Since the Vancouver Giants moved out of the Pacific Coliseum in favour of the Langley Events Centre to start this season, there has been an amateur hockey void in the city of Vancouver.
The UBC Thunderbirds are hoping that hockey fans will fill that void with their men’s hockey team, and they’re offering some incentives.
Fans that attend any of the first four UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey home games wearing a Vancouver Giants jersey or shirt will receive free admission at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Friday’s game will be goaltender Matt Hewitt’s first game since his 15 minutes of fame as the Vancouver Canucks’ back-up goaltender on Tuesday.
Fans may also recognize the T-Birds’ coach, Sven Butenschoen, who played eight games with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2005-06 season.
“People are going to see a type of hockey that’s in my opinion of much better quality than some of the junior hockey in the local area,” Butenschoen said.
University hockey in Canada is highly underrated. Junior hockey gets much more attention because it produces the stars of tomorrow, but CIS hockey showcases a higher caliber of hockey for today.
“Most of our guys are WHL graduates and they’ve played at a very high level. Now they’re 22, 23, 24 years of age. I look back at my career and I know I was twice the player at 23 or 24 than I was at 17 or 18. You’re smarter, you’re stronger, bigger and faster. For someone who hasn’t seen CIS they are going to be quite blown away by the speed and skill level of the hockey.”