Season ticket holder Michael Orpen with rookie F Corbyn Tao
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – For the fourth consecutive year, the Minnesota Swarm kicked off the start of the season with its annual Holiday Bowl.
This season, the Swarm partnered with PINZ, a locally based entertainment facility located in Oakdale to put on the event for hundreds of fans.
“PINZ represents fun for groups and families, and so does the Swarm. It seemed like a natural partnership,” said Larry Corson, General Manager at PINZ. “What a great way to start the season off with the fans of the Swarm coming to PINZ and having a good time while they are picking up their season tickets.”
NLL defending scoring champion F Ryan Benesch and NLL First Team All-Rookie member T Andrew Suitor, along with rookies G Evan Kirk, F Corbyn Tao, F Jay Card, F Pat Smith, F Todd Baxter, F Joel Henry, and D Nik Bilic were all on hand to get to know the fans.
The event offers season ticket holders and fans alike an unparalleled opportunity to meet Swarm players, get autographs, and take pictures. Season ticket holders were also treated to a complimentary breakfast prepared by PINZ, in addition to a day of free bowling.
“It’s great to see a lot of the same people from last year, which just shows how loyal our fans are,” said second-year T Andrew Suitor. “I’ve had a lot of people come up and say that this is their first year. It’s good to have growth.”
For Tao, who was drafted in the second round (12th overall) by the Swarm in September, the event was his first Swarm appearance.
“It’s been a lot of fun being able to interact with the fans and letting them know that we appreciate their support and everything,” said Tao. “They really enjoy it.”
Fifth-year season ticket holder Bryan Lienke and his family, who have been attending games since the beginning of the franchise in 2005, had the opportunity to bowl with Tao.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We got to have exposure with Corbyn [Tao] and Pat [Smith]. Earlier in the week, we had Ryan [Benesch] deliver our season tickets, which was really cool,” Lienke said. “It’s a great event, and it’s fun to be able to hang out with the players and put a name and a face together.”
Members of the Swarm Performance Team (SPT), Buzz, the Toyota Professor, Bruce the PA Announcer, and Swarm staff also mingled with the crowd throughout the event, while the players bowled and played laser tag with fans.
“It’s just a great time. It’s a chance to see the new faces, both on the Performance Team and on the team itself,” said eighth-year season ticket holder Steve Jensen, who has never missed a game. “I bring my granddaughter, Clara, and just have a great time. I think that it’s well-done, and I just love it.”
“This has been an awesome experience. We do this once a year and it’s a great platform to meet some of the season ticket holders,” said Assistant Coach Aime Caines. “They are pretty anxious for the season, and so are we.”
Minnesota begins its eighth season of play in the NLL this Saturday, Jan. 14 on the road against the Colorado Mammoth at 8 p.m. CT. The Swarm hosts the Buffalo Bandits on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center for its home opener on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. CT.
Swarm fans looking to lock up season tickets in 2012 can take advantage of a Buy 2 Get 2 at 50% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for half the cost. Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $20 to all eight home games by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or visiting mnswarm.com.