It’s not often that you’ll find Colby Fackler asking his fellow lacrosse fans to think outside the box.
As chief business officer with the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors, Fackler’s days tend to focus largely on the comings and goings in North America’s premier box lacrosse circuit.
These next few weeks, however, will be slightly different.
That’s because the Warriors are one of the few clubs in the 14-team league without a mascot. It’s an absence that the Warriors’ brass will now lean on the fanbase to correct ahead of opening day in December.
As the players wait to take to the turf for their fourth season at Rogers Arena, the team behind the scenes is working to make Vancouver’s biggest party even bigger with enhanced in-game entertainment. This includes the addition of a mascot that will embody what it means to be a Warrior.
“We’ve had all sorts of very wild submissions so far and it’s been pretty fun. Some submissions have been very appropriate and some have not been – but that’s also on brand for the Warriors, so we’re good with that,” Fackler says.
The enthusiasm and passion of the Warriors fanbase is what makes the club’s connection to the community and fans so special. That is why the team wants your input in creating a piece of team history.
Submissions started rolling in in early September, and the club has set a Sept. 16 deadline for the one pick to rule them all. The top suggestions have now been revealed and need your vote to help decide the newest member of the Vancouver Warriors.
In addition to having a chance to see your mascot creation come to life as a symbol of the Vancouver Warriors, each person who submits an idea will be entered to get a chance to win a pair of Warriors season tickets and a $500 Rogers Arena gift card.
“Because ‘Warrior’ is kind of an ambiguous term, it doesn’t lend itself to any one specific thing, so it’s completely open to interpretation,” Fackler says.
While it’s still early days, team officials have seen all manner of options put forward: an eagle, sasquatch or a bear to play off the B.C. wildlife angle, or the Gastown Steam Clock or the English Bay Barge for the local landmark or crowd.
There’s even been a single submission suggesting the mascot quite literally be a box.
“I guess it’s because we play in a box, but I’m trying to wrap my head around what that would be like as a mascot,” Fackler says.
Because of the nature of the sport, Fackler is hoping the mascot will be active, agile and athletic. Lacrosse players, after all, are about as blue-collar as it comes in the sporting world; they’re no shrinking violets.
“You want something with a little grit and a little edge to it,” Fackler says.
Perhaps you’re new to the sport of box lacrosse. In that case, picture the Warriors’ game-day experience as landing somewhere between the lightning speed of an NHL game and the interactive nature of a courtside NBA offering. Music is played during the contest, big hits are laid on the regular and $5 beers are offered throughout the matchup.
On top of that, the Warriors were one of the highest-scoring teams in the NLL last season.
“There’s lots and lots of action, and there are some big, big hits,” Fackler says. “I think that’s the thing you’ll see on the floor is that our guys are all in their mid-to-late 20s, so these are grown men out there. They’re laying big licks out there. It’s pretty fun from that standpoint, but the skill level is also pretty ridiculous.”
Getting in on that action is the equivalent of paying cover at a downtown nightclub – tickets start at $20, and loads of incentives are offered through the Warriors Club and other season’s ticket packs.
The exclusive seating offered through the Warriors Club allows for a family-themed night out, or for the crowd that wants in on the $5 beers. The food is cheaper than other big-ticket sporting events in Vancouver and games feature live music, DJs or specific themed nights.
To vote for the mascot and enter the contest, visit this website.