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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars attendance up 67%) April 28th, 2023 EDITION...

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars attendance up 67%) April 28th, 2023 EDITION 938

The results of wins and losses are very important to any team but one can argue that the results at the gate (attendance) are equally as important, if not more so.

No matter how good your product is if no one is buying it then it does not matter much.

Playoff fever hit Prince George and the fans showed they were much more interested than in the regular season.

Over the course of 34 regular season home games, the Cougars averaged 2,755 fans, good for just 18th out of 22 teams (ahead of Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Swift Current and Winnipeg).

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In the post-season, that number jumped significantly with an average of 4,609 over five games.

That is a substantial average increase of 1,854 per game.

The fan support at CN Centre peaked at 5,383 on Easter Sunday, April 9th (a 5-4 overtime win over Tri-City in Game 6 of the first round).

The low of 4,024 came in the team’s final home game on Wednesday, April 19th (an 8-2 loss to Seattle in Game 4 of the second round).

In the other three games, there were 4,369 on hand to open the playoffs on Friday, March 31st (a 6-4 Game 1 loss to Tri-City), with that number boosted to 4,514 the next day on Saturday, April 1st (a 2-1 overtime Game 2 victory over Tri-City).

In addition, 4,756 paid to watch the Cougars on Tuesday, April 18th (an 8-1 Game 3 loss to Seattle).

While there was hope crowds would be bigger for the Seattle series because it was the second round, one has to remember those games were midweek compared to the three home dates against Tri-City which were all on weekends.

The Cougars improved their attendance by 67 per cent, the biggest increase in the WHL Western Conference and the second biggest in both the WHL and CHL.

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They were only behind the Saskatoon Blades (average of 9,513 an increase of 111%) who had the Connor Bedard factor in their favour.

The Blades had the luxury of four home dates against Bedard in the first round and four more home games in the second round, including a Game 7 against Red Deer (9,489 on Tuesday, April 25th).

In terms of regular season attendance, the Cougars, on average, had the most fans since the 2017-18 season (3,024).

Since arriving in Prince George in 1994-95, crowds have been all over the map with an average high of 5,824 in 1998-99 to a low of just 1,683 in 2013-14 (the last year Rick Brodsky owned the team).

In the last 20 years though (since 2002-03), the Cougars have not averaged more than 3,626 (which was in 2016-17) and that was the only season P.G. won a banner for a first-place finish.

As a team, the Cougars showed some strides and made progress.

Going hand in hand with that was the response from their fan base.

Moving forward, should the Cougars put out a winning product, there is no reason not to believe that the all-important numbers at the gate will continue to rise.

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Prince George is a hockey town, but like most cities, will support the local team if there is entertainment value, good community relations and of course, positive results.

This does not mean one has to win a championship (although that is the ultimate goal) but having a competitive team is a must.


Cat Scan podcast:


Taking Note:



MLB owners apparently willing to say Oakland A’s can relocate to Las Vegas, with a ballpark on the site of the now-closed Wild Wild West Casino. As Pete Rose would say, what were the odds?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California

A Yahoo Sports article reported that Draymond Green ‘stabilizes’ the Golden State Warriors. How ironic–the most unstable player in the league ‘stabilizes’ the Warriors.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has called a war on rats: “The conditions that help [rats] thrive will no longer be tolerated.” If Boston meets the Rangers in the playoffs, that can’t be good news for Brad Marchand.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie 

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He has completed his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

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