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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (An hour early) July 22nd, 2022 EDITION 898

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (An hour early) July 22nd, 2022 EDITION 898

It was almost lost in the shuffle on Friday afternoon of last week that the Prince George Cougars announced that all of their Saturday home games for the 2022-23 WHL season will start at 6:00 PM.

This has significance since over 40% of their CN Centre games are on a Saturday night (14 of 34).

The Cougars are not the first team to go with a 6 o’clock (or 6:05) face-off.

Four of the five teams in the U.S. Division have found a 6 PM start on a Saturday to be beneficial.

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The Spokane Chiefs are the lone American team that continues to have a 7 PM start on that key weekend day.

In the B.C. Division, The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, and Vancouver Giants will still start their Saturday home games at 7:00, however, the Victoria Royals are joining the Cougars by experimenting with a start time of an hour earlier.

This means 60 % of the Western Conference teams will start at 6:00 or 6:05 on a Saturday night while 40 % are holding firm at 7:00.

The hope for a 6 PM start is simple, to attract more fans into the building.

The Cougars averaged just 1,915 fans in the 2021-22 season, about 500 less than in 2019-20.

To be fair, the pandemic played a key role in the drop-off but regardless the Cougars are hoping to get their average to over 3,000 (last accomplished in 2017-18) to at least break even financially.

I like the change as the earlier a person can get home the better.

Those that may want to head to a bar or restaurant for a drink afterward will get a head start on their beverage of choice.

This move may help the Cougars attract more fans in the region.

For example, if someone living in Quesnel or Vanderhoof wants to spend a Saturday in Prince George to shop and/or do other activities and end their day with a WHL game, they can still get home at a reasonable time.

With the puck dropping at 6:00 and with a normal game lasting 2 1/2 hours, the Quesnel or Vanderhoof fan could be home by 10:00 assuming there are no traffic delays.

The Cougars and Royals are both banking on having more kids and families attend on a Saturday, with the attraction being they will not get home late, especially with no school the next day.

“Cougars games are family entertainment. There’s nothing better than having kids in the building cheering our players on,” said the team’s new Director of Business Operations Taylor Dakers.

“Moving our Saturday games to 6:00 PM is something that just makes sense to make our games more accessible for families,” added Dakers.

Teddy Bear Toss night on December 17th against the Kamloops Blazers, and Fan Appreciation Night on March 25th (the last game of the regular season) also against the Blazers are among the Saturday home games.

Obviously, this is not going to benefit everyone as P.G. still has plenty of shift workers on a Saturday.

18 of the remaining 20 home games will continue with a 7:00 start (nine on Friday, five on Wednesday, and four on Tuesday) while the one Sunday (Nov. 13th) game and the one Monday (Family Day Feb. 20th) game will begin at 2:00 PM.

The complete breakdown of the Cougars’ home schedule can be found right here.


The Cougars’ on-ice team of players and coaches should be similar to last season (naturally with some additions and deletions) but off-ice there have been changes of note since the start of 2022.

Andy Beasley departed as VP of Business in January to go back to the comfort of working for his previous employer, the City of Prince George as Director of Recreation and Events.

He was replaced by Iain Scott, who left after the season to become Interim Manager of the Northern Sport Centre.

The job of Director of Business Operations is now held by Taylor Dakers, who is also the Cougars goalie coach.

Fraser Rodgers left the team after five seasons to go back to the comfort of working for his previous employer, the Penticton Vees.

His title was Manager, Broadcasting, Communications & Public Relations and that job, which includes play-by-play, has gone to Cole Waldie.

Hockey season is not that far off as the Cougars 2022 Training Camp is less than six weeks away starting on Thursday, September 1st.


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Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).




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