Over 19000 Fans For Four Weekend Junior Hockey Games

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Over 19,000 fans for four weekend junior hockey games

Junior hockey is alive and well in the Edmonton area. Just ask 19,353 hockey fans.

That’s how many people took in four games over three days over the weekend between the Western Hockey League and the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

And with both local squads — the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Spruce Grove Saints — leading the respective best-of-seven series 2-0, fans might want to get comfy. It could be a lengthy ride.

The scheduling God’s smiled gently down on the two series: the Oil Kings and Saints only went head-to-head Friday night.

The Oil Kings opened their opening round of the WHL playoffs against the Kootenay Ice at Rexall Place. The crowd count that night was 8,939 for Edmonton’s 3-0 win.

West of town, in Spruce Grove’s Grant Fuhr Arena, the defending AJHL champion Saints played Game 1 against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, and won 3-1. Attendance: 832.

Then, Saturday, Spruce Grove had the market cornered since it was an off-day for the Oil Kings and Ice.

There was standing room only in Grant Fuhr Arena with fans lined up on both sides of the rink. A total of 1,119 saw the Saints zoom themselves past the Oil Barons 4-2, with Games 3 and 4 in Fort Mac Monday and Tuesday.

The Oil Kings and Ice met Sunday in a highly entertaining 4-3 come-from-behind win for Edmonton.

The official WHL game sheet says 8,463 were in the Rexall Place pews.

The series now shifts to Cranbrook — Game 3 Wednesday and then they’re right back at it to next day for Game 4.

Perhaps it’s optimistic to assume both the Oil Kings and Saints will be playing for a while yet.

But one can only hope.

And while there may be silent rivalry between the two leagues, March and April tend to bring the best out of hockey players.

The two leagues certainly have the potential of feeding off one another.

For Edmonton hockey fans, it could happen in their own backyard.

So we’re at 19,353 through four games. Let’s see if it rises.

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