Showtime, And The Cougars Produce
Prince George, B.C. – When Greg Pocock and the partnership that is EDGEPRO Sports and Entertainment addressed a crowd of 1500 people at CN Centre on May 13th, 2014, he stated unequivocally that the new owners of the Prince George Cougars are committed to returning the energy, excitement, tradition and a great winning product of the past to the WHL team that resides in the city of Prince George.
And one of the key steps in rising to meet those goals is making the playoffs, which the Cougars have done under the new ownership this year following a four-year drought. They’re playing in the Western Conference quarter-finals against the Victoria Royals, who won the first two games of the series, very hotly-contested games, by scores of 5-3 and 5-4.
Game 3 was played Wednesday night at CN Centre, and you could feel the anticipation of the crowd that showed up to cheer the Cats on and get back into the series. They jumped to their feet and cheered loudly when Chase Witala scored his third goal of the series, shorthanded, in the first; roared their approval when Jari Erricson scored on the power play and then captain Sam Ruopp notched one in the second to go up 3-0; and raised the roof with thunderous applause when Brad Morrison scored at 6:06 of the third to put the Cougars up 4-2. And the whole works of the people in the stands rose to their feet and gave the players a standing ovation for the entire final minute of the game as the Cougars delivered the first home ice playoff victory in eight years.
Excitement is definitely back in the barn on Ospika and putting bums in the seats is one of the goals. Cougars Vice President of Business, Andy Beesley, says the turnout was good. “Obviously Prince George is looking for a winner team and I think a win tonight means we will be sold out tomorrow (Thursday) night. This is a really good crowd, they’re active and they’re excited and cheering and it feels really good. It’s been a long time, it’s been eight years since we’ve even had a win, we’ve only had four playoff games. The crowd is anxious to jump on our bandwagon and we want them to jump on the bandwagon.” He says the players were out to get a win for the crowd.
During the first period Beesley estimated the crowd, the actual people in the seats, numbered 4-thousand. The attendance was actually 4202. Beesley is fairly pleased with that. “The attendance the last time we had a playoff game, against Kelowna, it was announced as 24-hundred. In reality there was about 18-hundred people in the stands. The attendance tonight is wonderful, it’s not where we’re going to be.”
“Next year we think we’re going to get more support, all signs are pointing to that. But right now we are tickled pink with it and I know also that the boys are reacting very positively to it. They’ve said many time that the crowd makes a big difference to them and they respond to loud home crowds.”
They responded Wednesday night. Hockey fans in Prince George get another chance to show their support by putting those bums in the seats for game four, 7 o’clock tonight at CN Centre as the Cougars look to square the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.