K-Wings bring ‘the force’ to autism awareness

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The force may not have been with the K-Wings on Sunday night after they lost to the Fort Wayne Komets with a score of 6-2, but the night was still a big win for them, and for kids with autism.

Between costumes and the K-Wings galactic jerseys the night was “out of this world”, but the real reason for the theme in the first place was to support the non-profit Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Autism Society.

After the game, the players lined up and held out their sweaty jerseys that were worn on Friday and Sunday night games to be auctioned off. Some of them sold for $500. After they were sold, they were signed by the players themselves.

“So [people] come and get a bidder number just like at a real live auction. We have an auctioneer that will be doing the auctioning,” said Toni Daniels, the director of sales for the K-Wings. “All the players have worn the jersey and will be holding the jersey up and they will have worn it for the last two games and bidders will raise their hand to auction on it. We hopefully drive the price up, up, up to benefit the autism society.”

The money from those sales are going to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Autism Society which was started in 1982 by a group of families who wanted to find support for their families and other families facing challenges of autism. Their mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism through support, resources, and awareness. The K-Wings have supported the autism society for several years in the past, but this is the first time they have auctioned off Star Wars themed jerseys.

Ron Asma, a fan and participant in the auction Sunday night, has been attending K-Wings games for all his life. Now, he brings his son along.

“I think it’s a great cause, and I want to help out. His [Asma’s son] favorite player is the goalie, and I like one of the defenseman,” said Asma.

Asma went home with both those jerseys Sunday night.

Last year the K-Wings put on an auction that raised $11,000 for the Autism Society. They hoped to make it to $15,000 this year. Fox 17 News was still waiting for a final count from their auction Sunday night as of news time.

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