Tickets for the Subway Super Series hockey game set for the Westman Place this fall will go on sale today but there’s a catch: Brandon Wheat Kings season-ticket holders get first dibs.
Brandon will host the second game of the series, pitting a Russian junior team in a pair of games against each of the Canadian Hockey League’s three leagues, on Nov. 11, replacing the Wheat Kings’ traditional Remembrance Day Western Hockey League game. Wheat Kings season-ticket holders will have until Sept. 30 at 5 p.m., to lock up their seats for the game, with ticket sales being opened to the general public the next morning.
Brandon hosted the final game of the very first series, then known as the Canada-Russia Challenge, in 2003.
Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon said the event, which is part of the evaluation process for the Canadian and Russian world junior teams, has changed greatly since then.
"It’s an event that continues to gain profile and I think the reason for that is it’s become more and more important for Hockey Canada in their identification and selection of players for the (national junior) camp but as well for the world junior team," McCrimmon said. "I think as they’ve grown to rely more heavily on it, it’s made the games more important. … Russia after the first couple of years have started to send real good teams. I know that the last few years the series has gone right down to the wire, so it’ll be, I think, a great hockey game for our fans."
With forwards John Quenneville and Jayce Hawryluk being selected in the first two rounds of this year’s National Hockey League draft and 2015 draft prospect Ryan Pilon having joined those two on the national under-18 team this spring, the Wheat Kings are expected to have a number of players get consideration for the Super Series.
Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson said the game is part of the facility’s push to expand its offerings.
"We take a look at the current product offering that we have and see what we can either do more of or a little bit of variety," he said. "So the concerts (promoted by the Keystone Centre) was a natural extension of that. … With the hockey, that’s something that we do today, but it’s something special that’s coming in, so we’re thrilled to be able to host it."
The Wheat Kings announced at their annual media reception on Thursday that the team had sold 1,900 season tickets, a small increase from last year at this time, as the club tries to reverse a four-year decline in attendance.
"We’re still a long way from what our targets would be but, as I always say at this reception, it’s hard to draw a lot out of your number," said McCrimmon, whose team sold 2,361 season tickets and averaged 3,529 fans per game last season. "We’re encouraged that it’s up, but when you get to October 1 is when you get closer to having your final numbers."
ONE-TIMERS: Tickets for the Super Series game will cost $22 for adults and $12 for ages 12 and under … Saskatoon will host the first game of the Super Series on Nov. 10, marking the first time the event has opened in a WHL city.