Standing-Room-Only Crowd Watches
Beginning Of New Hockey Era In Victoria

By Cleve Dheensaw
Victoria Times Colonist

VICTORIA, British Columbia – With salmon literally hitting the ice Sunday — both the frozen and fresh varieties — Detroit’s octopi have nothing on a sudden Victoria hockey craze. Depending on the price for the catch of the day, it could prove a rather expensive one.

Whether this is a smelly tradition in the making or not, what is certain is a new hockey era began in the B.C. capital with the home opener of the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings, on Sunday against the Bakersfield Condors. The Condors won 4-3 in overtime.

The result seemed almost secondary to the significance of the occasion as Victoria fans finally got a look at their new team after an exhausting 14 game road swing to open their inaugural season.

You couldn’t have fit more than the standing room crowd of 2,750 into Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood, the Salmon Kings’ temporary home until the 7,300-seat Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre is completed in March.

“There was a lot of energy in the arena and it was great to finally have it geared toward your team and not the other team — we fed off the atmosphere and having the fans for us instead of against us like in our first 14 games,” said Ryan Wade of Colwood, who scored the first home goal in Salmon Kings history at 4:57 of the first period.

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