The recent death of Ernie Anderson, vice-president of the Ponoka Stampeders and the team’s biggest fan, left a hole in the organization that will be hard to fill.
The Stampeders held a tribute to Anderson just before their Saturday, Jan. 3 game against the Mountainview Colts. Secretary-treasurer Debbie Lamey recalled the first time she asked Anderson to help out with the team three years ago and that he jumped at the opportunity.
“I said, ‘We need a new board member.’ And he said, ‘Okay, what time do I come?’” Lamey explained.
“This year he not only sponsored us, he took over the Score-O,” she added.
During the break after the second period, the team picks one fan to try and hit the puck into a wood cutout called the Score-O. If someone scores they win $2,222 and Anderson, in addition to his regular sponsorship, ensured the money was available if someone made it.
Lamey says Anderson wore his Stampeders jersey on game day every time.
Not only did he sit on the board of directors, he could be found supporting the team on road trips and at home games. “He’d go on the bus out of town to every game,” said Lamey.
“He put his heart and soul into this team,” added Stampeders’ President Ken Kinley.
One of Anderson’s biggest goals was to ensure the Stampeders became more recognized in the community. Kinley remembers his first meeting with Anderson, who wanted nothing more than to see the team grow.
“He was nice to have on the board because he kept us in line,” joked Kinley.
Anderson’s wife Lois took part in the tribute and she remembers fondly one time when he took her out on a date to one of the games. She joked that he dropped her off and then picked her up after the game because he was so busy talking to coaches and organizers.
Lois said being a part of the Stampeders was a great joy to her late husband. A moment of silence was observed before the game started, which was then followed by O Canada.