Excitement has continued to escalate with the Regina Pats advancing to the WHL Championship Series.
Nowhere was that more evident than at the Brandt Centre Monday morning, as dozens of fans lined up at the box office ready to buy tickets for games one and two. The line snaked within the box office area and down the hallway.
“We’ve been following them for years,” said fan Darrell Sabiston, who was at the front of the line.
The Pats earned a spot to battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup against the Seattle Thunderbirds after Regina defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes Sunday night 7-4 in game six, winning the series four games to two.
Sabiston was the first in line after having made the drive from Lipton, about 45 minutes northeast of Regina. He said he left at 5:15 a.m. and arrived at the Brandt Centre around 6:00 a.m. to which he had to wait another 45 minutes before doors opened. Sabiston continued to patiently wait, bringing along a lawn chair with him to sit in, before tickets went on sale at noon.
“You want tickets you gotta get up early. It’s that simple,” he said after six hours in line.
Sabiston said he was able to purchase eight tickets for both games.
Tickets for game one sold out in two minutes and it took a grand total of five minutes for tickets to be snatched up for game two according to the team.
Lyle Clark was also lucky enough to get tickets. He bought four for each game, but since they were going so fast he said he has a restricted view. Clark had to wait five hours in line, but that pales in comparison to how long the Pats have waited to return to the finals at 33 years.
That number is coincidental for Clark.
“I had season tickets for 33 years,” he revealed, and added he hasn’t had them for about three years after retiring and going south for the winter.
Clark said he can’t remember watching Regina play in the 1984 WHL Championship Series but figured he was at it.
He was running on little sleep Monday, explaining how he was in Lethbridge to watch the Pats win their third round series Sunday night, having been on the fan bus. Clark got home at 4:20 a.m. and said he was up by 6:00 a.m. and at the Brandt Centre by 7:15 a.m. ready to buy for Friday and Saturday night’s games.
The energy and enthusiasm are something he’s really noticing compared to previous years.
“You never felt this atmosphere before like it is now with this building,” said Clark.
That’s what Sabiston is looking forward to the most, saying that even though he believes the Pats can beat Seattle and play for the Memorial Cup, he just wants to be part of the experience.
“It’s not about the winning part. To be part of it is a big thing; enjoy the game and surroundings.”