April 25th, 2024

Hat High turns purple for annual ALS fundraiser

By JAMES TUBB on February 29, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat High Hawks basketball teams change from green to purple this weekend in the fight against ALS.

The Hawks are holding their sixth annual Purple Shirt Night in support of ALS research on Saturday when they host the Raymond Comets.

The purple shirt night features all four Hat High basketball teams and is in support of “Karen’s Purple Shirt Party” and the ALS Society of Alberta, in memory of Karen Wagenaar, who died in 2017 from the disease.

The proceeds from admission and any donations at the game are collected and donated to the ALS Society of Alberta. It’s a day of games Hat High athletic co-ordinator and senior boys head coach Chad Watson says is special for their school family.

“The Wagenaar family is an amazing family and Jared (Wagenaar) is now part of our girls program, he’s the JV coach, so when it comes to this time of year, the cool part is the whole school just gets behind it,” Watson said. “During lunchtime we’re selling shirts, our hub and our gym are decked out in purple, we basically turn Hat High purple for the week.”

The games start at 1 p.m. with the JV girls, the JV boys follow at 2:45. Both JV teams are in first place and a win in those contests would secure them first for the South zones Watson says.

The senior girls game is at 5 p.m. and the senior boys game starts at 6:45 p.m., but he cautions fans will want to arrive early if they want a seat for that game.

The Comets senior boys are ranked first in Alberta with the Hawks coming in right behind in second. The two teams have faced off three times this Eason, with Hat High taking one of the games, then falling in double overtime two weeks ago.

“They’re well coached, they’ve got a lot of great players and we have a lot of great players, it’s going to be an intense game for 40 minutes,” Watson said. “Both teams specialize on defence. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere and it’s definitely going to be one where if you’re a basketball fan and you come and watch, you’ll say, ‘Woah, the game of basketball has really changed in the last couple of years.'”

Watson estimates they’ve raised over $13,000 for the ALS Society through the Purple Shirt Night, which he says goes beyond basketball and becomes a community event.

“We try to get the whole crowd purple, we’ll have activities at half time, we’ll have speakers to talk about ALS and the journey from the Wagenaar family,” Watson said. “It’s just a community event where we want as many people out as possible.

“It’s going to be the place to be on Saturday night.”

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