Batten promises a fun pre-game show, but said the Gone Country “antics” won’t end once the game starts.
Prize draws and other giveaways will also be held during the timeouts and game intermissions.
As an example, Batten advises spectators to be on the lookout for the T-shirt gun, and to listen for multiple chances to win tickets to this year’s Gone Country concert.
Heading into Week 10 action, the Saskatchewan Rush are riding a six-game winning streak including a win over Vancouver Stealth in Saskatoon.
The Stealth could apparently use a huge cheering section, and are hoping many will come for the pre-game country party and stick around for the 8 p.m. game.
To get the low down on this Stealth hoe-down or to get game tickets, people can call the LEC box office, 604-882-8800 or www.ticketrocket.co/event.
The Stealth hit the road against Colorado on Sunday, March 12, then they’re back home March 17 to host the Buffalo Bandits.