Dustin Edwards, Business Manager, Drumheller Dragons. All photos courtesy of Drumehller Dragons

Dustin Edwards, Business Manager tells us why he loves hockey and the story behind the Drumheller Dragons, which started with the Miners and the Falcon’s in the 1960s.

I’m now in my third season with the Drumheller Dragons as the team Business Manager! I worked in the Oil & Gas industry for about ten years and wanted to pursue my passion for sports and hockey and it took me here.

I love the fact that entire communities can be part of a team in some capacity. It isn’t just about the twenty-three players, it is numerous community stakeholders, fans, volunteers, sponsors, and billets who can contribute to the success of a team. This really makes it fun to be part of the team and the community.

We really try to turn our fan base and games into opportunities to support community groups and charities. The fan base and Dragons families have become a great support group for all the initiatives we get to be part of. Utilizing ticket fundraising, intermission activities, food drives, or having our players spearhead different initiatives is very rewarding for us and the groups involved.

The Miners of course were the historic Senior team in Drumheller and were the Allan Cup champions in the 60’s. However, from the AJHL standpoint we actually started as the Drumheller Falcons in the 70’s. The team would produce players like Jim Nill (currently the Dallas Stars General Manager, Cam Christianson (Dragons team owner), Merlin Malinowski (NHL), and be the home of many top junior players until the team folded in the 80’s. Drumheller has a rich hockey history with the Miners and Falcons and that came back to life in 2002 when Cam Christianson and his family created the new AJHL franchise. We are now in our 18th season in the Drumheller Valley!

We are from one of the smallest populated towns that has an Alberta Junior Hockey League team and that can create challenges to meet the same numbers of sponsors or ticket revenue that larger markets have access to. But we are in a very unique valley that is very tourism based and we play in the oldest arena in the AJHL which has some great character!

The funds raised really help our team survive in the economic climate we are faced with and continues to provide a place for players to grow and earn scholarships and for the community to come together at the arena.

Last year we paid tribute to the original Drumheller Falcons and wore their purple and gold jerseys for a game! We were able to host and introduce over thirty-five former players and it was a spectacular night!

Obviously the games and season being delayed and now on pause has affected the team greatly. Our revenue sources have basically disappeared and without the help of our sponsors and fundraising we wouldn’t be able to keep going.

We wanted to showcase some of Alberta’s great destinations and some of the cool activities once you get there! The winner will to have a chance to have 2021 vacations all packaged and ready to go when the restrictions get lifted. Our partner, Canalta Hotels, provided lodging in Pincher Creek, Rimbey, and Canalta Lodge Banff. All the hotels are beautiful properties and the perfect place to lay your head before and after our activities.

We’ve included skiing at Castle Mountain (great hill), dogsledding, Nordic Spa, and my personal favourite “Ice Fishing Overnight” at Gull Lake. This Ice fishing adventure is in a luxury shack on the lake and even gets a taxi ride out to the spot!

We’ve had many winners now courtesy of the Rafflebox platforms, and they are always excited to get the cash! Our first winner ever took the money and went on a tropical vacation, our goalie’s mom won over $2000 and bought her son a new goalie helmet, and our YETI cooler full of Dragons beer was a hit at the winners cabin!

I believe I was cold called or emailed by Matthew Broussard. He reached out and told me his idea and I was quick to jump on board (not knowing we were the first raffle). Loved the concept from Day One and it proved super successful.

We were truly honoured to be the first and now there have been hundreds and we love seeing the success! Our first experience was the same as our current experience- friendly, quick, courteous, and personable. The team makes us feel like we matter and regardless how much we sell, they always are there to help and answer questions.

We recommend Rafflebox to anyone looking to fundraise and we will forever praise the group on their efforts and help along the way to make it a easy and fun way to fundraise! We hope that we can utilize Rafflebox at live events more once we get back playing in-venue and see that grow.

We haven’t only built a relationship with the company, but we have developed friendships with the Rafflebox team. They have made personal phone calls after hours, trips to Drumheller, and continue to go over and above since Day one! Great leadership and a great team!

Drumheller Dragons are currently running a Rafflebox fundraiser. You can support them and have the chance to win a staycation here: https://rafflebox.ca/raffle/dragonsstaycation

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