The Grande Prairie Storm is ready to show off for its fans at home. The hockey team’s home opener is Friday night at Revolution Place, and Head Coach Matt Keillor says it’s all the players have been talking about.
“They love the kids chanting and screaming their names and they’re excited for autographs and probably the first game in front of a packed house will be pretty exciting, especially for the young guys and the new guys to the league.”
A tailgate party with a free barbecue, live entertainment and a freestyle motocross rider will run before the game from 5 to 7 p.m. with the puck drop at 7:30. Two games in, the Storm are still looking for their first win of the regular season, but Keillor says he’s seeing improvement over last year.
“We’re a lot faster,” he explains. “We have a lot more depth, so the ability to come at teams with four lines every single night, especially early on, getting everyone lots of playing time I think will benefit us down the road into the playoff stretch too.”
The Storm team finished the 2017/2018 season in fourth place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League North division and was knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. Keillor says they’d like to place in the top three of their division this year and get the home-ice advantage heading into the postseason.
“It’s going to be very difficult this year; probably more difficult than last year. I think all the teams did a really good job recruiting this year; there’s a lot of coaching changes and there’s some really good coaches in the league, so any given night any team can win.”
Friday night’s game is against the Spruce Grove Saints. They’ll play again in Grande Prairie Saturday at 7:30 p.m.