Covid 19 restrictions have taken the fun out of a lot of our favourite activities. For hockey fans in Fernie, not being able to go into the arena and cheer for our beloved Fernie Ghostriders is a big letdown. Especially when the Home Opener last weekend was against our favourite rivals, the Kimberly Dynamiters.
In years gone by, the Home Opener marked the start of something special for hockey fans. It was a time to get back into the arena, find your favourite seat, enjoy some popcorn, spill some beer, play puck-toss, catch up with your hockey buddies and embrace the new team.
It was also fun seeing the new faces in the arena each season; those who chose Fernie for their winter adventure. Some of these new fans had never been inside an arena before, seen a live hockey game or even been on skates. They brought with them an infectious enthusiasm, created new chants, and together with the regulars, helped create an exhilarating atmosphere in our ‘barn’.
That atmosphere and the sheer number of fans each game, has made the Fernie Ghostriders the team of choice for players in the KIJHL.
With that said, think of the 2020/2021 season, playing in front of empty seats?
Not wanting to let the Riders down, the City, Isabella Dicken Elementary School, Fernie Academy and Ecole Sophie-Morigeau came together, created posters, and plastered the arena glass with well wishes for the team.
No one on the Riders knew this was happening, so it was a complete surprise when they came onto the ice last weekend. Presley Gordon said, “It felt like the fans were right there,” Nick Mitchell said, “It was unexpected and a nice surprise,” and Head Coach Jeff Wagner said, “The boys were excited and felt the love. Thanks so much for the amazing posters!”.
Considering the Ghostriders convincingly won both of their weekend games against Kimberley, they must have felt the love from their fans, even in those empty arenas.