Just one more day and the Chiefs will finally take to the ice in the Memorial
Cup. By the time Spokane faces Belleville at 1 p.m. Pacific on Saturday, the Chiefs will have been off for 10 days, their longest lay off of the season.
The team isn't too worried about it, but I know I am. I saw what a nine day layoff did to Lethbridge in the WHL finals in game one of their series with Spokane, and the Chiefs cannot afford to have that happen to them in the Cup Saturday against Belleville.
One defeat will have any team scrambling to get back in contention. Two losses and you're done. The margin for error is far less than in a 7 game playoff series, and as we saw in the Tri-Cities series in the West Finals, that was pretty darn slim!
The Chiefs had a really light day Friday. The team practiced for a half hour then stayed on the ice for about another 15-20 minutes to work on individual skills.
After that, it was a great lunch at the Fireside Grill. Let's just say the owner/hostess of the restaurant was very nice...and courteous as well. I hope to make that journey again before we depart the Kitchener area.
The team will have a nice dinner tonight before settling in to watch the Cup opener with host Kitchener and the QMJHL champion Gatineau. The team will watch the game from the hotel, whereas the coaches and myself will go to the rink. I want to watch the teams in person to get a chance to match face and skating style with names and numbers.
It will really help me as this is the first time I will see any of these teams. It's not just the players and coaches trying to familiarize themselves here!
Seating will be tight. Every game has sold out for months. The arena holds about 5,300 but they are expecting 5,800 fans. They sold standing room seats three deep! They really do love their hockey here north of the border.
The Chiefs front office staff flew in late last night, so they will be here all weekend as well. It's great to see owner Bobby Brett reward those who work behind the scenes with a chance to watch the boys in the biggest tournament of the year without having to run around and work all game.
It will be fun Saturday....Tune into AM 1510 KGA at 12:30 Pacific Saturday afternoon and join in on it!