7,000 people will be filing into the Mile One Centre on a regular basis in the next few months. On most nights, things should look pretty uniform, or at least sound that way. We’ll hear a few “Go Caps go!” chants, and see tons of those gorgeous jerseys floating around. But every few weeks, things will be different.
For example, when the Hamilton Bulldogs, Toronto Marlies, and even to an extent, the WBS Penguins come to town, things won’t be so one-sided.
Photo: Hamilton Spec
Some believe that Canadiens fans (Bulldogs’ parent) may very well drown out IceCaps supporters in the first game of the season. While I believe this is far-fetched and not the case at all, there will definitely be a good opportunity for some Habs fans to show off their red, white, and blue. Is this really a bad thing? I don’t think so.
I wouldn’t put much stock in the idea that a few fans of other AHL clubs will take away from the IceCaps’ home advantage. That’s just foolish.
From CBC.ca’s Tim Wharnsby:
Newfoundland hockey fans do not alter their NHL allegiances easily. Most of them are long-time supporters of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs or Boston Bruins, or they cheer for the team of their favourite Newfoundlander, like Daniel Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings or Ted Purcell of the Tampa Bay Lightning. So even though the Winnipeg Jets have brought back pro hockey to the Rock by placing their AHL affiliate in St. John’s, the Jets have some work to do in this province to turn the locals into fanatics of the Jets.
Joe Colborne - Photo: Marlies.ca
As a Leafs fan, and writer for Maple Leafs Hot Stove, I’ve followed the team closely for basically my entire life (probably even more so in the last two years due to my newly found writing hobby.)
From discussing lineups, prospects, coaching decisions, trades, roster moves, and literally EVERYTHING in between with fellow Leafs fans and analysts, I’m probably much more familiar with the Marlies right now than I am with the IceCaps. Actually, there’s no “probably” about it. I am.
So when the Marlies finally do come to St. John’s in November, I’ll be looking out for the likes of Joe Colborne, Ben Scrivens, Mike Zigomanis, and others who I believe to have real futures with my beloved Maple Leafs. Do I dislike the Jets? Of course not. And I’ll be behind the IceCaps for the rest of their schedule no doubt, especially when they play those Bulldogs.
I’m sure by the time this season winds down, I should be just as familiar with the Jets/IceCaps lineups as I am with the Leafs/Marlies. But my allegiances will never shift, as is the case with most hockey fans in Newfoundland and abroad.
Eric Tangradi - WBS Penguins
I think the atmosphere created by these sorts of scenarios will make for some really interesting games down at the Mile One Centre. After all, a bit of friendly banter between hockey fans should add to the experience of taking in a pro hockey game. Just don’t throw any beer at me when I show up in my Luke Schenn Leafs jersey, and everything will be fine.
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