MOLINE — Saturday and Sunday night will be huge for local KISS fans at the TaxSlayer Center.
The winter storm on Jan. 22, which brought half a foot of snow to Moline and forced the cancellation of the Quad City Storm hockey game that night, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The rescheduled date is Saturday at 7:10 p.m., the day before KISS’ Farewell Tour concert at the Moline arena. When Storm owner John Dawson realized this, he reached out to hockey jersey companies to see if the team could snag KISS jerseys for their game.
“This was the best storm that ever happened to us,” team president Gwen Tombergs said Monday, noting the Storm got the K1 jersey firm to waive a $30,000 licensing fee to create a KISS Storm jersey, with the band members' photo, as long as sales went to charity.
“The KISS marketing and licensing team have been amazing to work with,” Tombergs said. “KISS is very philanthropic and wants to make a difference in every community they play in, so as soon as they heard we wanted to auction the jerseys off and donate the money to our local USO, they were on board.”
The band members — who each got a Storm jersey to keep — agreed to autograph personalized Storm jerseys so the team could auction them off. The jerseys will be sold via an online auction so that KISS fans around the world can participate, with proceeds going to the USO. The online auction will run March 8-18 and can be found at quadcitystorm.com.
Another KISS jersey will be raffled off (one ticket for $5 and 5 for $20), with the winner also receiving two tickets to the KISS concert 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“Our hopes are to raise over $50,000 just from the jerseys' auctions,” Tombergs said. “The Storm have been giving back to nonprofits in our community all season long, but this game could take our total over $125,000.”
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The Saturday game, against the Evansville Thunderbolts, will start with someone dressed as KISS to drop the puck. During the game, the arena will create the “world’s largest KISS Face Fan picture.”
Four thousand fans (first come, first serve) will be be given a KISS mask (one for each member) to hold up at the same time for a panoramic shot of the crowd. Video will be taken of this as well, Tombergs said.
There will be a dog race during the game, with four dogs wearing KISS shirts, and whatever dog wins, the fans with that mask can get a “buy-one-get-one-free” ticket for either one of the Storm's last two games of their inaugural season. The Storm also are selling new T-shirts with the team logo altered for KISS, available at quadcitystorm.com/kiss-night.
Tombergs encourages fans to make up their face Saturday as the iconic band members. She said even though this was the team's first season, it's important to donate to charitable causes, including Gilda's Club, Trinity Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club.
“It's a win-win, though — we get more people into our games, at end of the day, they're having fun, and we can give back money,” Tombergs said. “It's all good.”
“We've got to keep hockey in the Quad-Cities; we have to make sure we have more than the hockey fan coming,” she said of attracting people to help donate. “People like to support their nonprofit, their causes, to give money and bring the groups. It gets new fans in the door. They realize how much fun it is, and we get them to come back,” Tombergs said.
The Q-C Storm will hold its first John Deere-themed jersey night on March 22, with proceeds benefiting Birdies for Charity.