Cougars Look to ‘Finish the Job’ on Eve of Playoffs
Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Cougars have had a great year both on and off the ice but there’s still work to be done.
Andy Beesley, the Cats business vice-president, notes it’s been a record setting year for the club not only in wins with 44 but when it comes to individual accomplishments.
Take for example Ty Edmonds eclipsing the all-time win mark for a goalie (96) and forward Jansen Harkins becoming the team’s all-time points leader (240).
And that’s not all, the club’s average home attendance through 35 regular home games is 3,564 – a 16 per cent increase over last year.
“Many teams are lucky to be holding steady with attendance and if you get a two or three per cent increase you’re happy,” he says. “We’ve had double digits right through since the new ownership took over.”
But with two games left – both against Kamloops – they still haven’t clinched first place in the B.C. Division – a feat they’ve yet to accomplish in their 23-year history.
“It would be a huge victory and I guess I have two ways of looking at that. From the fan perspective, nothing would be better than to get our first banner at the CN Centre. It’s crazy that we haven’t had one by now,” says Beesley.
“Having said that, if it doesn’t happen (the Cougars need three points out of their final pair of games to clinch), it’s not the banner we want, what we really want is a better banner (the WHL championship banner).”
And with the strength of teams in the Western Conference, he acknowledges even getting out of the first-round will be tough.
“Some back east may disagree but I think arguably two of the very best teams in the country are going to get eliminated in the first round because B.C. has some tremendously talented teams. The difference between the top and the bottom in our division and our league is razor thin.”
But he says the club’s expectations heading into the post-season remain high.
“You have to have the stars, the moon, the planets all lined up perfectly to win a championship and there’s so many factors – injuries, bounces, player fatigue and good old luck,” says Beesley. “But we feel as if we’ve got as good a chance as any.”
Tickets for the Cougars final home game tomorrow night versus Kamloops are still available. Seats for games one and two of the first-round play-off series are expected to go on sale to the general public Tuesday night.
Those games will take place March 24 and March 25.