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PHOTO: Wild Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler delivered over $2600 USD raised by Wenatchee Wild fans to help the Culbertson family begin to recover from a recent house fire.

Even in the midst of a playoff battle, the common thread that weaves through the world of hockey was evident last week as the fan base of one team collectively banded together to assist another in a time of crisis. The Culbertson family of Merritt, BC, Canada, who billet three players from the Merritt Centennials team who are currently in a playoff series with the Wenatchee Wild, lost everything in an early morning house fire on Feb. 24. The Wild fan base mobilized to raise a cash donation in excess of $2,500 USD to help aid in their process of putting their life back together.

When the smoke alarm went off at nearly 6 am on Saturday morning, Feb. 24, Rich Culbertson, his wife Jessica, 15-year old daughter Emma and the three Centennials players who live there during the season were able to escape safely, but had no time to grab any belongings. The family has been staying in a hotel and is working to pick up the pieces. When the story reached Wenatchee, the Wild fan base, known collectively as “WildNation” (or, this year, “WildNat10n” in honor of their tenth anniversary) banded together and using the first two games of the playoff series as a collection point, used an info table on the concourse along with proceeds from the 50/50 drawings and chuck-a-puck to raise a total of $2,672.25 USD, and someone tossed in a $20 CDN bill for good measure. On Tuesday, with the Wild getting a game day skate in advance of Game 3 in Merritt at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, Wenatchee Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler met with the Culbertsons to hand over the cash. “We, as an organization, are incredibly proud of our fan base, and of our players families who have chipped in to help the Culbertsons”. Littler said. “We wish them a quick return to a degree of normalcy in their lives.”

A GoFundMe account to assist the family can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/culbertson-house-fire