Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome to Prince George

  • Geordie Wudrick and Evan Bloodoff were seen sipping a hot coffee as the Rockets were about to board the bus for a trip down to the CN Centre for a quick morning skate. The good news is the sun is shining brightly up in PG this morning. The temperature at 10 am was -19.
  • I didn't get a chance to watch the third period of the Subway Super Series once we arrived in Prince George at around 8:30 last night. The team bus went to the hotel rather than unloading their gear at the CN Centre. The team was asked to stay away from the rink until after 10 pm, so Team WHL, the Russians and the cleaning and camera crews could all get out of the building without the need of a traffic cop.
  • The Prince George Cougars must have been happy to learn that the game on Sportsnet was not televised locally until after the game had ended. Sportsnet had football scheduled, which meant the game was shown here in Prince George at 11 o'clock, a full hour after it had ended.
  • How did I catch the conclusion of the game? On radio. Andy Neal and Allan Bristowe were calling the game on '99.3-The Drive', which is the official radio home of the Cougars. I listened to the final five minutes of the third period and the post game show. They did a bang up job in calling the game and interviewing the local representatives afterwards was a nice touch. People driving away from the arena want to hear from Dean Clark, Brett Connolly and Charles Inglis, not a player from Seattle or Moose Jaw after the loss. Neal and Bristowe got it right by talking to the local flavour involved in the game.
  • It was nice to see the CN Centre full with people. I have never seen that many fans in that building in my 16 years in the WHL. Let's hope that this game tweaked the interest of the local hockey fan and persuaded them into checking out more than a game or two when the Cougars play a home game this season.
  • Does the solid attendance show the WHL that indeed Prince George can stage a successful Memorial Cup? I am not sure the league is convinced until they see a real improvement in attendance at Cougars home games. With less than 3 thousand, it would be a huge gamble for WHL governors to allow them to host the Memorial Cup tournament. Can Prince George support a showcase event, like what we saw last night? Sure. But a ten day tournament is a totally different animal.
  • I did have a chance to break bread with the Sportsnet TV crew after the game in a chance meeting in Prince George's downtown core. It was great to catch up and share stories with Rob Faulds and Sam Constantino. I've gotten to know those gentleman over the years thanks to my many trips to the Memorial Cup.

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