St. John’s abuzz as opening night nears
The weekend can’t come soon enough for hockey fans in St. John’s.
October 14th marks the official return of professional hockey to Newfoundland and Labrador as the AHL newest team, the St. John’s IceCaps, prepare to host the Hamilton Bulldogs at Mile One Centre Friday and Saturday nights.
After recording back-to-back wins in Providence and Manchester last weekend to begin their inaugural season, the IceCaps finally head home to commence a new era of hockey in the province. The long wait for fans is finally about to end.
However, it’s not just the fans who are excited about pro hockey’s return. Members of the IceCaps are anxiously awaiting the puck drop Friday. IceCaps forward and Corner Brook native Jason King is especially excited to have the chance to play in his home province.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to play pro hockey at home,” King said. “I can’t wait to get this going. The support and the excitement for the team and myself around the city is tremendous.”
Friday’s home opener is completely sold out, and the atmosphere in the building will be electric. Fans can expect to see VIPs and special guests in attendance as well as an opening ceremony to wow you out of your seat. American Hockey League president Dave Andrews and True North Sports and Entertainment chairman Mark Chipman are expected to be in attendance.
The fun doesn’t start inside the rink, though. Before the game, fans are invited to attend the IceCaps tailgate party beginning at 5 p.m. outside Mile One. The pre-game festivities will feature live music from the Rolling Kings, official IceCaps merchandise, and other exciting activities. In addition, two tickets to the home opener will be awarded to the IceCaps best “Superfan,” the fan with the craziest and most creative IceCaps themed costume.
After the game, fans can experience the Coors Light IceCaps After Party hosted by The Majestic on Duckworth Street. Starting right after the final horn, fans can head over to The Majestic for great specials and entertainment. Admission is free and fans can enter a draw for a chance to see the Jets play in Winnipeg.
On the ice, the IceCaps (2-0-0-0, 4 pts) will be looking to ride the momentum from last weekend’s successful road trip and establish Mile One as a tough place to play for the opposition. The IceCaps received solid goaltending last weekend from David Aebischer and Peter Mannino, who stopped 44 of 45 shots in the two victories.
After netting four goals Friday en route to a 4-1 win against the Bruins, the IceCaps needed only Riley Holzapfel’s first period power play goal Saturday as Mannino shut out the Monarchs 1-0. The IceCaps sit in first place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division through the first week of AHL action.
Fans who are unable to get into Mile One can listen with Brian Rogers on 930 AM This is Newfoundland Labrador, or via the team’s website, www.stjohnsicecaps.com. The game can also be seen on Rogers TV throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, simulcasting the radio broadcast.
By Chris Doyle
St. John’s IceCaps