You know you've had a successful event when to end up having to give money back to the bidders.
That was the case Sunday morning for the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation who saw about 100 people show up to the Neepawa Curling Club for its live showing of the Olympic gold medal men's hockey game at 6 a.m.. The Foundation also held a breakfast during the first intermission, watched Team Canada win gold, and then made more money than legally able to in the BPCF's first ever NHL Hat Auction.
“We were overwhelmed by the community support,” BPCF's president Chris Kulbacki said. “People were very generous with their bids, and it was great to see so many people out.”
Overall, the bids for the 30 NHL hats in the auction totalled $7,700, with several bids eclipsing the $500 mark. Because the Foundation was only legally able to take bids totalling $5,600 through its lottery license, they actually had to pro-rate everyone's bid down to hit that mark.
About 55 per cent of the $5,600 – which equals $3,000 – will now be up for grabs as prize money to people who bought a team hat during the auction. Prizes will be given for people whose team either wins the Stanley Cup, finishes as runner-up, wins the draft lottery, is the last mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, or is the last eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
The event also featured a 50/50 that raised $150, as well as $10 tickets sold to enter the event, sponsorships and some early morning beverages which, combined with the Foundation's 45 per cent cut from the hat auction, raised a total of about $4,000 profit for the BPCF
“We wanted to try something different and the response was great,” Kulbacki said. “I absolutely think (the NHL Hat auction) is something we will try to have again if we can combine it with something. The bidders seemed to be having a lot of fun with it.”
This year the inaugural hat auction was coupled with the Olympic gold medal men's hockey game that featured Team Canada against Sweden. Sweden started the game in control, but it was the Canadians – much to the delight of the folks filling the Neepawa Curling Club – who clinched a second consecutive Olympic gold with a 3-0 victory.
Having Team Canada in the finals, and as the champions, made the event that much better, the Foundation believes.
“We might not have had as many people come if it wasn't Canada playing so, ya, we did kind of get lucky with that,” Kulbacki chuckled. “But I thought having everyone there and cheering was a lot of fun; it was a community builder. There were some kids there as well, and I think that added to the atmosphere.
“I don't think it could have worked out any better for us.”
The president also noted the event was made a success due to its volunteers, the venue donation by the curling club, the food being donated, Source for Sports offering a deal on the NHL hat purchases, and the community sponsoring the hats.