GLENS FALLS — Ed Moore’s big mouth came in handy. The campaign to “Keep Hockey Here” and buy the Adirondack Thunder needed a boost. Someone on the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition suggested a public call for donations during a playoff game.
Elizabeth Miller nominated Moore because, “We’re not reaching the regular person; we need to get out there and shout and you have a big mouth,” Moore said.
So the developer and local business owner got on the mic during the first intermission of Saturday’s hockey game and pumped up the crowd. Moore extolled what the Coalition had already done with the Civic Center and laid out a goal for buying the team. He finished with a plea to help “Keep Hockey Here,” as is the campaign’s tagline.
“It’s a struggle, but more and more people are coming alive,” Moore said.
His message helped. Moore said a teacher from South Glens Falls went to an ATM right away and handed him $100 for the cause.
He said another gentleman handed over a $100 bill, and then brought his grandson over with another one.
“Those are the people we really want to be part of this because that’s their team,” Moore said. “So their contribution makes them a part of this.”
Neither Moore not Coalition President Dan Burke gave a specific update, but said they are behind where they wanted to be on the way to the $1 million goal. Burke said giving a specific number is a lose-lose, if they were ahead of the goal, people might slow down donating and if they were way behind, people might think there’s no point.
When the Coalition launched the campaign two months ago, Burke said they wanted to have $500,000 in the first two or three months. They’re a long way from that goal, according to Moore, but he stressed that it’s picking up momentum.
The Coalition announced its first major fundraising event on Thursday. “Raise the Rink” will feature silent auctions, food and entertainment on June 2. Tickets for the event will cost $25 for adults at $10 for kids 14 and younger.
Some of the items up for auction will be a weekend getaway to Boston, a patio set and signed NHL jerseys from NHL superstars including Henrik Lundqvist, Patrick Kane, Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos, with more to come.
Claude Louiselle, a Coalition member and hockey operations consultant with the New York Islanders, has helped gather jerseys. Dave Strader, NHL broadcaster who started with the Adirondack Red Wings, is also collecting jerseys. He got one from Ovechkin while calling the Washington-Toronto series last week.
Burke thinks events like this, a golf tournament in September and a trivia night in the fall will help get more fans involved in the fundraising effort.
The Coalition has some wiggle room on the June 30 date. They need the purchase price to be able to close on that date, not necessarily the total of $1 million, which also covers league fees and operating costs as well. They’re taking pledges, even multi-year pledges toward that $1 million, but need at least $500,000 in hand on June 30.
The challenge with any fundraiser is publicity and the Coalition met Thursday morning to discuss that. They have an account at gofundme.com/keep-hockey-here, but haven’t really made it well-known. Thursday’s meeting was about how to do more of that.
They’re also going to reach out to the local Chambers of Commerce to ask their members and large organizations like Finch Paper and local unions for donations. The logic goes if they can appeal to large groups to each give something, it will add up.
Typically, a campaign like this would look to get 75 percent of the funds from 10 percent of donors, but that hasn’t been the case with Keep Hockey Here. Burke has found they need a wider stretch because many people donated toward purchasing the building two years ago.
Burke still has people on his list to reach out to in what he calls the “quiet campaign,” or one-on-one meetings to ask for larger sums. In some cases, they are waiting on board schedules, in others full-time jobs have gotten in the way. He feels once they get to more of those people, the momentum will continue to pick up.