Admirers laud Maritime champion Blizzard
EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick — A final big rally for Edmundston Blizzard players to which several hundred admirers participated was held on Tuesday, May 8, in Edmundston. Fans cheered on during the street parade of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League’s champions.
A sunny and hot day brought the people together at the outdoor activity adjacent to the Jean-Daigle Centre, which saw its roof resonate so many times in this Blizzard’s first season.
Head coach Ryan Salvis spoke in front of his players, who were presented to the crowd one by one. Salvis praised the merits of his team, both the hockey players and the staff. He also thanked the fans for being so numerous to fill the amphitheater game after game (17 sold outs in a row).
“Mission accomplished. We have made history,” shouted Blizzard President André Lebel. “This championship, we share it with you, dear fans. You have been there all season. Never ever has the Blizzard’s organization doubted the team’s success this season. We thought the attendance would range from 1,000 to 1,200 per game and more than 2,700 spectators showed up at each game after the holidays. If the Jean-Daigle Centre had been three times bigger, we would have filled it.”
Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard offered his inspiring words. A great supporter of the team, Simard did not hesitate to throw friendly challenges to the mayors of the cities of the opposing teams during the playoffs.
After winning the championship in the regular season with 36 wins, 10 losses and four losses in overtime, the Blizzard defeated back-to-back Miramichi, Summerside and Yarmouth to lift the Maritime Junior A Hockey League championship trophy.
In 33 local games, including the three games at the Palladium of Saint-Jacques and the nine-playoff games, the Blizzard drew 77,852 spectators, an average of 2,359 per game.
The team’s organization will announce in the coming weeks the terms and conditions of the sale of the season tickets. The Blizzard will participate in the league’s annual meeting and the midget players draft on June 8-9 weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, located 25 minutes from the community of Berwick, home of the Valley Wildcats.
The Blizzard will hold its training camp toward the end of August. Last year, the first players reported to the head coach on August 24.