Senators’ BP Buddies program helps community kids

📝 by Joel Vanderlaan | AHL On The Beat

The Children’s Foundation, the United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the YMCA are there to help in the Bay of Quinte region, and so are the Belleville Senators.

With that in mind, the Senators and Boston Pizza Belleville are making sure beneficiaries of those agencies can also enjoy American Hockey League action at CAA Arena through the BP Buddies initiative.

Boston Pizza Belleville owners Mitch and Lisa Panciuk are grateful to work with the Senators organization and assist worthy programs in the region.

“Ever since Boston Pizza Belleville opened 21 years ago, we’ve been trying to be champions for people who don’t necessarily have a voice for themselves. So particularly, our charities of choice have been children and animals through the Humane Society.

“When the BP Buddies program came up, it was a natural fit for us to help kids in our community that don’t have the same chances as everyone else to be able to come and enjoy an exciting professional hockey game and for a little while just be like everybody else. That means a lot to us.”

The real centerpiece of the program is the fun, camaraderie and entertainment that the participants enjoy. The game experience includes a special in-game welcome, and a chance for an exclusive meet and greet with players following the game.

Belleville Senators coordinator of corporate partnerships Evan Jeffrey is particularly enthusiastic about the program, noting that it benefits fans that might not otherwise have the chance to attend a game and interact with their local hockey heroes.

“The players have all been great. Even after a tough loss, they come out with a smile on their face. Seeing those kids’ eyes light up when they come out… It’s a rewarding experience and something that you know they’ll never forget. It really helps to put everything into perspective. It’s been great.

“I think the biggest thing is these tickets are going to people that might not necessarily be able to come to a game on their own. This program is definitely a highlight of each game day.”

The innovative program is just one more way that the Senators are partnering with local businesses and support agencies, to help to make a vital difference in the community.