Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bears sounding bullish

Hershey used to Calder Cups, but Arniel says that's history

  • Print

Sure, Winnipeg is a hockey town. One with the lumps and bruises of losing its NHL franchise and the glory of a WHA organization that captured three titles in a golden era. But in the AHL, we're virtual newcomers without a single championship banner to stare at in our swanky downtown rink.

The Hershey Bears, however, are more like the Montreal Canadiens of the AHL and make our Moose look like the Atlanta Thrashers when it comes to tradition.

Before you spit out your crumpet and start calling me a heretic, philistine and traitor all in one spittle-flying sentence, check out the facts.

The Moose, who finished first overall in the AHL this season and will hold home-ice advantage in the Calder Cup final series beginning Saturday night at the MTS Centre against the history-heavy Bears, are entering this stage for the very first time in their 13-year existence in Winnipeg.

The Bears, on the other hand, have won nine Calder Cups and own a 70-year history in the AHL. Hershey has been to the Calder in three of the last four years alone. When it comes to tradition, in this league at least, the Bears are boss.

"They don't hang banners for division or conference titles here. Just championships," Bears coach Bob Woods said early Tuesday morning after complaining of a lack of sleep fresh off an Eastern Conference title win over the Providence Bruins on Monday night.

"Nine Calder Cups. It's easy to keep track of. You just look up in the rafters. And they like to remind you of the wins around here."

The Bears play in a new building, the Giant Center, and have turned their old rink into a museum celebrating the eight decades of pro hockey in Hershey and the 800-plus men who have worn the team's colours.

Hershey led the AHL in regular-season attendance with a mark of 8,897 per night while the Moose lead playoff attendance with an average of 8,919 customers through eight home dates.

Moose coach Scott Arniel tips his hat to the Bears and their past but isn't interested in it as far as it pertains to this series.

"They've been a staple of the AHL for a long time. For anybody that hasn't been down there, the old building was a tough place to play and the fans in the new building are rabid and they love hockey," Arniel said. "They play great there. They're a great example of what a lot of teams want to be. "Especially in a U.S. market. They do a great job of bringing quality teams in there year after year. They've obviously learned how to win. They've been in the final three of the last four years. They know the ingredients of getting themselves to this stage. We face the formidable task of facing a team at this level.

"But there's a first for everything and we're looking forward to our opportunity. They have their history. Until you build a history and have a foundation, it's all stepping stones. History is yesterday's news. It's about what we've done in the last couple of weeks. It's the best team in the East against the best team in the West. It comes down to who is the best team in this seven-game series."

The Moose had sold more than 7,400 tickets for Saturday's series opener on Tuesday and club director of communications Scott Brown says a sellout is the team's hope.

"Our expectations are to be sold out for Saturday night. That's our hope and our expecations from our fans," Brown said. "This is a championship final of the highest level of hockey in this city. It's the first pro final this city has been involved in in 30 years. We're excited and we want our fans to share in the excitement. We expect a sellout."

A sellout for hockey at the MTS Centre is 15,015.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

 

Schedule

Game 1: Saturday @ MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m.

Game 2: Tuesday @ MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m.

Game 3: Saturday, June 6 @ Giant Center, 5 p.m.

Game 4: Sunday, June 7 @ Giant Centre, 3 p.m.

*Game 5: Tuesday, June 9 @ Giant Centre, 5 p.m.

*Game 6: Friday, June 12 @ MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m.

*Game 7: Sunday, June 14 @ MTS Centre, 7: 30 p.m.

 

*If necessary

All times CDT

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 27, 2009 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google