When Tina Gibson first went to the South Okanagan Events Centre in September of 2011, she instantly fell in love with the Penticton Vees.
It only took a few moments for her to realize that she wanted to be a Vees season-ticket holder. And sure enough, the next time she attended a game, it wasn’t as a casual fan — it was as a season-ticket holder and full-time Penticton hockey watcher.
Originally from Edmonton, a love for sports runs deep in the Gibson family. But now, it’s about making sure she knows the ones closest to her are aware of how much the Vees really mean to her.
“Everybody knows the team means the world to me,” she explained. “They mean so much and I go crazy when we don’t have a game.
“I do have a brain injury, so I only remember highlights in my life and the Vees and Fred (Harbinson) are a big part of that.”
The Vees superfan hasn’t missed being at a game in 10 years. The enthusiasm of the players and the energy they bring to the ice every night is something that she’ll never get sick of.
“They play for the love of the game,” Gibson said. “The kids are so enthused with it and I love it. With the way the world is going, it just warms my heart.”
Gibson has made several memories at the Vees’ home over the last decade but there’s one moment in particular that she’ll never forget.
Players on the Vees have been responsible in the past for personally handing out tickets to season-long members in the community. And when Gibson went to pick up her season tickets at the start of this season, each and every member of the team recognized her as the superfan.
“As soon as I walked into the arena, they all knew me right away,” she recalled. “They knew who I was and even with the year where I wasn’t able to go to the games (because of the pandemic), they still knew who I was and that meant a lot.”
The superfan describes going to Vees home games as her happy place but she still has one wish she hopes one day will come true.
“I wish I can get all of Penticton behind (the Vees). I know we have a lot of fans but if I could get the whole town there, I’d be happy.”
The Vees are back on the ice next on Dec. 28 when they visit the West Kelowna Warriors for the second consecutive game.