Plymouth Fans Picking Up the Pace as Whalers Continue to Win
Photo - Whalers Kid's Club Captain Garrett Meurs bumps fists with a young fan before hitting the ice Dec. 28. Photo by Rena Laverty.
It seems to happen every season with the Plymouth Whalers. The weather gets cold, the Whalers start winning at Compuware Arena and people connect with the team.
The Whalers have enjoyed a spike in attendance since returning from the Christmas Break. Plymouth has averaged over 3,000 fans per home game at Compuware Arena since the Kids’ Day matinee against London on Dec. 28.
Although the Whalers hit the road this week while the United States Midwestern Synchronized Skating Championships invade Compuware Arena, Plymouth will play 7 of 11 games at home in February, starting Sat. Feb. 4 at 7:05pm against the Windsor Spitfires.
The Whalers have taken care of business at Compuware Arena this season. At 18-3-1-1, Plymouth has the best home record in the Ontario Hockey League this season and has more wins on home ice than any other team in the league.
The product on the ice has been supplemented by several Family-oriented themes around the usual game-night experience. On Jan. 14 against Mississauga, the Whalers – during Country Western Night - hosted local Country-Western Band Annabelle Road, who performed a free post-game concert. 3,111 attended the game and several hundred stuck around afterwards for the show.
Seven days later, the Whalers blew out Sault Ste. Marie, 8-0, on Special Olympics Night before 3,008.
Before the game, the audience was introduced to Canton resident and Special Olympics Athlete David Faust, who performed a ceremonial faceoff. David has been training and competing in Special Olympics for over 20 years. He joined Special Olympics during Middle School – with track and field and softball. Over the years he has participated in Floor Hockey, Bowling, Basketball, Softball, Snowshoeing, Swimming, and Athletics.
Faust has trained as a global messenger and has traveled to Washington DC to speak to congressmen and Senators about the benefits of Special Olympics.
Last year, Faust qualified to join TEAM USA in Aquatic and he began training to compete at the World Special Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In June 2011, Faust returned home with several Ribbons and a bronze medal for the 200 back stroke event.
As Mr. Faust was introduced to the crowd, he received a standing ovation.
The Whalers have several events planned for February. On Sun. Feb.12 at 2pm, the Whalers will host division rival Saginaw during Faith and Family Day.
Although Plymouth and Saginaw will bring their unique brand of intensity on the ice, Faith and Family Day will feature other diverse elements to the game.
Pastor Brad Cannon of the Solid Rock Bible Church in Plymouth will be speaking after the game, followed by a free concert by Christian Rock Band, The Jason Eaton Band. The Jason Eaton Band’s original release - Nothing Back - generated national airplay in America and also landed on the airwaves internationally, most notably, notching top 20 status in Europe.
That’s not all. Local personality Chuck Gaidica will be Faith and Family Day’s honorary host. Gaidica is the Director of Meteorology at WDIV in Detroit and co-host of WOMC’s 104.3FM morning show.
Gaidica is also involved with several charitable projects, centered around website www.cuddlealert.com. Gaidica is the co-author of the children’s books “Tommy Starts Something Big”, and “Cuddling Is Like Chocolate.”
It’s also possible to stretch your entertainment budget while attending a Whalers game. “$5 Fridays” return on Fri. Feb 17 against Owen Sound and Fri. Feb. 24 against Oshawa. Sections 105-110 of Compuware Arena are offered every Friday home game for $5. More and more people have taken advantage of the value as the season wears on. The last $5 Fridays event – held Dec. 30 against Saginaw – sold out.
While hockey remains the main attraction when attending a Whalers game, fans are discovering added value while having fun at Compuware Arena.
PLYMOUTH ALUMS CHRIS TERRY, MATT HACKETT NAMED TO AHL ALL STAR GAME: Plymouth alums Chris Terry and Matt Hackett have been named to play in the upcoming American Hockey League All-Star game, which happens Jan. 29-30 in Atlantic, City, NJ.
Terry has been named as a replacement for injured teammate Jerome Samson. Terry has scored 10 goals with 26 assists for 36 points in 41 games this year for the Charlotte Checkers.
Hackett - who has been called up twice by the NHL's Minnesota Wild this season - has posted a 2.34 goals aganst average and .921 save percentage for the Aeros this season.
WHALERS REMAIN SEVENTH IN BTN'S DYNAMIC DOZEN POLL: In spite of two losses last week, the Whalers stay in seventh in Yahoo! Sports Buzzing The Net's CHL Dynamic Dozen Poll. Neate Sager writes:
7. Plymouth Whalers, OHL (.540, —) — The Whalers have had the exact same ranking for three consecutive weeks, despite a 1-2-0-0 in their past three games. The way they wiped out Sault Ste. Marie 8-0 last Saturday suggests that was a hiccup. Keep an eye on how they perform this weekend, when they do a northern Barrie-Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie swing, three games in four nights. Centre Stefan Noesen is having a great month, with four goals and 14 points in nine January matches.