Well, Prince George, I guess that takes care of that.
When the Subway Super Series wrapped up in Prince George on Thursday night, WHL commissioner Ron Robison pointed a finger squarely at hockey fans in that city.
The Cougars had said they were using the Super Series game as a test run as they contemplated placing a bid on the 2013 Memorial Cup.
Things were looking good, too, when 5,918 people showed up at the 5,971-seat CN Centre to watch the Russians wrap up the series with a 5-2 victory over Team WHL.
During that gala affair, Robison told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen that it would take more than one game to get the city into the Memorial Cup hunt.
“First and foremost, we want to use this series to hopefully rejuvenate this market,” Robison said. “Attendance hasn’t been at levels that are acceptable to the Cougars or the league and we hope it’s going to generate some fan interest in attending more Cougar games. That’s really a critical ingredient for us to consider bids for Memorial Cup.
“When you consider the potential of this market and what it accomplished in the past, the facilities, and certainly the enthusiasm in the community, those are all good ingredients, but we have to see the Cougars’ attendance improve in order to support that bid. Our expectation would be 80 per cent capacity, not 30 per cent capacity here. Since their last playoff run, there hasn’t been the type of response we’re looking for.”
Well, the Cougars were at home to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night. And attendance was announced at 1,839.
Going into Friday’s game, the Cougars’ average announced attendance was 2,404 and that was down two per cent from last season.
To date, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are the only team to have announced that they definitely will be bidding on the right to play host to the 2013 Memorial Cup. They were at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night. The attendance was announced as 2,757.
THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Tomas Troliga (Calgary, 2003-04) signed a one-year contract with Zilinia (Slovakia Extraliga) after securing his release from SKP Poprad (Slovakia Extraliga). He had three assists in 25 games for Poprad this season, playing mostly on the fourth line. . . .
F James Knight (Moose Jaw, 2002-04) signed a one-year contract with the Swindon Wildcats (England Premier). He had 22 goals and 41 assists in 51 games with the Slough Jets and Peterborough Phantoms (both England Premier) last season. . . .
F Patrik Valcak (Lethbridge, Kelowna, 2003-04) signed a one-year contract with Olofström (Sweden Division 1). He had six goals and 21 assists in 36 games with Dukla Trencin and Liptovsky Mikulas (both Slovakia Extraliga) last season. . . .
F Niko Snellman (Regina, 2006-07) signed a one-year contract with Kiekko-Laser Oulu (Finland Mestis). He had one assist in 11 games for Ilves Tampere (Finland SM-Liiga) and three goals and four assists in 17 games for LeKi Lempäälä (Finland Mestis) last season. . . .
F Frantisek Mrazek (Red Deer, 1997-99) signed a four-game tryout contract with the Landshut Cannibals (Germany 2.Bundesliga). He had three goals and four assists in 15 games for Slovan Ustecti Lvi (Czech Republic 1.Liga), one assist in two games with Litomerica (Czech Republic 2.Liga), and no points in two games with Kladno (Czech Republic Extraliga) last season.
F James Wright’s most recent stay in the NHL was awfully short. Wright (Vancouver, 2005-10) was recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Norfolk Admirals for one game. He played four minutes 36 seconds in an 8-7 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Thursday and was sent back to Norfolk on Friday. . . . Wright has 12 points in 15 games with the Admirals.
In Brandon, the Calgary Hitmen scored three third-period goals and beat the Wheat Kings 5-3 to snap a 12-game losing streak. . . . The last time these teams met was in a semifinal game at the 2010 Memorial Cup. Brandon won that game. . . . F Cody Sylvester had a goal and two assists for Calgary as he was in on the last three goals, while F Danny Gayle, acquired earlier in the week from the Moose Jaw Warriors, had a goal and an assist. F Nathan MacMaster, who also came over in that deal, had a goal, while G Brandon Glover, the third acquisition, stopped 25 shots. . . . F Brayden Schenn, 19, who played the last three seasons with Brandon, made his AHL debut last night. He had one assist as his Manchester Monarchs beat the visiting Worcester Sharks. Schenn was assigned to the Monarchs on a 14-day conditioning stint by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. That is the only way he can play in the minors. Once the stint is over, the Kings will have to put him on their roster or return him to Brandon. . . .
