LACONIA — The 2018 JBT Benefit Game, held on March 3rd at Merrill Fay Arena, turned out to be a special night in more ways than one.
With a large crowd of several hundred Wolves fans in attendance, fundraising set a new high for online donations ($22,355.00) for The Cure Starts Now Foundation while the New England Junior A hockey team got a nice boost as well earning a playoff berth in Eastern Hockey League post-season play.
With an afternoon loss by the TA Seahawks, the Wolves officially clinched a postseason berth.
“Our program is building and trending in the right direction. I am very proud of these young men,” Wolves Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Trimble said.
The former Laconia Leafs Jr A franchise, competing in the AJHL between 2005-2013 never qualified for post-season play. The Wolves program, achieved a post-season berth in 2016 when based in Waterville Valley, but last year’s Laconia based JR A team finished in last place. This years squad has now set a new high for EHL in wins (top division) and will be starting the playoffs next weekend.
”My U19 teams have been successful, but going to the older level this season is a big jump and I am proud of what these men have persevered through,” Trimble commented.
The Wolves accomplished this feat on a day that fundraises for The Cure Starts Now Foundation, in the name of John Bradley Thompson “JBT,” a Gilford, N.H, boy who passed in 2014 after a nearly year long fight against DIPG, an inoperable brain cancer.
“JBT is in our hearts forever in this community and in our program,” Trimble said. “This game is always a highlight of our season. We can’t thank the Thompson family enough for allowing us to hold this event and give back.”
With local fans and ex-NHL’ers competing in the intermission one-on-one competition, fundraisers were able to raise over $22,000 for the foundation, surpassing last years total and eclipsing the previous two years combined total.
Abby Fopiano scored on Wolves’ netminder Chris Mattone to take the mini one-on-one trophy in the second intermission.
The Wolves start the EHL playoffs next weekend versus the Walpole Express.
The EHLP team, which are also playoff qualifiers, starts the EHLP playoffs this week versus the Valley Junior Warriors.
Amazing crowd & night in Laconia. Wolves lose to @Wizards_EHL 4-2 but win for the @CureStartsNow Raising over 21k for a home run cure for cancer. With Seahawks loss, the Wolves EHL officially qualifies for the playoffs! 1st Time a Laconia-based JR A team has done so. #playoffs pic.twitter.com/PoKfpiDIq4
— scoringconcepts (@AndrewTrimble7) March 4, 2018
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