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All Muggles welcome for Potter Night

February 1, 2019

The Polar Vortex might have sports fans rethinking their weekend plans, but not fans of the Komets, not when the first Harry Potter Night is upon them.

More than 8,300 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Memorial Coliseum against the Rapid City Rush. The Komets will wear special Harry Potter-themed jerseys : they will be auctioned off to benefit the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center : and fans are encouraged to dress in costumes for the occasion.

Characters from the books and movies will be on hand and Harry Potter glasses will be given away to the first 1,000 kids, along with posters of mascot Icy D. Eagle.

“It makes a week where we could have been lamenting how cold it is and asking, ‘Will people show up?’ But there’s a spark and it’s made this all very exciting,” said Scott Sproat, the Komets’ executive vice president.

But it’s not just that people are excited for a theme night; it’s how very excited they are about this particular theme. The amount of social-media engagement about this game is high, Sproat said, and the interest from casual fans, including kids and women, seems higher than usual.

“It’s a different feeling. There is a fervor,” Sproat said. “It’s pretty obvious that Harry Potter is this generation’s Star Wars. I’m not saying it will surpass Star Wars, but with the younger generation there’s definitely a fervor, and when you can connect with that and ... can connect with an organic base and they are that passionate with that, it’s an exciting thing to tap in to.”

Defenseman Ryan Lowney is one of the Komets’ players who has been particularly geeked about Harry Potter Night : he dressed up in costume on social media : and it will be the team’s last game at the Coliseum until Feb. 15.

If there’s one thing that excites Sproat more than the theme night itself, it’s to raise money and awareness for the center, which provides medical forensic examinations, at any time and at no cost, to women, children and men who have been sexually assaulted.

“Nobody ever wants to talk about sexual assault, so more of our campaigns are more about awareness. With the sensitive nature of what we do, we’ll keep it more kid friendly at the Komets game,” said Deborah Zehr, public relations coordinator for the Treatment Center, which is at 1420 Kerrway Court and has information at fwsatc.org.

The Treatment Center just celebrated its 23rd year of being open and one of its founders, Michelle Ditton, chief nursing officer and executive director, is still on staff. The fundraising from the Komets’ jersey auction will, in short, go a long way to helping its cause.

“We do get money from the state and other things, grants, but a lot of it to keep our doors open, we rely on public funds,” Zehr said. “We have an annual fundraiser. People are very generous when they think about what we do. Nobody wants to talk about sexual assault; it’s not an easy topic.”

A topic of conversation made easier through a Komets game and intermission Quidditch : yes, something that they are hoping to do Saturday at the Coliseum.

jcohn@jg.net

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