View Full Version : Selling Tickets Shouldn't Be A Problem

03-17-2006, 02:15 AM
from reginapats.com

by: Rod Pedersen
620 CKRM's Voice of the Regina Pats

We're heading into the final weekend of the 2005-2006 Western Hockey League regular season and aside from a little playoff positioning, the stage is set for a wildly entertaining post-season!

The Regina Pats are one of the hottest teams in the 'Dub entering the week of March 13th, having won their past five games, all on the road. The recent hot stretch has sent hockey fans in the Queen City clamoring for playoff ticket packages and the phones have been ringing off at the Pats' offices from excited Pats' followers.

Attendance for Pats' games this regular season showed a slow and steady rise as the year went on, which paralleled the team's performance on the ice. When all the beans were counted the adding machines punched, the Pats' attendance average out at approximately 4,245 fans per game.

Officially, that shows a modest decrease from last year's 12-win campaign, but the Pats' staff informs me there were actually more people come through the turnstiles this year than last, and that total of around 4,500 fans per game last year included a lot of tickets which were sold, but never actually used.

The Pats were victims of a dreadful schedule this year, which isn't a new phenomena, but it was worse this time around with extra events in the Brandt Centre including the Brier, Agribition and several concerts. It made for five- or six-game homestands and it made it tough on the ticket-buying public to get to back-to-back home games let alone a stretch of four games in a given week.

Those events also of course, forced the Pats out of their building for long stretches at a time, which may have contributed to the club's woeful road record heading into March.

Who knows?

But the fact is, the Pats are red-hot heading down the stretch and appear to be becoming a team no one would want to play in the first round. Want proof?

Well look no further than the Pats' goal crease where 18-year old Saskatonian David Reekie is playing the best hockey of his junior career and this week was recognized as the WHL Greyhound Player of the Week for backstopping the Pats to those five straight road wins.

An NHL scout observed to me that if the Pats' Europeans come to play in the playoffs, there will be no stopping the Queen City Kids.

Well, with the pressure on this past weekend in Alberta, Czech sensation Petr Kalus was named the game's first star on three consecutive nights and led the club to that stunning 4-3 comeback win in Lethbridge Sunday on national television. The game-tying goal and game-winning goal were Petr's 35th and 36th goals of the season.

As for Russian Dennis Tolpeko, named the Pats MVP, his scoring touch as gone inexplicably absent of late going seven games without a goal, but he still figures in as a major part of the top line with Matt Robinson and Kyle Ross. Those two have combined to score the game-winning goals in four of the past five victories. Dennis will be just fine.

Now historically, round one has never been a big draw in any market in the WHL. In this broadcaster's opinion, in his 13th year in the league, many people must feel that if their team is a favourite, then they'll save their money and catch some later rounds. And for others, perhaps feeling their team is an underdog, may throw in the towel early and say 'why bother?'

But this first-round match-up for the Pats and Saskatoon Blades has much intrigue and the benefit of having been talked-about for the past month and a half.

While Molleken's Men in the Bridge City haven't officially clinched second-place and home-ice in the round one just yet, it would take a lot for them to not open game one at the Credit Union Centre. Basically they'd have to lose their remaining games in regulation time and have the Pats win all of theirs. A tough task indeed.

But perhaps opening on the road will be a blessing-in-disguise for Regina. For one, opening the first two games in Saskatoon should drive some big-time hype heading back to Regina for games three and four and if the Pats should earn a split or even a sweep of the opening pair, then it won't take long for Regina fans to get on board.

It's just over a week away. Let's hope the Pats are thinking about it now!