If the Grizzlies left town, Tammie Johnson would have left town.
“The winters are too long. If you don’t ski, what else are you going to do?” Johnson said.
So five years ago, when the owner sold the team, Johnson and a bunch of other long-time season pass holders, including Roma Threatful, came together and made sure Junior B hockey would continue in Revelstoke.
Johnson said there were signs around town and petitions in every store. The group did a presentation to the KIJHL and were able to keep the team in Revelstoke.
That was when head coach Ryan Parent joined the organization and the booster club was formed.
Since then the audience participation has grown and the home games have become a part of the authentic Revelstoke experience.
“I think we have to be very grateful that it came back,” Threatful said.
But it wasn’t luck.
“It is a fabulous product they are putting on the ice but there is a lot of moving parts behind the scenes that maybe people know but maybe they don’t know,” Threatful said.
It takes 26 volunteers to run a Grizzlies game, plus the core group of volunteers: Johnson, her daughter Riley, Threatful, Shelley Evans and marketing manager Jacquie Frederico.
And there is always room for more, especially now that the games are becoming more and more popular.
Riley has been volunteering with the organization since she was eight years old. She does score sheets and runs the clock, as well as referees, for all levels of hockey. She has been the medic/trainer for the Grizzlies and last year she was the game day manager.
If you’re a new volunteer, it is more than likely that Riley will be introducing you to the rest of the Grizzly family.
“It’s great if you’re new to the community and you want to meet people,” she said.
This is Evans’ second year volunteering with the Grizzlies. Though she started as a billet mom, she soon took over the music.
Known as DJ Shell-ay, she coined the goal celebration song Hey Baby by DJ Otzi, after noticing it was a crowd favourite.
“That was just a really natural thing with the crowd,” she said.
Each of these women spends five hours at the arena every game day and do countless tasks in between including stuffing programs and restocking merchandise. They are dedicated to the team and hockey, in turn, gets them through the winter.
“Winter would be too long without something to pour my focus into,” Threatful said.
But the work doesn’t end when the ice is taken out. Johnson said she is busy all summer preparing for the upcoming season: ordering tickets, stocking up on merchandise and other things.
So the next time you are at a Grizzlies’ game take a minute and say thank you to the volunteers, because without them not only would the game not be happening but there might not even be a team in Revelstoke.
Seems like a lot of work? For the volunteers seeing the team happy and successful, is worth it. It is one big family of Grizzlies.