Amber Yon didn’t realize she had a budding artist in her family.
Yon knew that her seven-year-old son, Braxton, loved the South Carolina Stingrays and had a passion for playing hockey. He always liked to draw.
So when Braxton combined his love for sports and art the results were, well, award winning.
Back in October the Stingrays were looking for a new logo to be featured on the team’s specialty jersey to be worn during the club’s "Kids Takeover Night" Saturday against the Atlanta Gladiators. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Children were invited to design and enter a new version of the Stingrays’ logo with the winning submission to be featured on the specialty uniform.
Braxton went to work and came up his own design which featured a Stingray in the team colors of red and blue along with a puck at the bottom of its tail. Braxton was one of more than 50 entries the Stingrays received from across the Lowcountry and the Southeast.
“Braxton did a great job, he had the best one. But everyone who entered did a really good job with their designs,” said Stingrays president Rob Concannon. “We thought what Braxton submitted really represented the Stingrays and what we’re trying to do with this night. We thought it would be a cool idea to have all the kids come up with a design for a new logo. Kids are such a huge part of our fan base and we wanted them to have a night they could call their own.”
And it’s for a good cause.
All of the team’s game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the game on the ice, with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Charleston.
"The Ronald McDonald House is a special organization and it helps the kids and their families who are going through such a difficult time," Concannon said. “We thought it would be the right time to put together a night like this that features kids and the Ronald McDonald House."
Runner-up designs are also be featured elsewhere on the specialty jersey.
“We wanted to reward all the kids that took the time to do this,” Concannon said. "We think it's important for them to be recognized as well."
Amber Yon took Braxton to his first Stingrays game when he was just three-years-old. The following day, Braxton told his mother that he wanted to play hockey. He was still a year away from being eligible to play in the youth leagues at the Carolina Ice Palace, but once he turned four, he was on the ice learning how to skate.
“He loved it from the first minute he got on the ice,” Amber said.
Three years later, Braxton is still playing for the Little Rays.
Like many Stingrays faithful, Braxton’s favorite player is South Carolina tough guy Trevor Gillies.
“He can skate really fast,” Braxton said.
As the winner of the logo design, Braxton will drop the ceremonial first puck Saturday night before the game.
"I know he's really excited to be down on the ice and maybe meet some of the players," Amber Yon said.
Saturday night’s promotion will also include a pillowcase giveaway for the first 1,000 kids through the doors, plus the Charleston Jr. Stingrays skating out during the starting lineup. Kids will also sing the national anthem.