Blyss Ward is getting a lot of attention online, after she made a half-court shot at the Edmonton Stingers game, winning her free beer for a year.
“I tried to not overthink it when I got up there, it was an out-of-body experience,” said Blyss Ward.
On Saturday, June 10, the Edmonton Stingers were defeated by the Ottawa Black Jacks 91-85, but the capital city team were not the only victors that night. The sold-out crowd stood in anticipation as Blyss approached centre court and, after taking a few giant leaps, sunk the shot and the crowd went wild.
“I was in shock, thinking how did that go in? Did that go in? Am I dreaming? It was a lot of adrenaline and when the MC came and picked me up I was like wow, everybody was excited,” said Ward.
The in-game contest happens during a time-out at every home game. The idea for the challenge was the brainchild of the Edmonton Stingers and Polar Park Brewing.
“I don’t think I have ever heard the arena that loud. She can ball, she can play straight up, she had the confidence and she knew that before she took the shot which is why I think it went in,” said Reed Clarke, the president and CEO of the Edmonton Stingers.
Clarke said Blyss’ shot grabbed the attention of the players that were in a huddle with the coach, and now the team wants to build on the momentum of the attention the shot is getting online.
“It shows the environment we are building at the Edmonton stingers, and that’s what we’re all about, enhancing the fan experience,” said Clarke.
Typically, to get selected as a contestant you must be wearing Stinger’s merchandise. This game was the Women in Basketball Celebration Night that featured over 500 girls youth basketball players, and only women were chosen for the contest.
“That’s why it was exciting to get to take and hit that shot on that night, because it felt really good to make all the other woman athletes proud,” said Ward.
Fortunately for Blyss, she is no rookie on the court, and she used her experience in the paint to take home the prize. She was a point guard turned shooting guard and played women’s basketball for the Nait Ooks until an injury kept her off the court, until now.
The prize is 365 beers, delivered quarterly on the first of the month. Polar Park Brewing founder Robert Oeming says Blyss will get tall cans of the Champion Pilsner, with a wholesale value of $1,000.
“It’s very surreal, I was stunned. I didn’t think she was going to make it — it’s a long shot. I was very pleased and I look forward to another half-court shot winner,” said Robert Oeming.
The contest is in its second year, and last season there was only one winner. Blyss says she plans to share the beer with family and friends and her first shipment will be delivered June 16.