Playoffs bring diehards, bandwagon fans to Canalta Centre

By Ashley Wiebe
April 18, 2017 - 4:33pm Updated: April 18, 2017 - 7:37pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB —Tigers fans lined up inside the Canalta Centre Monday and Tuesday, hoping to get their hands on ticket to Game 7 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

If the Tigers win, they’ll head into Round 3 against the Regina Pats, but if they lose, it’s all over for another season.

Fans know just how important this game is and know it’s not one to miss, but it’s not just the fans who live and breathe orange lining up to witness history.

“There’s so many great fans out there that live and die with it,” said Bob Ridley, play-by-play announcer for the Medicine Hat Tigers. “Whether it’s the Calgary Flames or the Medicine Hat Tigers, they come and lend their support, come hell or high water.”

Casual fans and diehards are out in full force, heading into Game 7.

“There’s the fair weather fans, we’ve got those,” Ridley said. “We’ve got the great fans, we have those as well.”

Ridley has been calling the shots for the Tigers for nearly half a century.

He’s seen wins and losses and knows just how important is it to stand behind your team, no matter the score.

“It takes a lot of work for these players to get to this particular part of the season and on and the coaching staff and the staff in general,” he said. “So we like to have some great support throughout the course of the regular season as well.”

He knows that playoff hockey always draws a bigger crowd, including bandwagon fans, fans who only cheer while the team is winning.

“They’re out there everywhere,” said Mark Harty, owner of The Scoreboard. “It’s no different than if one of our Canadian hockey teams are playing good, they’re going to probably root for them.”

Harty said bandwagoners are always good for business.

“You have your loyal Medicine Hat Tiger fans and the ones that want to go, they’re going to come,” he said.

Fans who’ve been following the team know just how thrilling the games can get.

“As it gets exciting, the more people want to watch and it’s good because hopefully it’ll fill the place because we don’t get enough fans out on a game to game basis,” said one season ticket holder.

“Pick a team, I guess, and stick with them,” said another.

Whether you’ve jumped on the bandwagon or the fan bus, Ridley said one thing’s for certain.

“We’re in for one heck of a hockey game and I know both teams will be at their very, very best,” he said. “And if you can’t get excited about this game, you better check your pulse.”

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