In Cranbrook, the Saskatoon Blades took a 2-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in a battle of the Eastern Conference’s top two clubs. . . . F Marek Viedensky had a goal and an assist for the Blades, scoring at 3:54 of the first and drawing an assist on D Duncan Siemens’ second goal of the season at 8:55 of the second. . . . D Jagger Dirk scored for the Ice at 15:12 of the third. . . . Saskatoon G Steven Stanford, in his first start since suffering a concussion in practice, stopped 39 shots. . . .
In Lethbridge, the Prince Albert Raiders scored four times on the PP as they dumped the Hurricanes, 9-3. . . . F Austin Connor had two goals and an assist for the winners, who got a goal and two assists from D Ryan Button and two helpers from D Antoine Corbin, who was acquired Thursday from the Kelowna Rockets. Veteran D Jordan Rowley also had two assists. . . . Raiders F Brock Balson picked up his first two WHL points — a goal and an assist — in 17 games. . . . The Raiders had four players pick up their first goals of the seaosn — Balson, Button, G Tyler Paslawski and F Shane Danyluk. . . . F Austin Fyten was back in the Lethbridge lineup. He hadn’t played since Oct. 8 because of a broken foot. . . .
In Red Deer, F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice, giving him seven, and F Andrej Kudrna had three assists as the Rebels beat the Swift Current Broncos, 4-2. . . . F Cody Eakin scored his 12th of the season for the Broncos, who scored the game’s first and last goals. . . . The Rebels were without D Colin Archer (wrist). . . .
In Everett, F Kellan Tochkin had three goals to spark the Silvertips to a 4-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Tochkin, who has signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, has 10 goals. . . . He broke 1-1 and 2-2 ties and then provided insurance with a PP goal at 16:38 of the third period. . . . F Tyler Maxwell had three assists for Everett. . . . Everett G Luke Siemens, making his fourth start, stopped 24 shots to earn his first victory. . . . He stopped Kamloops F Brendan Ranford on a penalty shot in the game’s final minute after Everett was called for intentionally knocking its net off its moorings. . . . Ranford also was foiled on a second-period breakaway. . . . He and Vancouver Giants F Brendan Gallagher lead the WHL in goals, with 20. . . .
In Vancouver, F Brendan Gallagher scored two goals and added an assist as the Giants, who scored the last three goals, beat the Regina Pats 5-4 in OT. . . . Vancouver F Greg Lamoureux got the winner, his third goal this season, at 1:58 of extra time. . . . Vancouver D Neil Manning had three assists. . . . Vancouver F Craig Cunningham, the WHL scoring leader, had one assist. . . . Cunningham has 41 points, two more than F Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Regina got a goal and two assists from F Thomas Frazee, while F Jordan Weal had three assists. . . . Due to injuries, the Giants dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. . . . Attendance was 11,476, with a few more than attended an NHL game in Atlanta last night to watch the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals, 5-0. . . .
A tweet from the Seattle Thunderbirds last night: After a scoreless second period, the score remains 1-0 in favor of the T-Birds. Shots on goal after two periods: Seattle 13, Spokane 32.
Gotta think G Calvin Pickard made it back safely from Prince George.
In Seattle, G Calvin Pickard stopped 48 shots and then was 2-for-3 in the shootout as the Thunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 2-1. . . . Seattle F Luke Lockhart gave his side a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game. . . . Spokane F Tyler Johnson tied it on the PP at 3:45 of the third. . . . Spokane G James Reid stopped 24 shots. . . . F Marcel Noebels and F Burke Gallimore scored for Seattle in the shootout. Only F Blake Gal was able to counter for Spokane. . . .
In Prince George, F Brett Bulmer scored twice to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Bulmer, who is in his second WHL season, is from Prince George. . . . F Spencer Main added two assists for the Rockets, who took a 3-1 lead into the third period. . . . F Brett Connolly scored twice for the Cougars, giving him 17 goals this season. . . .
In Chilliwack, the Bruins erased a 2-1 second-period deficit and went on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . F Ryan Howse got his 18th goal of the season for the Bruins, who got 39 saves from G Lucas Gore. . . . F Kevin Sundher had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, while F Roman Horak had one of each. . . . Chilliwack F Robin Soudek, who was injured on a hit from behind on Nov. 11, didn’t play. . . .. F Adam Hughesman scored twice for the Americans, giving him 13 on the season. . . . The Americans have lost five in a row for the first time since March of 2006.
FRIDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
Swift Current D Kyle Verdino
Vancouver F Michael Burns
Regina F Dyson Stevenson
Chilliwack D Jeff Einhorn
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