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Die-hard fan Cec Harding excited to have Corner Brook Royals back on the ice

Avid follower of the Corner Brook Royals Cec Harding keeps a close eye on the action during the Corner Brook Royals home opener Saturday night against the Stephenville Jets. The Royals won 4-3 in a shootout.
Avid follower of the Corner Brook Royals Cec Harding keeps a close eye on the action during the Corner Brook Royals home opener Saturday night against the Stephenville Jets. The Royals won 4-3 in a shootout. - Dave Kearsey

The wheels on the bus keep rolling along for Cec Harding.

The Corner Brook senior needs the help of a hearing aid so you may have to shout to get his attention from time to time, but his eyes are perfectly fine so he’s grateful for what he saw unfold Saturday night at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.

Harding was among those in attendance who watched the Corner Brook Royals eke out a 4-3 shootout victory over the Stephenville Jets for the team’s first win of the season.

Just mention the word Royals and this guy gets excited.

He grew up watching a lot of the senior hockey stars of the past during the 1960s and 1970s because he was one of the team’s bus drivers back in the day.

He’s been an avid supporter of the team, from the glory days of championships won to years where the team struggled to stay afloat and winning hockey games became a tough assignment.

Seeing a large crowd on hand for the home opener was something he was excited about because he believes senior hockey is both needed and wanted on the west coast.

Having a good game of hockey with local players in the spotlight is something he believes will keep the hockey interesting and financially stable.

“My heart is still ticking. I can’t believe it’s back,” Harding said.

He took a look around the rink during the game and saw a lot of old faces who have followed the team for years and he also saw a lot of new people who have become fans so he believes it’s great for the city to have senior hockey back.

“Just look around the rink tonight,” he said. “Just look at the friends we’re meeting and people getting out and seeing people they probably haven’t seen in 15 years. It’s one big family and it’s great to see the fans get out of the house.”

He was impressed with the energy and speed of the game and didn’t mind seeing some of the big hits delivered by both sides throughout the game.

“It’s fast, they’re hitting and the referees are letting them play hockey, which is good,” he said.

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