ORONO — Anyone who has been thinking about checking out the University of Maine’s basketball teams in person this season — but hasn’t yet made it to Alfond Arena — will have plenty of reasons to do so Saturday afternoon.
Not only are the Black Bears playing an America East doubleheader against Binghamton University, fans will have an opportunity to win some nice prizes as part of a UMaine promotion being billed as “Fandemonium.”
With the aid of a grant from the America East Conference, UMaine is giving away more than $2,500 in prizes. The loot includes a Nintendo Wii game system, an Xbox 360 game console, Flip video cameras, iTunes cards, gift certificates to local restaurants and tickets to the 2011 America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship.
“We’re hoping that everyone’s excited about it,” said Joe Roberts, UMaine’s associate athletic director for external operations, who coordinated the event along with athletic marketing assistant Kate Stoess. “We thought the electronics would certainly attract our students in terms of having them come across the parking lot.”
The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m., when coach Cindy Blodgett’s UMaine women battle Binghamton. Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bear men’s squad takes the court at 3:30 p.m. against the Bearcats.
One paid admission is good for both games and fans will be issued a numbered ticket to participate in the prize raffles.
“Altogether, there will be 25-30 prizes that we’ll give out over the course of the two games,” Roberts said.
America East gives each conference school a $2,500 grant to help promote its premier sports in terms of visibility and interest — men’s and women’s basketball.
“This is a way to motivate each of the institutions within the conference to do something different for basketball,” Roberts said.
UMaine has previously sponsored other theme days in the hope of attracting more fans, especially youngsters. This time, it is targeting college students.
Roberts said UMaine will hand out flyers to the estimated 900 students who will attend Friday night’s men’s hockey game against Providence. The athletic department also has partnered with UMaine Residential Life to help promote this and other events.
“We’re trying to give them one more reason to go (to a game) or one less reason not to go,” Roberts said.
In addition to the electronics, UMaine has worked with its regular corporate partners to offer hundreds of dollars in gift cards. Among the businesses providing the cards are Dunkin’ Donuts, the Seadog, Hero’s and Miguel’s.
“It gives them a little exposure for being a part of the event and it gives us a great way to use (the items donated by businesses for advertising considerations through their affiliation with Black Bear Sports Properties),” Roberts said.
He explained the promotion is a win-win for UMaine, which because of the America East grant and the generosity of its corporate partners is able to offer the additional prizes without having to spend much money out of its limited budget.
Tickets for the games are available by calling 581-2327 or at the Black Bear ticket office inside Alfond Arena. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and only $2 for anyone up to age 18.
UM women selling pink pucks
The UMaine women’s hockey team is selling pink pucks to raise money for breast cancer research.
Pucks are available for a minimum donation of $1 and fans may write their names on the puck and have a UMaine team member put the puck on display in front of the women’s hockey office in the hallway outside the Alfond Family Lounge at Alfond Arena.
The Black Bears have a goal of $2,000 for this effort and have raised more than $1,000 thus far. Pucks will be on sale at all UMaine women’s home games and at several men’s hockey, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games.
The Pink Puck campaign serves as a buildup to UMaine’s Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer game Jan. 22 at noon against Connecticut at Alfond Arena.
Black Bear Breakfast set
The UMaine softball team has scheduled its annual Black Bear Breakfast for Feb. 10.
The fundraising event will be held 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in Room I at the Wells Conference Center on the Orono campus. There will be trivia and raffles in addition to the meal.
Tickets to the breakfast are $15 per person or $110 for a table of up to eight people. For information, contact Black Bears assistant coach Linnea Utecht at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-581-4509.
UM baseball camp slated
Area baseball players will have a chance to fine-tune their skills prior to the start of the season during the University of Maine’s Spring Training Baseball Camp.
The clinic is scheduled Feb. 21-25 in the Mahaney Dome at UMaine in Orono. Players ages 6-12 will work out daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. while 13- to 18-year-old players will meet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Instruction will include throwing progression, position play and hitting, along with pitching, baserunning, outfield play and infield play. The camp costs $90.
For information or to register, download the registration form on the baseball page at goblackbears.com or contact assistant coach Jason Spaulding at email@example.com or 207-581-1098.