By GORDON ANDERSON
When the Grande Peace Athletic Club AAA Midget Storm debuted their alternate jerseys earlier this month, it was the completion of an idea that germinated a handful of years ago.
But behind the scenes, there was a lot more going on than just wearing an alternate jersey that’s hanging up on a peg in the dressing room, waiting to be used whenever the occasion calls for it.
These alternate jerseys were 100 per cent player driven. Meaning, the players themselves went out and raised the money to pay for the GPAC jerseys.
“We did a bottle drive and got different sponsorship so we could pay for them,” Storm forward Hudson Foley said. “A group of us 2002s have been together and we’ve wanted to do it. Even since first year of bantam, we’ve wanted to do it every single year.”
The Storm ordered enough jerseys for each player on the 20-man active roster, with a few extra for affiliates. With names on the back, numbers on the arm and back, each jersey cost, according to Foley, approximately $150. Socks were also included in the cost.
The 2002-born players responsible are—not in any order of importance: Foley, Clayton Brown, Ty Toews, Kaden Reinders, Austyn Hansen, Sheldon Kwiatkowski; Campbell McLean, Cam Wiebe, Nolan Flint and McCoy Bidewell.
“(They’re) awesome guys. Whether they’re on the ice or off the ice, they always seem to be having fun and getting along,” Storm assistant coach Jordan McTaggart said when asked about the 2002 group. “They compete and there are some battles but I think that’s always good within a friendship, or within a team.”
“We’re a very tight group, always on the road together. We’re always traveling and you probably won’t find a tighter group than us,” Brown added. “It’s good that way.”
The right stuff
With so many colours, choices and schemes to choose from, perhaps, it’s impossible to settle on exactly why the final print came to be.
But, as always, when competitive teenage boys battle about what they believe in, there’s bound to be debate. Foley noted consensus, the ability to get along, to arrive at a common destination was an important part of the process.
“We went through so many different drafts, different colours and we probably argued about it and kind of pitched in our own ideas for two months,” Foley said. “We settled on that one and we were really excited to order them because I’ve never really worn a different Storm jersey than just the blue, white, yellow. We all love them.”
“We had two different kinds of jerseys that we wanted and then we took a vote on them and we ended up with these ones at the end of it,” added Brown. “It’s just really different from the other jerseys and that’s what we wanted. It’s unique and it’s always cool to have a different jersey you can take home at the end of the year.”
The team talked about the idea in September and went about the process of earning the funds.
Raising the necessary cash was a two-month process. The team then put the order in and received the jerseys about a month later. The alternate made its debut on the Dec. 7 weekend at the Coca-Cola Centre.
“To me, it was really cool. to put that on, it’s a little different, and it gets you excited,” Foley said. “We all loved it. It was one of the best decision we’ve made in a while.”
Whether the Storm are good enough to win the Alberta Midget Hockey League championship or a Telus Cup remains in the bosom of the near future, but the process and years this core of players have been together, heck, they’re already winners.
“Everybody will have (the jersey) for the rest of their lives,” Foley said. “Twenty years down the line, we can look at that jersey and think of the times together with the friends and the boys.”