Hockey Is Big Hit In Ontario

By Louis Brewster
Sports Editor
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

ONTARIO, Calif. – Hockey games in October aren’t anything new in Ontario. However, this is Cali, not Canada. This Ontario isn’t to be confused with such hockey minor-league towns as Sarnia or London in the providence of Ontario.

But then, neither is the venue.

The experience for this area is as new as the $150-million Citizens Business Bank Arena. Finally, a place for hockey fans, or those just wanting to do something out of the ordinary, to enjoy the sport minus the miserable drive to downtown Los Angeles or south to Anaheim. The opening night crowd of 8,832, not a sellout or anything close to the Lakers exhibition of the previous night, was a knowledgeable one. They did all the right things: booing the Las Vegas Wranglers, oohing and aahing at good plays, anticipating the action, acknowledging penalty kills and appreciating close-quarters combat around the nets.

When Darren Knapp of the Reign went between the pipes at 7:49 p.m., the frustration of not having a local home team to cheer for burst loose. It was reminiscent of when the Spirit won its first game at Fiscalini Park in San Bernardino or the Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga.

The team, and the city, is banking on community pride to fill the blue seats.

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