The effort to save the Kenai River Brown Bears has entered into its final week.
Steve Stuber, who is heading up the fundraising drive to save the team, said that Tuesday the team sent a plan of action to the league in the event the effort hits its goal of $300,000. The letter asks the league to hold the roster until Saturday.
Stuber said that if the fundraising drive hits $300,000 by Saturday, an emergency meeting of the North American Hockey League Board of Governors will be convened Monday to reactivate the team. The team had announced Feb. 27 that it would deactivate next season because of financial difficulties.
But Stuber was given until Saturday to raise the $300,000, and said Tuesday he has reached $232,000, mostly in commitments if the team reactiviates for next season. Stuber said that includes $65,011 in season-ticket commitments for next season.
“We’re almost there now,” Stuber said. “I’m hoping people realize it now. Yesterday, I had a hockey guy say to me, ‘You’re really doing this, aren’t you?’ I said, ‘Yea.’
“He bought two season tickets once he was convinced we could do it.”
With Saturday looming and just under $70,000 to raise, Stuber said every amount counts.
“I told chamber members that there’s 500 of us,” Stuber said. “If everyone gives $100, we’re almost there. If every man, woman and child on the Kenai Peninsula donates, we’ll be there. $50 means a lot.”
Stuber said those wishing to donate can contact him at 953-4880 or his wife, Lea, at 283-4900. Donors can also stop by the Bears Den at the K-Beach Short Stop or stop at The Shipping Zone in Kenai.
There also is a drive on gofundme.com. The goal of the gofundme drive is $175,000, but it had $3,605 as of Tuesday night. But Stuber said the goal does not have to be reached for gofundme donors to have to give the money. If the Bears do not participate in the 2017-18 season, the gofundme money will be given by the Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation to local charities.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re close,” Stuber said. “When you’re a loser, nobody wants to join in, but when you’re a winner people want to join. I hope we’re getting to that point now.”
Editor’s note: The amount the Bears need to raise was misstated in a previous story. The Clarion regrets the error.