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Over $550,000 Raised in Charity for 2008-09

May 13, 2009 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder News Release

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, in conjunction with its charitable arm, the Stockton Thunder and Lightning Foundation, announced an organization all-time high of $550,683 was raised in cash, tickets, memorabilia and other items for charity in 2008-09, toppling its charitable mark of over $400,000 set in 2007-08.

On the ice this season, the Thunder made remarkable strides, reaching the second round of the playoffs for the first time in team history, coming within one game of the National Conference finals, and thrilling their fans under the direction of new head coach Matt Thomas.

Yet it was off the ice, and out in the community at large, that the team made its most important strides, with players and staff devoting countless hours carrying forward the Thunder's philanthropic mission of improving the lives of people throughout the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

2008-09 season community highlights:

THUNDER GOES PINK III (November 7-8, 2008)

In its third year, "Thunder Goes Pink" helped spotlight and raise funds and awareness for local breast cancer treatment and prevention. The event has quickly become the hallmark of the Stockton Thunder's fundraising efforts. The success of the event has encouraged other teams across the ECHL to have "Pink" events of their own.

"Thunder Goes Pink III," presented by St. Joseph's Medical Center in association with County Bank and MetroPCS, once again proved to be a rousing success, raising $40,380 in cash, tickets and memorabilia, split evenly between the event beneficiaries (American Cancer Society - Stockton Field Office and the St. Joseph's Foundation - Breast Cancer Services), raising the three-year total in funds raised through "Pink" to over $113,000.

"Our hope is that we're continuously assisting with a significant contribution in the fight against breast cancer and we're confident that this year's total brings us to that goal," noted Dan Chapman, Thunder president.

COATS FOR KIDS (November 16, 2008)

On November 16, 2008, the Stockton Thunder hosted its fourth annual "Coats for Kids" drive, helping KXTV-TV News10 to provide coats to needy children for the holiday season. Each fan donating a coat at Stockton Arena received a voucher good for free admission to the 4:00 pm tilt versus the Bakersfield Condors.

This year, fans were more generous than ever, donating over 1,000 coats to the cause.


Another area where the Thunder has been active is in the area of educational initiatives and this year the team took this commitment to the next level. First, the Thunder continued its school incentive programs, which reward students throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Sacramento counties with a free ticket to a Thunder game for achievements such as perfect attendance, meeting reading goals, or earning honor roll recognition. Through these programs, the Thunder was able to donate 55,844 school vouchers.

This year, the Thunder partnered with the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) to take part in a special initiative designed to encourage high school seniors within SUSD to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

Students within the district who took the SAT received a free ticket voucher to the Thunder's December 6 game against the Ontario Reign. Over 1,200 ticket vouchers were handed out, as over 60% of eligible seniors followed through and took the exam, to lead all districts in California.

"We are very fortunate to have a community partner like the Stockton Thunder," Anthony Amato, Stockton Unified School District superintendent said. "They appreciate what we are trying to do for our students and have helped our cause in a really big way."

TEDDY BEAR TOSS (January 17, 2009)

The Stockton Thunder once again showed its support to the United Way with its third annual Teddy Bear Toss event, sponsored by Jackson Rancheria, California Water Service Company, St. Joseph's Medical Center, News 10 and KAT Country.

After the Thunder scored its first goal in the first period of the January 17 game against the Idaho Steelheads, Stockton fans littered the ice with teddy bears and other stuffed animals, as volunteers from the Woodbridge Fire Department, the Stockton Fire Department, and the United Way, along with the Lightning Shockwave Dancers collected the donations.

All told, this year the Thunder was able to collect over 3,500 bears and other stuffed animals to donate to the United Way who in turn distributed them to local underprivileged children. On Thursday, January 22nd, Thunder goaltenders Bryan Pitton and Andrew Perugini visited the United Way to wish the kids well, dive into the bears, and sign some autographs.

2nd ANNUAL "MAKE-A-WISH" NIGHT (February 28, 2009)

On February 28, 2009, for the second year in a row, the Thunder and its fans were able to make one local child's wish come true. Through the generosity of the 8,176 fans in attendance, the Thunder was able to raise $3,027.08 in cash donations to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, surpassing the threshold of $2,500, the point at which wishes can be granted.

Throughout the game, the Thunder urged the fans to "help make history," making numerous announcements and showing several short videos on the Scoreboard. Additionally, in telethon-like fashion, the Thunder kept track of the fans' progress throughout the game. All fans donating at least ten ($10.00) dollars were entered into a raffle to win prizes.

"EASY BEING GREEN" CAMPAIGN (year-long, culminating March 6-7, 2009)

This year, the Stockton Thunder were proud to introduce its inaugural "Easy Being Green" Campaign, a season-long eco-friendly awareness campaign with a hockey twist, culminating in a "green weekend" on March 6 & 7, 2009. The two-day event, which drew over 14,000 fans, featured pre-game "Green Fairs" (one before each game) featuring local eco-friendly businesses and organizations distributing information and green-themed giveaways.

The event also featured an "Easy Being Green Award," in which $2 from each individual or group ticket sold, along with a portion of the proceeds from the pre-game "Green Fair," were collected to be awarded to a local eco-friendly business for donation to a charity of their choosing. The Thunder was able to raise over $13,000 for charity, funds which were donated to local company Surtec, Inc.'s "Adopt-A-Family" Program, on behalf of the company, in recognition of Surtec's outstanding commitment to green initiatives.

These community highlights are but a part of the Stockton Thunder's community involvement for the year, which also included numerous player and mascot appearances at schools, churches, and community events. The Thunder is extremely proud of its reputation as a community leader, and intends to be active as ever in 2009-10.

The proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers and American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons, the Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, has led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew 223,854 fans to Stockton Arena in 2008-09. Season tickets for 2009-10 and Kelly Cup Playoff ticket packages are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit


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