When the Saints win, everyone wins. And when the Saints don't win, the fans still win.
Last weekend fans still won, even though the Saints lost late in the game to St. John's University 3-1. The Saints redeemed themselves the following night by defeating Concordia-Moorhead 4-3 and the fans won even more prizes with the Saints' victory.
"There are tons of prizes this year!" said Annamieke Blitterswyk, who organizes the prizes offered at the men's hockey home games.
The first year Blitterswyk watched the Saints hockey games, there wasn't anything for prizes. "It was pathetic," she said. "I'm from Canada and there are always prizes and games at the intermissions between periods."
As stipulated in the contract the Saints men's hockey team has with Mars Lakeview Arena, the arena records how many people showed their student identification and charges St. Scholastica.
Since Blitterswyk started organizing prizes for the hockey games three years ago, there has been a 35 percent increase in attendance, said Blitterswyk after she reviewed statistics that Mars provided.
The first 250 fans who walked into the arena received coupons for free cheeseburger at Burger King for Friday night's game.
During the intermission after the first period, the cheerleaders threw five Frisbees with Mama Mia's Humble Pie Pizzeria coupons to members in the audience. These coupons entitled the lucky winner to receive a free medium one-topping pizza.
Throughout the second period, St. Scholastica's St. Bernard mascot, Storm, teased the audience with Pizza Luce boxes. The section of the audience that cheered the loudest won the Pizza Luce coupons in the pizza boxes. This promoted loud encouragement in order to boost the morale of the Saints hockey team.
To keep fans entertained between periods, Blitterswyk organized a Frisbee target toss. Instead of the traditional "chuck-a-puck" held between periods, there was a Frisbee toss after the second period. There are different targets that the participants can pick to throw their Frisbee at. The Frisbees that land closest to the four different targets win a gift card to Blackwoods, SuperOne, Valentini's, and Applebees, depending on what target participants aimed for.
The money earned from the Frisbee target toss and other games goes straight to the men's hockey team fund.
A new prize this year is at every single home game that the Saints win, everyone in the audience gets a coupon for a free slice of pizza or $5 off at Mama Mia's Humble Pie Pizzeria, Blitterswyk said.
One excited fan Brooke Morin is a recent transfer student from St. Benedict, an affiliate school of St. John's University. "I'm still cheering for the Johnnies but if the Saints win, I get a coupon for that new restaurant. So I win either way," Morin said with a smile.
Another prize that is new is provided by the Rose Man. During the game when there is a pause in the action, the announcer plays the song "My Girl" by the Temptations. While the song is playing, the mascot, "Storm tries to swoon a girl, so it's super funny," Blitterswyk said. The girl who cheered the loudest received a bouquet of roses.
At the home opener at Mars Lakeview Arena, Saints hockey fans left the arena disappointed after the loss of the close game Friday night. Yet most fans still left with a prize to ensure they would come back to the next game.
Although the home opener Friday night was not a success, Saturday night proved to be when the Saints defeated Concordia-Moorhead 4-3. Saturday night, all the fans exited with their coupons for Mama Mia's Humble Pie Pizzeria.
Mama Mia's Humble Pie Pizzeria coupons were given out to the 636 people in attendance Saturday night.
Even fans that left with a few minutes remaining in order to beat the crowds received coupons Saturday night. "We left with two minutes left in the game and there were people at the doors handing out the coupons," said Britt Walle, a Saints hockey fan.
Blitterswyk talked to Mama Mia's Monday after the weekend and there were only one or two students who used their coupons. However, over a week later, Josh Maltby, an employee at Mama Mia's Humble Pie Pizzeria, said there has been a pretty good turnout for students who redeemed their coupons.
"They usually come in groups of four or five to get their slice of pizza and there have been probably 100-150 kids come in to use them," Maltby said.
If you would like another chance at winning numerous prizes, come cheer on the Saints men's hockey team this weekend when they take on the University of Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devils Friday and Saturday nights.