Brandon Crewe didn’t mind taking the trip to Deer Lake to watch his Western Royals play senior hockey the last two seasons.
Still, the Irishtown native couldn’t hide his excitement when he learned Friday that the club will definitely play out of the Pepsi Centre for the 2014-2015 season under the familiar banner of the Corner Brook Royals.
While he only missed one game at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex last season, Crewe said he’d much prefer the team play in Corner Brook.
“I’m not going to miss travelling on the highway in the winter,” Crewe said Friday. “I’d rather go to Corner Brook any day.”
After setting a goal of selling 1,000 season passes prior to the end of August before committing to playing at the Pepsi Centre this season, the Royals confirmed Friday that there has already been enough sales and interest to justify the club’s return.
In a media statement, Royals president Ross Coates said he remains optimistic the team’s booster club will sell 1,000 season passes prior to puck-drop.
Booster club co-chair Richard Dennis said in the statement he’s hopeful that with the return confirmed, fans who were undecided will now be more willing to put up the cash to buy a 12-game pass.
Crewe said he intended to buy a pass and attend as many games a possible, regardless of the home rink.
Looking back on the team’s time at the Hodder, the 19-year-old said it seemed to him the squad was unable to win the hearts of the knowledgeable, passionate hockey fans in Deer Lake.
“It didn’t seem like the Deer Lake crowd wanted to support the Royals name,” he said.
With newly signed imports such as Chris Hulit and Hunter Tremblay already in the fold, Crewe said fans should expect a more potent, dynamic attack from the Royals this season.
“Last year, the Cats had a player like Rob Hennigar who can put the puck in the net but the Royals never had that,” he said. “I think that’s what Tremblay is going to bring.”
These signings, combined with those to come, have Crewe optimistic that fan support will be strong once the season opens.
“I think you’re going to see a more supportive community than when they left,” he said. “People missed their hockey.”