The Chicago Wolves are hosting Peanut Allergy Awareness Day, presented by Plentils, at 3 p.m. Sunday when they play the Iowa Wild. Allstate Arena’s Section 116 will be power-washed and cleaned to ensure fans with nut allergies can enjoy the game at ease. In addition, concessionnaires will not serve peanut-related food items.
Wolves forward Shane Harper, who ranks second in the American Hockey League with 29 goals, has an acute appreciation for the team’s willingness to provide a peanut-free environment. He learned at an early age that he suffered from several allergies, including an aversion to peanuts.
“My mom used to give me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a few times a week,” Harper said. “Whenever I had peanuts, my asthma would kick up and my throat would close up. We didn’t realize the connection until I was a few years old.”
Harper goes out of his way to avoid contact with peanuts. While most players use blenders to mix postgame shakes, the 26-year-old California native refuses to use them because there is an infinitesimal chance they will retain peanut-related residue. When he’s at dinner, either he or his girlfriend will double-check with their server to ensure peanuts aren’t part of the food-preparation process.
“It’s natural to be careful and watch what you’re doing,” Harper said. “Make sure you read labels. Be careful when you eat out. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Harper is among the 15 million Americans who suffer from food allergies, a growing group that includes one of every 13 children under the age of 18. With that in mind, the Wolves continue to work with Enjoy Life Foods and Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) on Peanut Allergy Awareness Days to help people with these allergies.
“We are excited to again be the lead sponsor of this fun and important event with the Chicago Wolves,” said Carolyn Wiesemann, Enjoy Life Foods’ marketing manager. “Allowing those with food allergies, whether mild or severe, to attend an event they otherwise wouldn’t be able to is something Enjoy Life Foods is proud to support and be a part of.”
Enjoy Life Foods will distribute free Plentils — a lentil chip that is gluten-free as well as free from the eight most common food allergens — during Sunday’s game. A portion of the proceeds generated from Peanut Awareness Day will go to FARE. For ticket information, call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit ChicagoWolves.com.